' Winemaking in Sonoma | Benziger Family Winery
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Winemaking
 
HomeWinemaking � Overview

Overview

Winemaking

CLUSTER BY CLUSTER, BERRY BY BERRY

Handcrafted wine has become a bit of misnomer. You can hear just about anyone describe their wines this way. But here we really do carry the same feverish attention-to-detail and devotion we use in the vineyard down into the cellar. Biodynamics, and our other forms of green farming, are too labor-intensive not to take full advantage of their bounty on the crush pad and in the cellar.
 
Over the last decade, we have invested in the best equipment to ensure that we're doing everything we can to protect the delicate juices and tease out the best possible wines. From a vibrating sorting table, to 1/2 ton bins, to gravity flow fermentation tanks, our approach is a careful balance of art and science, much like winemaking itself.
 

VIEW SOME OF THE ACTION FROM HARVEST 2011



BARREL AGING & WINE CAVES

In 2000, we finished the final work on our underground wine cave. For us, the impetus was more than just having the barrels close at hand rather than in an impersonal storage facility: it was a green decision. Wines need to be kept within a certain temperature range and do not tolerate variation well. Building our own wine caves allowed us to address this issue naturally. The earth above, below, and beside the cave walls keeps the temperature around 67 degrees all year long. We saved energy and money by constructing our 30,000 feet of cave space only a stone's throw from our crush pad. And it's pretty fun to show guests around in there, too.
 

 
Within the caves, we house our wines in French, American and Hungarian oak. Depending upon the wine and the varietal, wines can age from 8 to 24 months in a range of new, one-year old, and neutral oak. Comprising a barrel program for an individual wine is comparable to having a trainer design a workout routine just for you - it's specific to the goals in mind. Do we want the wine to have a silky texture or a structured one? What kinds of flavors and aromas would enhance the wine? Light toast or dark? All these variables and more are considered when barrel aging a wine.
 
 
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