Technique

White Wine Case Study

I planted my hobby vineyard in 1999 and made my first wine in the 2002 vintage. I have 125 vines of Chardonnay and 125 of Pinot Noir planted on 1⁄3 acre (0.13 hectares) in Sonoma County, California. I am located in the soon-to-be (hopefully) AVA of the Petaluma Gap, a cool-climate sub-region of the larger Sonoma Coast appellation. The Chardonnay that I make every year is remarkably consistent in its overall character. While I have not deliberately arranged variables to construct a study of my wine, I do take notes every year with harvest data, fermentation choices, and tasting impressions. I also enter my Chardonnay in various home winemaking competitions. The notes and score sheets together give me an irregular but informative look at the effects of winemaking decisions. In this story, I’ve compiled my years of winemaking and scoring notes to construct a profile of my house Chardonnay. During 13 years of making wine from the same vines, I have made changes and comparisons with a number of variables. These include degree of ripeness (as °Brix) at harvest, choice