Many people ask me what we end up doing in the winter (usually assuming that we have absolutely nothing to do). While things are comparatively slower during our "off-season", there are still plenty of things to work on.
From a winemaking aspect, there are usually a few tanks of Riesling that are fermenting into the new year. Once those have completed, we cold stabilize the wines and begin blending trials. The blending trial evaluation can take weeks to complete with all the different variables (i.e. 8 different tanks of Riesling from 3 different sites to make 5 unique Rieslings can take a fair bit of time). While the 2012 Pinot's are resting in the barrels, we still have the 2011 Single Vineyard Pinot's to prep for bottling, along with the 2011 Barrel Reserve. Additionally, we still have all the post-fermentation chemistry to catch up on (yes, there is the science aspect to winemaking too).
The vineyard needs an annual pruning, which usually takes a few weeks. This is followed by tying the young trunks to the stakes to keep the vines upright. Finally, once things begin to warm up, we can tie the canes to the fruiting wire for the season.
What does the winery dog do when it's this cold out. Well, her Swiss roots really come out with snow on the ground. Check out the latest vineyard snow romp from our pooch: