While we cultivated our own vineyards in the hills of eastern Napa Valley, dedicated to growing grapes for our ports, we have sought out local vineyards producing high quality grapes. We have forged strong relationships with other grape growers in order to harvest the best quality grapes at the high ripeness levels we seek.
The hand-harvested grapes arrive at the winery picked much later in the season than grapes used for a still wine. The longer "hang time" of up to one additional month on the vine allows the grapes to become fully mature and gain more intense varietal flavors. At the winery, we use taste as the main factor when deciding to stop the fermentation process. Combined with testing the juice's natural sugar content, daily tastings determine the optimum time to fortify with brandy.
We then add the finest quality aged, double-distilled alembic brandy to raise the alcohol content and halt the natural fermentation of the wine. The wine, now a port, is then put into oak barrels to age for a minimum of 36 months and marry the flavor components. Â After bottling, the port is laid to rest for at least one additional year before release to the public.
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