The best natural wines are made by people who share the understanding that great wine is made in the vineyard. With a focus on what happens throughout each season, the winemaker can create a wine that expresses terroir in a unique way. In many ways, it’s the winemakers’ job to simply get out of the way and allow the grape to speak for itself.
So what exactly happens in our vineyard to make Artevino a great wine?
A Year In The Life
Let’s follow a grapevine throughout each season of the year. This will help you understand what happens here at Artevino, one of the best Anderson Valley wineries. Our story begins in winter.
The grapevines need a cold, deep winter. This is a protective period, during which the vines store their nutrients and carbohydrates in the trunks and roots, to be conserved until spring.
The first sign of spring is an exciting one, and is marked by budbreak, also known as “budburst.” This is when the weather warms up and the grapevines wake up. Small buds made of tiny leaves begin to form on the vines.
In late spring and early summer, the buds develop bunches of small flowers. The flowers are self-pollinated as grapevines possess both male and female reproductive parts.
Fruit set marks the beginning of the grape. But at this point, the grapes are small, hard, and green. They are high in pyrazines and bitter to taste.
During veraison, the hard, green grapes soften, begin to change color, and fill with sugars. Acidity begins to decrease at this time and the grapevine directs its energy from growth towards fruit production.
In late summer and early fall, the grapes mature, developing their signature flavors. Acidity continues to drop as sugar content rises. Winemakers must pay close attention in order to determine the right time to harvest the grapes. Winemaker Tom prefers to pick his grapes on the riper side and relies on seed color, as well as sugar content, to wait for the perfect moment to harvest.
Artevino grapes are picked in late summer or early fall by hand. They are brought to the winery within hours of picking to begin the winemaking process.
How we make the best natural wines
We are guided by the lifecycle of the wine grape, which is complex and requires an incredible amount of attention to detail combined with a deep understanding of the vineyard as an ecosystem. Through this process, we gain a greater respect for nature and our place in it. We think that this respect is what allows us to make the best natural wines in Anderson Valley.