Great Wines Begin in the Vineyard
We believe great wines begin in the vineyard. ZinStar is a 3.5 acre historic, organically farmed, head pruned vineyard. The vineyard is unique as she achieves ripe flavors at low sugars, yielding low alcohol wines of pleasure and promise. You will find these wines to be a treat with food pairings. Since we can not capture the sunlight, or dig deep enough into the soil, we can still simply enjoy each other's company at the table.
Since the historic ZinStar vines are head pruned, they cannot be machine harvested. Hand harvesting allows us to select perfect clusters without defects. Uniformity of ripeness is one of the most important criteria to achieve balanced wines. Grape clusters do not ripen at the same time within the vine or from vine to vine. We apply several techniques to achieve uniformity of ripeness.
Weak Shoot Removal
We find it is imperative to remove short and weak shoots. The leaves act like solar panels to capture the sunlight and ripen the grapes uniformly. Ideally, we strive for sixteen to twenty leaves per cane. As you can see in the photograph, these shoots only have about 4-5 leaves.
This technique is possibly more important than any other effort in the winery to achieve premium wines. Veraison selection and thinning is a skill we learned years ago in Burgundy. As they say in Burgundy, "Le vin commence dans la vigne." Since we do not blend our wines, quality has to begin in the vineyard. All we have is what is in that little berry! Veraison thinning takes place when the clusters are ripening from a light green color to black. We remove any clusters that are lagging behind which are more than 50% green. When walking into the vineyard the next morning, suddenly everything looks ripe. Just don't look down on the ground, as this technique results in a crop reduction of 40% to 50%. Since all grape clusters are black when picked, it is impossible for those hands harvesting the grapes to know if a cluster is under-ripe, ripe, or over-ripe. For example, when you are selecting bananas in the market you can tell, based on color, their level of ripeness; however, this is impossible to tell during harvest since all clusters appear black.