Bubbling Grapes

Winemaking

Did you know?

Our Estate Merlot - Seven Hills Vineyard has received a rating of 90 or higher every vintage since our first in 1993, from major wine publications.

 

Winemaking Philosophy

Our goal at L'Ecole Nº 41 is to achieve clean, ripe, stylistically expressive and aromatic wines that let the individual site characteristics of our vineyards shine through. We believe in well-balanced wines, good acidity, firm but not over-powering tannins, complementary oak integration, and vibrant, expressive aromas and fruit flavors. To achieve these ends, we have a high quality dual focus on vineyard management and winemaking practices.


Vineyard Management

Marty Clubb with Grower in Vineyard

 

We believe in an intense involvement in all aspects of vineyard management. This includes designated blocks or rows, a direct personal relationship with the on-site vineyard manager or viticulturalist, and tight winery controls on yield and other vineyard practices, for our own estate grown and contracted acreage. We focus on:

  • aggressive pruning to limit yield
  • drip irrigation to fine tune canopy growth and vigor; we only irrigate as much as is minimally needed by the plant
  • shoot thinning for improved spacing and balance
  • sustainable biologically-based vineyard practices
  • thinning post-bloom and green thinning at veraison for low yields and uniformity of ripeness
  • hand picking on the harvest date selected by the winemaker; cool mornings for the whites and warm mid-day temperatures for the reds

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Winemaking Practices

Mike Sharon with Fermenting Grapes

We believe in winemaking practices that assure our wines will be more expressive, more aromatic and show their individual vineyard site characteristics. With highly focused attention to detail for each vineyard lot, we prefer limited manipulation and handling of the fruit, exemplified by the following:

  • gravity assisted fruit movements, without the use of a must pump
  • limited adjustments on acidity, accomplished when necessary at the fermentation stage
  • healthy fermentations through use of small 1.5 – 5 ton fermentors for temperature control, thorough mixing, and oxygen pickup
  • cap managed by punch downs, as opposed to larger tank pump overs to avoid skin and seed overextraction
  • slow and gentle racking and frequent monitoring of SO2 levels throughout aging to assure clean and stable wines
  • soft pressing to minimize harsh tannins and flavors
  • whole cluster pressing on whites for reduced solids and phenolic extraction
  • unfined and lightly filtered red wines
  • balanced oak program that adds aromatic complexity, finesse and fleshiness in the mouth without dominating or over-oaking the wines

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