Cool Climate, Cold Stabilization

Winter Cellar Activity

Mother Nature Helps Us Out

You have probably heard of cold stabilization in wine. You also may have heard that it is a way to clarify the wine, prior to bottling to prevent precipitated tartrates. However, the methodology of cold stabilization can vary and here at Red Newt Cellars, we take full advantage of Mother Nature. Customers will frequently ask if we leave tanks outside year round, and for many of them the answer is an emphatic, “yes!”

Many of you have probably had a bottle of white wine that appeared to have glass crystals settled at the bottom of the bottle. These crystals are not glass, but a natural salt that forms during chilling from excess potassium tartrate in wine.  Cold stabilization is the process of accomplishing this in the winery, rather than letting it happen in your bottle. This process takes place post fermentation and prior to bottling. Naturally, this is done mostly to the whites, to obtain that clean, clear look they have when poured into a glass.

Many wineries use cooling jackets around the tanks to stabilize their wine. Here at Red Newt Cellars, we’re not opposed to that, but we also let Mother Nature do some of the heavy lifting. We just allow the tanks to remain where they are, sometimes moving our mobile tanks outside, and let the winter temperatures do their thing. Temperatures the past few weeks have been cold, quite cold. Yes, this does mean the wines frequently freeze right inside the tanks. Fear not, no harm is done to the wine. In fact, our cellar crew makes sure to leave a 10% headspace (open space) in each tank to allow for freezing. Tanks which freeze will be stirred prior to filtering and bottling. Weird tidbit, the three pigs just off the wine shop deck, frequently have ice in them until May!  

Freshly Painted Tanks
The infamous 3 pigs!

 

 

A FLX Story Part IV

A Harvest Reflection

By Jamie Rubin (Harvest Intern 2020)

Here is the next installment of Jamie Rubin’s harvest reflection. We hope you have enjoyed reading about his harvest experience. This story first appeared as a post for Sommation_live, an IG channel offering a venue for wine education through shared experiences. 

Part IV: November 15

For much of my time here, we’ve been using the pneumatic press. This has been exclusively for white wines. Largely, we’ve crushed and destemmed Rieslings followed by a cold soak for a few days. This allows the juice to pick up a phenolic load from the skins prior to fermentation. Then, we pressed the juice out and it went to the tank. 

This week, we’ve started taking our reds, which have finished fermentation and macerated for a while on their skins and stems, to press them off and into used oak barrels to mature. This process has been the most intuitive for me so far. It aligns with what I’ve been taught as a sommelier. The big learning curve here, as it always is, has been the equipment itself. This basket press has a bladder inside which inflates to about 60 psi and presses the grapes against the staves to extract wine. 

As always, I’m very reticent to operate a new piece of equipment until I fully understand it. When dealing in high pressure and high volume, the consequences could be intense. Luckily, this one is relatively simple and intuitive. Right now, the Pinot Noir is safely sleeping in the barrel. Next up is Merlot!!! The Cabernet Franc isn’t quite through ferment, but it smells amazing!

 

A FLX Story Part III

A Harvest Reflection

By Jamie Rubin (Harvest Intern 2020)

We continue to share with you the story of our harvest 2020 intern Jamie Rubin. This story first appeared as a post for Sommation_live, an IG channel offering a venue for wine education through shared experiences. Please enjoy!

Part III: November 8 

The fruit is mostly in! 

Last week was positively exhausting. We brought in huge lots of Riesling and were working around the clock to get it crushed, briefly cold soaked and pressed. The pace was much higher than it has been as seems like the year-round crew were simply waiting for this. 

The tasting room crew cooked us some wonderful dinners which really kept us going. It was a kindness that I really wasn’t expecting but reflects the attitude of the collaboration and teamwork that exists not just at Red Newt, but in the region as a whole. Now we begin to shepherd the juice through fermentations. I’m learning about additions like bentonite and acid. Early on, I was very confused by the usage of the word “Lees.” As a somm, my understanding has always been that lees are dead yeast cells. It turns out it is used as a catch all term for solids. Glad to be caught up on what feels like a very basic thing I missed out on. 

There’s a tiny bit of fruit left to come in, but largely the job over the next few weeks will be to rack tanks, filter lees, make small chemistry tweaks here and there, and make sure that we’re getting out of the way as fermentation begins.  

 

A FLX Story Part II

A Harvest Reflection

By Jamie Rubin (Harvest Intern 2020)

We continue to share with you the story of our harvest 2020 intern Jamie Rubin. This story first appeared as a post for Sommation_live, an IG channel offering a venue for wine education through shared experiences. Please enjoy!

Part II: November 2

2020 continues at a slow but steady pace. Everyone still seems mystified by how easy it is. They’re all used to 12+ hour day and 6 or 7 day weeks during this time. We’ve been out of the winery at a reasonable time most days. 

Riesling has started to roll in with force. There was a bit of a hiccup last week when a mechanical picker broke down, but between Sunday and Monday we brought in many tons of gorgeous, aromatic Riesling. Also, a fair bit of Cabernet Franc that’s destined to be rose. 

