The Windy Oaks Estate Philosophy

Since our first vintage in 1999, the driving objective of Windy Oaks has been to produce world-class Pinot Noir that faithfully represents our unique vineyard terroir, with no compromises. Our winemaking begins in our vineyards, which we farm in a fully sustainable way, using many organic and biodynamic practices. This fundamental principle extends to the other varietals we farm and produce.

In the winery, our objective is to use a minimal intervention approach to fully preserve the grape quality achieved in our vineyards. Fermentations start slowly using native yeast, and often take a month or more to complete. Nothing is rushed—every effort is made to let the wine evolve naturally to its best expression. Hence, the winery is all-gravity, wines are aged on their lees in French oak for 17 to 27 months, and all wines are bottled using our state-of-the-art bottling line without filtering or fining.

In recent years, Windy Oaks has pioneered a variety of innovative practices in its vineyards and winery. Among them, in the vineyard we use a multi-stage pruning process; leaf-pulling within the vine canopy; avoidance of hedging (inspired by Leroy in Burgundy); and the use of a hot-air machine to minimize the need for chemical sprays and to control undesirable insects. In the winery, we use a naturally occurring yeast to eliminate the need for SO2 during crush; specially designed fermentation barrels for maximum preservation of delicate nuances of aroma and flavor in the wines; and no barrel racking. Finally, we extend aging on the lees to enhance mouthfeel and phenolic integration, and eliminate all filtering and fining of the wines, including the white varietals.

From The Vintner

The most important part of my job as winemaker is what I do in the vineyard to ensure maximum grape quality and pristine condition at harvest. The French have a word, “vigneron,” that describes someone who grows grapes and makes wine, and I think this is a good way to think about our approach. We view grape growing and winemaking as part of a single process – not two separate activities.
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