Final Picks

As of this writing, we are wrapping up our last week of the 2022 harvest at Opolo Vineyards.

That said, the “crush” is still on as we process and ferment the final picks. We expect to wrap up all of our fermentations by the end of the month, which will be about two weeks earlier than normal.

Passion Project

It is always fun to poke around the cellar at this time of year to see some of the innovative projects that our winemakers have up their sleeves.

On that note, our “carbonic” Grenache just went through fermentation and pressing, adding a unique twist to our upcoming Rhône blends from 2022.

This wine is a passion project of Enologist Skye Bruce, who first introduced carbonic Grenache to our winemaking mix last year, tapping into the magic of what is known as “carbonic maceration.”

Whereas most red wines are made by destemming, crushing and fermenting the grapes on the skins, carbonic wines are made by placing whole clusters and berries into a sealed tank saturated with CO2 gas. In this airless environment, the berries begin to ferment from within until they burst open when they reach an alcohol level of around three percent. After around 10 days in this environment, the wine is drained and pressed, and the remainder of the fruit sugars are fermented the traditional way.

The resulting wines are light, fresh and vibrant in character—qualities unique to carbonic maceration. “The biggest difference is that everything is happening inside the berry, so you limit your color and tannin extraction but enhance the pure fruit flavors and aromatics,” Skye says. “That’s why you end up with this highly aromatic bright young wine.”

Last year’s carbonic Grenache became a critical component of our upcoming 2021 Grand Rouge blend, adding a layer of buoyant fruit flavors to the wine. We can expect a similar role from the 2022 edition. “It’s been really fun,” Skye says. “It was nice to get a chance to play with it last year, and it’s even better the second time around.”