For my own part, I’m finally comfortable operating a pump. I can set up the crusher/destemmer and the press without supervision. I’m getting an idea as to how and when additions are being made. I still feel like I’m fumbling in the dark sometimes. But, it’s starting to become clearer.

I’ve been tasked with learning VinTrace which is a cloud based bit of software that’s meant to track grapes as they become must as it becomes wine as it enters bottles. It’s given me a much better idea of how things move through the winery as I enter our daily activities. The ‘why’ of things is still sometimes elusive, but Kelby and Meagz are usually on hand to provide that insight. 

A FLX Story

A Harvest Reflection

By Jamie Rubin (Harvest Intern 2020)

When you work in the wine industry, your life exists in rhythm with the cycle of the vines and customers. All too often, we become so consumed with our own mindset of the season, and the connections with those who experience life the same way we do, we fail to realize not everyone has the same perspective. 

Each year interns arrive at Red Newt Cellars from a diverse set of backgrounds looking to experience the rush of harvest. The interns return home at Thanksgiving, the majority of harvest complete, and only the sounds of bubblers remain to remind us that harvest is only partially complete. Seeing this year’s harvest through intern Jamie Rubin’s eyes gives us the opportunity to share with you some of what is experienced during a harvest. We hope you enjoy his A FLX Story. We will  post all five segments separately to stay tuned each day for another installment.

 

By Jamie Rubin

Part I: October 25

First of all, simply being in upstate New York during the fall is amazing! The colors are changing slowly this year, quite possibly due to drought conditions. This is making very day’s drive into work a complete sensory joy ride. Some areas have bare trees, some are just yellowing, some are fire orange and red, and there are still some places totally green!

We recently picked Gruner Veltliner from Lahoma Vineyards, which is situated on the other side of Seneca Lake from the winery. We were able to do a three day cold soak on it before pressing it off! This wouldn’t have been possible in a normal year simply due to the volume of fruit arriving at the winery. This is destined to become a new SKU in the Kelby James Russell (winemaker at Red Newt) line of wines and I can’t wait to taste the finished product. The fruit was gorgeous!

As for myself, I’m adjusting to being the least knowledgeable person in the room at any given time. It’s definitely a challenge after running four restaurants and always being the guy with the answers. Now, I find myself being given what sounds like basic instructions only to need to ask two or three follow-up questions to make sure I don’t f*ck anything up. That’s a really long of way of saying that I’m being humbled daily and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to learn more!

Regarding Kabinett

What is it?

Red Newt Cellars Kabinett Explained

Red Newt Cellars has produced a Lahoma Vineyard Riesling since 2009. The nature of the block has always lended itself to a more fruit forward and slightly sweeter style of wine. Beginning with the 2012 vintage, our winemaking team started pursuing a more traditional style of Kabinett, looking for that perfect balance between flavor, sweetness and acid.
The 2013 Riesling Lahoma Vineyards is exciting and racy with bright citrus aromas in the nose, a perfectly balanced palate with a luscious sweetness and edgy acidity, and a lingering finish of white peach and honey. The vibrant interplay of sweetness and acidity create a wine that is intriguing and pairs remarkably well with food.
This wine seeks to bottle that joyful fruit expression of tangerine and apricot every year in its most exuberant form. Modeled off the balance point of a German Kabinett, it is juicy to drink when young but has the sugar and freshness to reward cellar aging.
Stop by today to purchase the 2013 Riesling Lahoma Vineyards. We’re open 12pm until 5pm daily.
 

Sekt – Do you know it?

A Sparkling Wine!

Sekt is a German or Austrian sparkling wine. In fact, Germans consume more Sekt per person per year than the French do Champagne!

Production of this style of wine began 200 years ago after German winemakers returned from studying mèthode champenoise in Champagne, France. Winemakers used only the highest quality grapes (Pinot Noir, Champagne, Riesling, Traminer) to produce small batches of Sekt. After the devastation of the world wars producers turned to newer, high volume production methods to kick start the Sekt industry. They succeeded! Today, three Sekt houses in Germany produce more Sekt than all the producers of Champagne France. Unfortunately, this meant a reduction in quality for the sake of quantity produced. 

Today, several Sekt producers are returning to the more traditional methods of production focused on high quality small batch production. It is with this in mind that Red Newt Cellars began producing this  style of wine in 2015.

Sekt!

The 2020 Sekt grapes just arrived to begin their journey into wine. Stay tuned for more on Sekt!

The Three Pigs!!!

Given new life!

 
For all those of you who have spent time on Red Newt’s beautiful deck enjoying our gorgeous view, you might remember three not so attractive tanks just below you. Well, we’re happy to say they have finally gotten a face lift. What we use to loving refer to as the three little pigs have shed their skin and have become something new. Like many tanks in our cellar we will have to come up some new names for these three. Any ideas? We are open to suggestions. 

Catwalks

Catwalks!!!!!!! Meeeeoww…

 
They may seem like commonplace things in wineries but here at Red Newt we are still getting used to the convenience. For only two harvests have we had the luxury of these feline named walkways, and boy do we like them. It certainly beats moving ten foot ladders around from tank to tank. Sadly only humans have had the honor of strutting their stuff on the catwalk … On the catwalk … Do a little dance on the catwalk.
 
– James (cellar rat afraid of cats)