A healthy Pinot Noir cluster (Pommard clone)
Our winemaking philosophy is based in our firm belief that fine wines are first made in the vineyard. By this we mean that crafting great wines requires superb quality grapes - which can only come from unique, well-tended vineyards. We want to capture the intensity that comes from these vineyard sites, but in a balanced fashion so that our wines enhance, not overpower the meal or occasion. We may farm the vineyard ourselves, or others may farm it under our direction. In some cases, we may buy grapes on the spot or even barrels of wine. “Estate-grown” is hardly a guarantee of quality – just of ownership. Our goal is simple – to make wines that are sublime.
In the Vineyard
We encourage cover crops and add organic matter to naturally replenish the soil with nitrogen and increase diversity of flora and fauna while preventing erosion. These cover crops also reduce need for fumigation and support beneficial insects for pest management; they help conserve water and soil, creating the basis for sustained production and fine quality wines. We encourage the proliferation of natural predators to control vine pests and rodents. We reduce insect pests, powdery mildew and bunch rot through leaf removal and canopy management. Character and balance in the grapes are enhanced by improved sunlight and air penetration. Last, we crop thin and remove shoots to naturally control vigor and limit yield per vine, increasing flavors and aromas.
In the Cellar
We select from the finest Burgundian coopers to age Forager.
While we believe the finest wines are "made in the vineyard" through proper farming activities, our cellar techniques are critical to ensure the diligence exercised in our vineyards does not go to waste.
For starters, and to ensure the finest quality, we hand prune and hand-harvest every vineyard we work. We also hand-sort the grapes in the vineyard by culling inferior bunches. When our grapes arrive at the winery they are carefully weighed and sorted by hand (again). These steps may seem trivial, but the vast majority of wines produced around the world never see such expensive luxuries.
Forager grapes are usually hand-sorted and usually fully destemmed. These freshly-picked grapes are left to rest for a few days as a “cold soak” before fermentation begins. Each variety will be handled differently. Once dry and in barrel, Forager may be racked often or not at all.
We use only French barrels and for most wines, use them judiciously. We want the grape and vineyard flavors to be in balance with the toasty French oak.
Forager wines are fined (clarified) with organic egg whites, bottled unfiltered and thus may throw a harmless deposit.