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Winemaking

"Today's greatest danger is the insidious trend towards using a limited palette of grapes to make familiar, safe wine, without local character, to please every taste…It is essential for wine drinkers to demand individual wines with all their local characters intact.  It is up to us to see that the most enthralling thing about wine - its endless variety - survives."  Hugh Johnson

We set out to create wines that are not over-controlled by the winemaking process, nor made with over-exuberant fruit; instead we craft balanced and structured wines that tell the story of Rocky Hill and its climat.  We achieve this through a strategy that is not set to formula, instead one that changes year to year, bringing in the best of each vintage. Our decisions begin in the vineyard as we monitor the progress (or challenges) of each growing season. Instead of working backwards from a blueprint, our rule is to adapt the wines, whether blends or single varietals, to the strengths of each vintage.

At harvest time, we make us of only the best fruit and put it through a winemaking process at a state of the art facility specializing in small lots. Our wine is crushed and cellared at Three Sticks Winery in Sonoma, where Don Van Staavern oversees the winemaking.  (Don’s vast winemaking pedigree includes developing the Cinq Cepages program for Chateau St Jean, which produced the 1999 Wine Spectator Wine of the Year.)  From crush to cellaring the wine is treated gently, is overseen with care, and made with a balance of tradition and innovation. The fruit is brought into a gentle sorting process where it is triple sorted removing all stems and fruit that is not perfectly ripened.  The fruit for our proprietary red blend is fermented in stainless open tops with regular punch downs.  From there our wine is basket pressed directly into barrels (sur lees).  The wine is barrel aged for 26 months in new and neutral French and American Oak.  Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel.  Our wines are aged longer and released later to best express Rocky Hill’s mountain fruit, with its thicker skins and shallower soil. It is brought to you unfined and unfiltered.