decisions, decisions

Decisions on all processes depend on personal stylistic preferences, appellation, economics and the practical realities of production and availability. As in any craft, each decision snowballs; thus the preference on any given choice may be greatly affected by, and interdependent with, choices already made or yet to be made. All decisions come back to the nature of the fruit, and the vision for how that fruit is best expressed. In the end, the winemaker is only helping to steer a process, not control it.

Vineyard selection issues: Climate; soil; hill vs. valley; aspect; general karmic considerations; vine age; clone and rootstock; training and farming parameters, such as watering regime, ground cover, vine orientation, trellising, leaf pulling, fertilization, crop control

Harvest timing: Flavor; acids; sugar; phenolics

Pressing: Whole cluster vs. crushed; press cuts and pressure parameters

Fermentation parameters: Yeast choices; dosage if inoculated; barrel vs. tank; temperature; parameters of dryness; divine intervention; stuck fermentations, or the lack thereof

Malolactic fermentation: Reasons pro and con; timing; inoculated vs. indigenous, and strains

Lees contact: Time on lees, if any; stirring—pros and cons, frequency and duration

Barrel choices (in order of my perceived stylistic impact): Coopers; toast; country and forest; percent new and average age

Other aging parameters: SO2 management; total time before bottling; racking; fining; oxidation parameters; cellar temperature

Bottling Parameters: CO2; O2; filtration, if any