From the Vine to Wine

From the Vine to Wine

Our goal here at Schatz is to make exceptional wine!  Our philosophy, even before the vines were planted in the ground has always been, quality over quantity.  Implementing time honoured traditions in conjunction with innovations we have started down that path of producing great wine from our own vineyard and regionally sourced fruit.

In the vineyard we limit the application rate of pesticides with a focus on proper application timing and using biological vs chemical products. Staying on top of the weeds in the vineyard is done both manually and mechanically.  All pruning, suckering and leaf thinning is done by hand. This keeps us in constant contact with our vineyard, it also minimizes soil compaction and emissions into the environment.

 

All of our grapes are harvested by hand, this enables us to “screen” the bunches prior to being placed into the picking bins.  Harvest time becomes a community affair, with not only our staff and picking crews, but our neighbours also come out to help with the picking. The bunches that are not suitable for processing, are dropped and will return to mother earth. Harvesting by hand reduces the need for large equipment to be driving through the vineyard, again reducing soil compaction, emissions and allowing us to pick each variety at its “peak”.

 

We have partnered with one of our local wineries to facilitate the initial processing of the grapes.  After hand harvesting the grapes into small bins, they are transferred into large totes and delivered to the winery the same day.  Once on site, the clusters are gently destemmed, crushed, pressed and cold stabilized.  The juice is picked up and returned to our facility.

Back on site, carefully selected yeast strains are selected and added to start the fermentation process.  Yeast is selected based on the desired style and to harmonize and accentuate with the “core” characteristics of the grape varieties.  Depending on the grape varieties and additional factors such as brix, acid levels and temperature this process can take approx. 10-14 days.  We create an environment that is conducive to a gentle and steady fermentation.

 

Gravity is our best friend…. when racking wines, we strive to use gravity vs mechanical. It is a simple, gentle, and quiet process with minimal disruption of the sediment/lees.

Now we decide which wines will be barrel aged and which will stay in stainless tanks.  These decisions are driven by the grape variety, style, and fruit expression that we are looking to achieve. Our current inventory of barrels is crafted with French oak. This oak has a fine grain, so the impact, transfer of aromas and flavours in the wine is much more delicate. We feel that French oak is best suited for most of our cold climate grape varieties, as it does not overpower the true characteristics of the wine.  Barrel aging for our white wines is between 3-10 months, and 12-24 months for our red wines.

Once we have determined that the wines are ready to leave their barrels, they are transferred back into stainless steel tanks. Once they have arrived there, we evaluate the fining process. This involves the addition of bentonite clay, which aids with the clarity and structure of the wine. The bentonite clay is mixed with a specific amount of water and stirred until completely dissolved.  Then this “slurry” is gently added into the wine and mixed throughout. The tank is resealed, and the bentonite meticulously binds the impurities, proteins, and precipitates to the bottom of the tank. This process can take approx. 14-16 days. Once this process is complete, we rack the wine using gravity.  Once this has been completed, we then evaluate filtration of the wine. Each wine is evaluated individually, based on the desired structure and characteristics of the wine.  Bottling of the wine is also completed in house with the help of our team. One of the greatest advantages of bottling in house is that we control the timing, we are not bound to a bottling companies schedule. Facilitating this crucial step in house gives us 100% quality control over the wine that goes into our bottles.

 

We look forward to introducing you to our “Schatz”, to experience and taste the “fruits” of our labour!

 

Prost and Cheers!

 

Frank

Chef and Cellar Hand

Schatz Winery

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