Working at a Small Winery Has Its Perks
Having a small staff offers opportunities for employees to wear different hats and explore various sides of the winemaking business. This was especially true during harvest this year, which started early and wrapped up even earlier due to the small yields seen throughout the valley. As large crews became unnecessary, our tasting room staff were called in to provide extra hands where needed.
On a warm September afternoon, winemaker Kari Auringer and I handed-sorted through 10 tons of To Kalon Cab. A few days before that our tasting room supervisor Megan Myers and sales director Nadia Kinkade sorted five tons of Grigsby Vineyard Syrah. Having never been on the production side of winemaking, we were more than delighted to be involved.
The sorting process begins with half-ton bins being raised on a forklift and tilted slowly over a hopper until clusters begin to fall in. An inclined conveyer belt then moves a steady flow of grapes towards the destemmer. Positioned on either side of the conveyer, we move quickly to remove leaves, twigs, bugs, raisins, green and damaged grapes to ensure that only best fruit goes into our wine and that none of the green or non-wine elements (i.e. spiders, lizards, watches, etc.) find their way into the fermentation tank.
The term terroir refers not only to the soil of the vineyard, but is meant to define an all-encompassing sense of place. This includes everything from vineyard location, direction to the sun, topography and climate - to the people handling the fruit and making the wine. We are, then, very proud to be part of the terroir of Cornerstone’s 2015 vintage.