At the beginning of 2012, the pace of life at JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery has changed from the fermentation activity of the 2011 harvest, to more deliberate zen-like activities in our cave cellar. With the last of the 2011 red wines finishing their malolactic fermentation our cellar crew is now concentrating on topping up barrels.
As wine develops while being stored in a barrel, there is a small amount of evaporation that takes place through the wood of the barrel. This concentrates the wine slightly, but it also reduces the amount of wine in the barrel a little. To avoid excessive oxygen contact from the air that has found its way into the barrel, we visit each barrel about once a month and add a bit of wine from the same batch of wine to displace the air and keep the wine in optimum condition.
This “topping off” is all done by hand and in the case of the barrel “pyramids” lining the walls of our cave, this means a lot of climbing around with flashlights in hand. From the JUSTIN Cabernet to the ISOSCELES, our red wines spend 16 to 24 months in barrel and topping them every month makes for a lot of work. This attention to detail and “going the extra mile” is needed to produce a quality wine that will “belong in the company of the finest wines in the world”.
Jim Gerakaris, CSW
Certified Sommelier JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery