Atelier Winery

Atelier Winery blog is the blog of David Reed. David posts information about Atelier Winery, wines, and events. David encourages you to participate in Ateler's blog by posting your comments. Atelier Winery is a boutique family winery founded by lovers of the wine country lifestyle. Our passions for travel, art, literature, and tradition are harnessed in the making of our wines. We encourage you to share and enjoy our wines in good company.

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Location: Healdsburg, California, United States

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Atelier Winery: A Bountiful Harvest & Harvest Fair!

Greetings from Atelier Winery!

Our Syrah is in! On September 26th, we harvested our Alexander Valley Syrah. In the days leading up to the harvest we coordinated with the vineyard manager to pick on Monday morning. The night before he gave us the heads-up, “The crew will be there at 3 am”. Four short hours of sleep later, David was in the vineyard performing his QA duties in the field side-by-side with the harvest crew. The scene was surreal. It was 3:00 am with a bright harvest moon shining overhead, providing just enough light to navigate through the field. The stage was set; 10 men, a tractor with two bins on a small trailer, and a 15 foot tall riser with flood lights that provided simulated daylight in which the team would work. The men spanned 4 rows, picked with intensity, filled their 25 pound lugs in a few short minutes, then began calling to each other and pitching the full bins under the trellis to a designated transfer man. One particular fellow with a flair for the dramatic would catapult his grapes over the top of the trellis, through the air, and right into the gondola bin….scoring a perfect shot every time. David kept pace out in front of the team inspecting individual clusters and dropping grape clusters that were not of the highest caliber. David repeatedly explained to the team that he didn’t want any grapes that were dried out or not yet ripe and then team would chorus “No seca! No rojo!.” Four hours later, at 7:00 am, the field was empty and eleven, half ton bins were full. Jose, the team foreman, used a forklift to load the bins onto a truck, and David and the grapes set off to the crush pad.

The next step for the Syrah was a pass through the crusher/stemmer (a device that separates the grapes from the rachis or stem) and on the way out, breaks the skins of the grapes by gently “crushing” them between rollers, then into the tank they went. A good cold soak overnight allowed the juice some contact time with the skins to soak out some hearty color and vibrant flavor. The next day was Tuesday and the grape must was inoculated to commence fermentation. As yeast converts sugar into alcohol the reaction generates heat and CO2 and the reaction pushes the skins to the top forming a “cap”. Twice a day we punched-down the cap to keep the skins wet and to maximize the extraction of color and tannin from the skins. The sugar began to drop down evincing that fermentation was underway: 25, 23, 15, 10, 5…and two weeks later it was down to zero. The week of October 10th, 2005, we pressed the wine to separate the skins from the wine, and put the wine to barrels (a blend of French and American oak.). Now, the wine will rest in barrel for 16 to 18 months as the oak imparts gentle vanilla and toasty flavors to the wine. From this point forward we will keep the barrels topped up, the oxygen out, and keep the cellar cool and humid.

The Sonoma County Harvest Fair
On September 24th, the Sonoma County wine industry gathered to celebrate another great harvest and to recognize some of the finest wines produced in Sonoma County. It was a classic Sonoma County evening; many arrived in black ties or formal gowns while others arrived on the scene in more casual shirts and slacks. True to the earthy spirit of Sonoma County some other attendees sported their finest jeans and cowboy boots. Other than the great food and wine, the highlight of the evening was the unveiling of the awards, and drum roll please………Atelier’s 2003 Alexander Valley Syrah is a Silver medal winner in the 2005 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. It was an honor for our winery to receive recognition from the industry side-by-side with some of the larger wineries. If you haven’t yet tried our Syrah, we recommend picking up a bottle or two at:


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