By Pat Henderson, Chief Winemaker Kenwood Vineyards
We have been making a lot of improvement to the winery over the last couple of years and one that we finished just in time for this year’s vintage was a new grape receiving area to the back of the winery. Now, instead of the trucks going through the middle of the buildings and passing right next to our tasting room they come to the very back where they are above our cellar. There are some benefits:
- This is closer to our presses so we can load them without crushing the fruit. This allows us to extract higher quality juice from the grapes as they are pressed before fermentation.
- It is at the high point of the winery so the juice and must flows downhill naturally which is more gentle.
- We keep the big grape trucks away from our tasting room which is safer and quieter for the people who are visiting.
Allowing the wine and juice to flow by gravity is how wineries used to do it before electricity. It is pretty old school but it is nice and gentle and since we are built on slope at the edge of the Sonoma Valley we do it as much as possible. In fact, we have been filling all of our wine bottles by gravity since 1970 and with this new set up we will be taking even more advantage of it.