During winter, our vines go dormant. With that comes one of, if not the most important events of the year: pruning! We start at the highest point of Hallberg Ranch, beginning with areas that don’t typically see frost in the spring. This sets the vines up for a great 2021.
By getting to those vines first, we won’t have to worry about them as much when bud break begins. The higher vines catch more sunlight and warmth, making frost less of a problem regardless. Meanwhile in lower areas of the vineyard, where frost is more likely to linger, delayed pruning leads to delayed bud break. By pruning those last, we’re helping this extremely delicate stage give frosty weather a miss.
Once we’ve finished the higher blocks our vineyard crew will head over to Pinot Hill, beginning at the top of the hill and working their way down. Pruning typically takes a few months, but with the absence of rain so far this December it’s moving along much more quickly than expected!
This is a sleepy time of year in the Emeritus cellar. A few lots are still working on malolactic fermentation, but for the most part we’re running periodic analyses and beginning to get a feel for the quality and character of the vintage. Thus far, we are extremely pleased with the intensity of flavor and expression of clonal character in each of the wines.
Once the preliminary survey is done, we will dig deeper into how some of our new barrels from a different forest (Haguenau) are performing. One of our coopers put us in contact with their best merrandier (wood supplier) who has been scouting around France to find new sources with less intense competition from other merrandiers. He likens this wood to other old growth stands in the Vosges region, but with a more noble character similar to Troncais, which is held in particularly high regard by barrel makers and winemakers alike.
If you’re interested in learning more, watch our 2020 Vintage Preview on YouTube and leave any questions you might have in the comments as inspiration for future content. Meanwhile, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and excellent holiday wines!