The Punchdown!

The fruit is picked and now the cellar crew takes over from the harvest crew. The winery is filled with fermenters filled with Pinot noir grapes slowly turning into wine. Some grapes have been destemmed and others are left “whole cluster” as they go into the fermenters. Careful records are kept about which block of grapes and how those grapes have been processed as they go into the fermenters. When guests come into the winery these days they smell the fermenting wine and see several rows of “fermenters”.

Pinot noir in fermenters.

The question is always asked what happens in the fermenters? Why the sheets and covers? Fruit flies! We do everything possible to keep the ‘must’ free of them. Fold back the sheet and you have the wonderful aroma of fermenting grapes.

Fermentation does not just happen however. The juice must stay in constant touch with the skins and seeds if the flavors from the skins and seeds are to extracted. To do this, twice a day we do what is called a “punchdown”. Otherwise carbon dioxide forms

and lifts the fruit up out of the juice.

The punchdown is done with plungers forcibly pushing the fruit down into the juice. It is hard work given the number of fermenters. The fermentation process takes about 10 days.



These fermenters have plastic liners which contain the wine. These punchdowns are vigorous during the early days of fermentation. It is critical that all fermentation is complete i.e. that the yeast has converted all the sugar in the grapes before the wine is pressed!

Since all the fermenters were not filled on the same day they will not all complete fermentation on the same day. As completion nears the punchdown becomes more gentle so those fermenters are identified.

The final punchdown is done and the wine is ready for the press.

It is only after the wine is pressed that it goes into barrel to age for at least a year.

2017 Sip Northwest Best of the Northwest

We are excited to announce our 2015 Pinot Blanc Reserve was awarded a Gold Medal in the 6th annual Best of the Northwest competition by Sip Northwest Magazine. This is the 3rd year in a row our Pinot blanc has made the best of list.

You can check out the full list of Best of the Northwest winners here.

Need to stock up on Pinot Blanc?

Finishing the 2017 Harvest

  Yesterday we finished picking at Winter's Hill Estate under sunny skies. The fog in the valley was just beautiful, the air chilly and the sun about to come up as we stated … [Continue reading]

Fettuccine with Sausage & Kale

Ingredients 1 pound fettuccine 1 pound spicy italian sausage, removed from casing 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 large bunch kale, trimmed and coarsely chopped 1/2 cup grated parmesan Preparation In large pot of boiling, salted … [Continue reading]

Harvest 2017!

Harvest started early this morning! The pickers arrived before daybreak and finished their coffee in their cars. The sun came up and all were working!   We quickly started filling the totes set up on the trailer. Each of the 4 totes … [Continue reading]

Harvest Thoughts

We've been preparing for the grape harvest for weeks - new equipment procured , old readied, barrels emptied of the last vintage, etc. We forget sometimes how much more there is to the harvest season than grapes. My family is German and fall means … [Continue reading]

More Excellent Reviews from Great Northwest Wine

This has been a big summer for us with fantastic reviews from Great Northwest Wine. Our 2014 Pinot Noir Block 10 was rated Excellent a couple days ago. "The Gladhart family devoted Block 10 of its Pinot Noir plantings to the Pommard clone, and it … [Continue reading]

Closed Monday Sept. 4 to celebrate Labor Day

It's time for one last deep breath before we plunge into the 2017 harvest season.  We will be enjoying family and friends, paired with a glass or two of chilled Dundee Hills Pinot blanc. We hope you can do the same.  However, if you just can't … [Continue reading]

Crop Thinning as Harvest Approaches

With harvest surging towards us, it is time to thin the crop of grapes that is hanging on the vines. Why cut off such lovely fruit? Because the grape's genetic program evolved to create the maximum quantity of seeds, while as winemakers we want to … [Continue reading]

Harvest Update

Harvest Update August 27, 2017 Veraison, the onset of ripening, began a couple weeks ago for us in our Winter's Hill Vineyard. The grapes are slowly changing from green unripe berries to the beautiful red pinot that we know and love. The berries … [Continue reading]