They say, the only constant is change, Strey Cellars is changing it up for you! Every harvest Strey has brought in tons of red grapes, and occasional white (green) grapes, but our focus has always been single red varietals. We have been known to surprise you all with blends here and there. (I’m sure your mouth just started watering at the reminder of Slanted and Cynder… mine is!) We have also graced you with a few Rosé and whites throughout the years, but our favorites are red wines. Because we have leaned so heavily towards reds, we have… a lot. We do not fear running low on red wines any time soon, so this harvest we will only be bringing in white grapes. This will surely please all the sweet grandmas who come into the tasting room looking for white wine and are low-key horrified that our only white wine is called Verdelho, and they’ve never heard of it. (Granted, they always end up loving it!) While a lot of people say they don’t like white wine, I challenge you to do some wine pairing and see if your perspective shifts. White wines have a big place in the wine world. It’s not just for summer sangria, and it doesn’t only have to be paired with fish. Personally, I love to pair white wine with a pool day (I like to drink my calories), but whites are also delicious with Asian cuisine.
White wines are extremely versatile, and require a little more TLC than reds in some ways. In anticipation for our grapes to arrive we had to prep the winery. Firstly, we needed a place to store our whites. White wine needs to be temperature controlled, and we have a lot more white grapes coming in than ever before, so we needed a bigger space. I’ve mentioned our small cold storage room before, we used that same idea and built a bigger version right against the wall when you walk into the barrel room! It’s hard to miss, being 20 feet by 7 feet. This room stays between 50 and 55 degrees, making the white wines VERY happy.
Temperature control is extremely important for all wine, not just white wine. There are many variables that we are at the mercy of, and must be extremely attentive to. We recently have been installing an AC unit in our barrel room to maintain a consistent temperature. We do not want to party in a refrigerator though, so having a smaller cold storage room is ideal for wine making purposes. The wine aging in barrels will be happy at a constant 64 degrees… coincidentally, so will we! When wine is stored above 70 degrees, it begins to age faster, and depending on how hot, it might overheat and be ruined. (You’ve probably been reminded not to leave your wine in the car while you’re wine tasting, this is because cars heat up really fast, and that heat can effect your wine.) We recommend keeping your wine over 45 degrees but under 65 degrees. Keeping your wine too cold can cause it’s own set of problems. Refrigerators are designed to suck out moisture which can dry out your cork, allowing air to seep into the bottle. Also, if you put wine in the freezer and forget it, like Scott and I did, you might end up with a case of slushys. Unfortunately this does ruin the wine. when it freezes, the wine expands and pushes the cork out. I tasted the Verdelho slushy and honestly, it tasted kind of flat and crunchy. Not awful, but all the lovely pazaze and freshness that we love seemed to have evaporated. Also, the alcohol melted first, so… that was fun… We were both fired for a minute… but you know how it goes, I get “fired” all the time. Katie can’t live without me… and we wouldn’t have Strey without Scott!
Harvest this year will have a different type of energy. In some ways it will be busier because we have to be very sensitive to temperature. It’s a different type of attention than we are used to during harvest. Yeast temperatures and fermentation temperatures are especially important while making white wine. Scott ordered 4 new stainless steel tanks because most of these wines will not be oaked. I’ll bet you’re wondering which varietals we chose…
I am please to announce that we will be making two different Chardonnays, one will be oaked, the other will be stainless. This gives us the options to blend the two for different tastes, depending on our preferences. We will also be bringing in Gewurtztraminer (German varietal) *done sweet, Viognier (Rhone varietal) *done dry, Torrontes (Argentina varietal), Albariño (Spanish varietal) and and and…. Grenache, which isn’t white, but our next Rosé will be of Grenache!
Author’s note: My name is Justine and I have been working in the tasting room at Strey Cellars for over four years. We are a small family owned local boutique winery. If this is your first visit to my blog, you’ll notice that I write as if we are old friends, because this is the energy of our winery. Come visit sometime, and see for yourself. If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with a friend. Cheers!