The Stoller winery is a solar-generating, gravity-flow winery that combines progressive, environmentally-friendly design with gentle, traditional winemaking practices that minimize damage.
Harvest typically starts at the end of September. The incoming fruit enters the winery during the cool morning hours and is stored in our cooling room to reach the desired temperature before processing.
The Chardonnay grapes go directly into our press. The juice is collected and settled for two to three days in steel tanks. From there fruit for our SV Chardonnay goes into French oak barrels in our cellars to ferment at a cool temperature for approximately four weeks, after which the wine is aged in barrel for 10 months to build richness and complexity. Our JV Chardonnay is fermented in steel tanks, never going into barrels.
Pinot Noir grapes get the royal treatment. They go through our sorting line where several people remove unwanted grape clusters and material other than grapes (MOG for short).
The grapes then are carried by a conveyor to our destemmer, which sits on a trolley directly above the fermentation tanks.
We drop the whole grapes into our fermentation tanks, where they remain at cold temperatures for up to 10 days. This cold soak process is a style choice that facilitates color and flavor extraction before any alcohol is produced.
After this cold soak period the fruit starts fermenting from native yeast or, more commonly, is inoculated with commercial yeast. We use a mix of yeast strains for this process to provide variation of flavors. The fermentation typically is complete in three to four days, after which we will either press the wine or allow for some extended post fermentation time for two to four more days.
The wine is settled in tank for two to three days and then moves downstairs into our cellars for secondary fermentation and aging. Secondary fermentation is achieved by bacteria that converts the bright and fresh malic acid in the grapes into lactic acid, which has a smooth perception on the palette.
All our lots of Pinot are fermented and barrel aged separately, providing us with the ability to gain knowledge and make assessments of our various clones and vine ages before making our blends.
We use only French oak barrels, selecting from a handful of coopers (barrel makers) depending on age of vine, clone, and vintage. We like to use oak as a complementary spice, to enhance the fruit and tertiary flavors of Pinot rather than to provide a dominant flavor.
As we gain experience working with our vineyard blocks over time, we learn the nuances of each section and which type of oak is best paired with the section.
Blending and Final Processing
Our Pinots spend approximately 10½ months in oak barrels before they are blended and bottled prior to the next vintage.
Blending occurs in the late spring/early summer months, once the wines have successfully completed secondary fermentation. After bottling, we like to age our Pinots for at least one year prior to release.
Winemaking is a practice of patience, an expression of what nature gives us, a unique product that captures a time, a place and the people that are involved.