From the desk of David Lattin
Things are starting to get busy again. The barrels have all been tasted and put into one of the 12 different wines we will bottle this summer. We began the racking process last week, which involves using nitrogen gas pressure to move the wine out of barrels off the lees and cleanly into tanks. This method leaves 3-4 gallons behind in each barrel, but ensures that we can bottle the wines unfiltered.
Our cellar interns are all ready for the season as well. Zach Thom, our harvest enologist, has started already. He has numerous harvests under his belt, most recently in South Africa. Next to arrive will be Evan Pellkofer, a young enology student at Santa Rosa JC who is already passionate about Pinot Noir. He’s currently in Burgundy with his family and will join us in mid-July for his first harvest ever. Our third intern hails from Mendoza, Argentina. Belén Sanchez holds a degree in Enology from Argentina and has held the position of Assistant Winemaker at several wineries in recent years. She’s looking for another international experience and particularly interested in a natural approach to winemaking. We are excited to welcome everyone to Emeritus and Sebastopol in the coming weeks!
Watching the hedging and leafing in the vineyards gets us excited to go out there and assess the crop. Even though it’s way too early to predict quality, we just can’t help ourselves in thinking about it. I suspect that because of a late rain, the berries and clusters will continue to size up as they did in 2018 and 2019. This might require more aggressive thinning to keep our yields low. We aim for under 3 tons per acre at Hallberg and around 2 tons per acre at Pinot Hill, to ensure that the vines devote enough energy to perfecting the fruit before harvest.
As we did last year, the cellar team will ‘adopt’ a couple of the smaller blocks and address thinning ourselves. This allows us to further adjust the crop in some areas designated for some of our smaller bottlings (e.g., Hallberg Elite, Don’s Block). It also gives our team some bonding time since we haven’t worked all together before, and in a very small way helps our amazing vineyard crew.
Overall, we are very excited about the 2022 harvest!