While I was out in Oregon I was able to sample some nice wines from a number of wineries including Ponzi Vineyards , Argyle Winery , and Erath Vineyards . All were very good, but the wines I was able to sample at Lemelson Vineyards were the toast, and they had an innovative approach to winemaking there that I felt was worth sharing.
Lemelson makes high quality organic Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris wines. Lemelson's approach to Pinot Noir is that it is a delicate grape and should be treated with kid gloves. To accomplish this, they wanted the juice to be handled only by gravity, so they designed their gravity flow system so that they could pass the wine through the building using steel tubes.
In the center of the picture above, you can see where the grapes are pressed. The juice flows down into the steel fermentation vats for the next step. Large, pneumatic pistons are used to push the skins and stems into the wine gently from above.
Once fermentation is completed, the wine is allowed to run down into the caves below for maturation in oak (or steel in the case of some of their white wines).
Blending is done back up in the fermentation vats, but they use nitrogen gas to force the wines back up and out of the barrels. They believe that this is much less harsh on the juice than pumping would be.
And how were the wines? They were quite delicious, I have to say. My parents ended up joining the wine club (this was one of their first trips to a winery and they loved it). Try the Thea's Selection for a wonderful Pinot that was made with thought and care.
Lemelson Vineyards and Gravity Flow
- Reply by Philip James, Jul 16, 2008.
Very cool (and welcome back to the office!) - obviously if your parents signed up for the wine club that day they were impressed by what they tasted!
- Blog comment by Anthony King, Jul 24, 2008.
Thanks for the nice words. We're glad to have your parents in the club.
- Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jul 25, 2008.
You're welcome, Anthony. I'm looking forward to helping my parents open some of those bottles!