Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

It's a wine wrap 2020

All this year's grapes have now been harvested and put into barrels.

Shortly after harvest the vines receive a much needed drink of water filled with nutrients. We need to pay them back for what they gave us before they go dormant for the winter. This year has had its challenges. At Tehachapi Winery there was one week in October that I was sure had eight Mondays in a row. There's more to enology (the study of wine and winemaking) than just making wine; like dealing with solving electrical and plumbing problems, equipment failure, becoming a forklift driver and head sanitation person (clean, sanitize, process, then repeat and repeat and repeat). Approximately 80 percent of my time is cleaning-sanitizing and 20 percent making wine.

The last of the grapes were pressed on November 28, six tons of Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine will settle in a 2,000-gallon stainless-steel tank for 24-36 hours and then be tested for residual sugar and (MLF) malolactic fermentation. MLF converts malic acid to lactic acid making the wine smoother and less bitter. After the settling, the wine is racked off the hard lees (siphoning the wine off of the lees or yeast – think of a pinkish-red thick slurry) and placed into 225 liter French oak barrels. I'll taste each lot from random barrels every four to six weeks and make any required adjustments. In early spring, the barrels will again be racked leaving the sediment to be washed out and refilled with the clear wine.