quick process of how Pinot Noir at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards is created? ZA: The harvest is the craziest time of year that has a lot of intensive work. For Pinot Noir, we begin in late Aug and are completed by the end of September/early October. We analyze and taste the grapes and when we feel the flavor is right and it has reached it’s peak, we bring in our crew to pick which is at 2am and continues until the early morning so that it can still be obtained while cool. The process involves handpicking the grapes so that we can get the juice. They are placed in tanks and we have about 50 that I taste, professionally of course. After production, the rewarding part of the critical harvest season is that within these weeks, we have been able to create great varietals in this process and ultimately, being able to see how others enjoy this work. Once the fruit is brought to the winery, we chill it further in our cooling tunnels. These tunnels are the only ones of their kind and are essentially a blast chiller that has the ability to bring the temperature of the grapes down to 50˚in 45 minutes. Having our fruit cool helps it retain its flavor, avoid harsh extractiveness and reduces the potential for oxidation during processing. Still touched only once, the cool fruit travels to the sorting tables where the clusters are hand – not machine – sorted. This is a highly, labor-intensive step in the process but it ensures that only the grapes of the highest quality make it to the press. Once the grapes fill the press, it slowly and gently crushes them helping us avoid extracting bitter tannins. The cool, golden-free run juice from the press is sent to tanks where it is allowed to settle for 24 hours. After racking, yeast is then added to the tanks before the juice is sent to French oak barrels to complete the fermentation and maturation of the wine. AM: Do you have any suggestions on what types of wines people should be drinking this fall/winter?
ZA: I never like to tell people what they should or shouldn’t drink. I can say what I like to drink! I always feel bad when people come to me and they are nervous to tell me that they like to drink a Chardonnay with a steak! I love having pizza and wine which is a great combination. If that’s what you like to do, you should do it without question! There are so many great varietals and it is all about what you enjoy! Enjoying wine is about a memorable moment and who you share it with. AM: When is the best time of year to visit? ZA: I don't want to be selfish, but the