Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were
sourced from three estate vineyards in
Yountville, Rutherford, and west of
Soscol Avenue (north of Napa). Grapes
from each property were divided into
straight tanks (for control), truncated
tanks, and older conventional fermentors. The first
harvest to go into the
new fermentors came from the Yountville
Vineyard at approximately 25°
Grapes were sorted and went
through a Delta-E2 destemmer (18mm
hole diameter cage) with an electronic
variable speed control. About three
tons per hour of grapes were handled
very slowly. "The rollers on the
destemmer were set as wide as possible
to pop berries, but not smash
them," reports Damian Parker, vice
president of production. A Waukesha-
220, 4-inch positive displacement
pump transferred the must to the fermentor.
At Joseph Phelps, the juice is left on
the skins for about 20 to 30 days total
skin contact. Winemakers typically do
a four-day cold soak, then inoculate.
Pump-overs are one to four times per
day depending on the stage of fermentation.
Between 18° and 12° Brix, one complete
delestage is done.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards usually
macerates to or past dryness, though
Hepworth says, "The decision on
when to press off the skins is made by
taste. In Bordeaux, my observation
was that enologists perform more
extended maceration than California
winemakers tend to do."