Step by Step: How we make Syrah

In 2012 we’re taking a very straight forward approach to Syrah production.  Here’s a step-by-step look at the action…

In the Vineyard

  • No irrigation, even when it hits 100 degrees.
  • No sugar testing.
  • Watch the health of the leaves and the browning of the stems and seeds.
  • Taste the fruit!


  • Night harvest starting with the East facing hills that get the morning sun without wind.
  • Truck the fruit directly into the 45 degree refrigerator to keep cold for 24 hours


  • Sort just to make sure there aren’t raisinated clusters and an occasional stray leaf.
  • Dump the whole clusters into the concrete, still cold, so the concrete can absorb the temperature and continue to chill the fruit and slow the start of fermentation.
  • Do not add any SO2.


  • Stomp down the thick cap of clusters by foot, wearing rubber boots.
  • Pump over the juice from the bottom to the top of the cap. Yes, we finally bought a pump, and John named her Francesca.
  • Once enough juice frees itself from the grapes, start punching down daily through fermentation


  • Allow fermentation to naturally begin, no inoculation, which means we never add yeast, we only use the natural yeast already in the vineyard and winery.
  • Bubble CO2 from bottom of tank to ensure freshness and naturally inhibit bacteria growth.
  • Free run juice off into used barrels. Allow the free run to continue through the night as the weight of the cap presses down.
It’s hard to imagine the time, energy & meticulous thought that goes into every bottle enjoyed…
Tonight, the work continues – La Cuadrilla is gearing up to pick 10 tons of our High-Density Sangiovese.  No rest for the wicked…