The team used a hand-cranked decrusher and destemmer to prepare the grapes for the first part of the winemaking process.
This is the second year that LJ Crafted Wine customers can follow the sequence of making a barrel of wine on-site at the tasting room. Fermentation proceeds for the next two weeks with twice daily punch-downs of skin cap, followed by pressing before barrel-aging the wine until the fall of 2018 when it will be ready for drinking.
Merlot, one of the world’s leading grape varieties, may have been the victim of the “Sideways” movie effect: one line in particular in this 2004 movie contributed to devastating damage to the wine's reputation, but the staff at LJ Crafted is prepared and excited to educate customers on the soft, rich Merlot, especially one with our local story.
The first vintage barreled at LJ Crafted, a 2016 Petite Sirah, will be available this coming November.
“We buy our grapes in the Sonoma or Napa valleys,” said owner Lowell Jooste. “It’s all about the main ingredient, which is the grape. Also, we’re only going to be working with top-quality wine. All of our production occurs in Northern California, and then is shipped to us in barrels.”