With the harvest complete at Breaux Vineyards, one might think that we have plenty of time to rest until the spring. However, we are busy all winter long making sure that our vineyards and winery continue to operate smoothly and that we stay busy prepping for another beautiful year ahead! Here’s a glimpse into how Breaux Vineyards operates “behind the scenes” during the winter months:
After the annual harvest, our professionals do a post-mortem of what worked and what didn’t in terms of the year’s haul, focusing on what we can do to improve and how we could make things work better. A self-check is always important to streamline processes, and we believe strongly in doing this every year. We want to give our guests the best possible wine experience!
The routine checking and caring of our Breaux wines as they age is crucial after harvest. We go through and make sure all of the barrels are topped up as they go through malolactic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is the process in winemaking in which tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid.
When a red wine finishes malolactic fermentation we rack the wine out of the barrel, clean the barrel and put the wine back into it, at which point the wine receives its first dose of sulfur. The sulfur will protect the wine from microbial spoilage during the aging process.
Following harvest, we start planning the bottling of Breaux Vineyards wine for the upcoming year. Figuring out the amount of wine we need to bottle is an important part of our bottling process, as it dictates the preliminary blending trials of our whites and roses, as they are bottled earlier than our reds.
The winter months are very busy for our vineyard crew, even though our vines are at rest! The crew works hard to prune and nurture the resting vines so they can perform their jobs of producing beautiful fruits once springtime arrives.
We also spend the colder, quieter months winterizing our tractors and equipment that won’t get used again until springtime. Finally, the winery and crush pad get a thorough cleaning, and we sharpen tools, inventory items, and put everything back in order.
After the harvest, our Breaux Vineyards Tasting Room remains open as usual, welcoming visitors throughout the winter season. We love to decorate the Room for the holidays and maintain a festive atmosphere with offerings and the decor. It’s a quieter time with a more relaxed pace, perfect for anyone who didn’t have a chance to visit during the more seasonally busy times.
Post harvest, we are able to reflect on the past year, plan for new projects, and look forward to the excitement of the future! Come visit us and enjoy a glass of Breaux Vineyards wine this winter and see why Breaux Vineyards is one of the best wineries in Virginia!