It is with great excitement that Saltwater Farm Vineyard releases the second vintage of our ‘Gold Arc’ Estate Chardonnay. Although its steel counterpart has been sold out for some time, our 2012 barrel aged ‘Gold Arc’ Chardonnay was recently bottled and is now available in the tasting room.
Aside from the difference in taste, our ‘Gold Arc’ Chardonnay goes through a much different aging process than that of our steel Chardonnay by spending about 12 months aging in French oak prior to bottling. You will taste pear and vanilla qualities unique to its barrel aging with subtle citrus notes reminiscent of our steel Chardonnay. Our wine maker, Gilles Martin, also noted that with time, the wine will “fatten up” and develop more depth and roundness, a characteristic derived from barrel aging.
Prior to any new release, there is of course, bottling day. It starts off with an early morning wake up call and turns into the vineyard’s equivalent of Santa’s Workshop. Cases of empty wine bottles, rolls of labels and bags of new corks fill the usually tidy hanger, awaiting their turn to be assembled into the cherished final product. To help with this process, we have what I refer to as, the ‘Willy Wonka’ machine (my second favorite to the Everlasting Gobstopper machine). Not only does it fill and cork the bottles, but it also has the capability of labeling and foiling. Although the machine can be somewhat finicky, on a good day we can expect to turn out about 50 cases of wine an hour.
It should be noted that while it sounds somewhat magical, there is a lot of hard work that goes into a bottle of wine aside from the Wonka machine. Having spent a number of years working at Saltwater Farm Vineyard, my awareness of this has only grown with time. For us, bottling our wine is truly the fruition of efforts that span years and countless hours of labor by our hardworking vineyard crew. So next time you open a bottle, think of it as a gift from the vineyard workshop, and take a moment to appreciate not only the taste, but also the craft and energy put into what is inside the bottle.
Cheers to the vineyard crew,