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Malolactic Fermentation Chardonnay

Parke pulls a sample of malolactic ChardonnayWhen asked the question–“What has most influenced my winemaking philosophy/style?”–I would have to answer my internship at Domaine des Comtes Lafon. René Lafon opened my eyes to his traditional techniques that were considered revolutionary in California at the time. Malolactic fermentation is a secondary (bacterial) fermentation that occurs in most all red wines, but in California, in the early 1980’s, it was rare in white wines. In Burgundy, however, all of their Chardonnays undergo malolactic fermentation thanks to one primary reason–their wines would be too acidic without the secondary fermentation.

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Benefits of an Estate Vineyard

Parke Hafner during Chardonnay Harvest.As all winemakers know, winemaking starts in the vineyard. Having our winery at the southeast corner of our vineyard (30 feet away!) ensures that I’m out in the vineyard frequently. That, in my opinion, has a great impact on wine quality. Check out a short video of David and the machine harvester picking Malbec right in front of the winery. 

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Speedy Chardonnay Bottling with GoPro

GoPro captures Chardonnay bottling.Late July and early August days are filled with my least favorite job – bottling. It’s both stressful and monotonous. We bottle our Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Next Red (all from our Alexander Valley vineyard) in three extremely long weeks. Using our GoPro, we videoed the Chardonnay bottling. After watching one minute of it, we realized that it would be more interesting (and fun!) to see the process sped up (100x!).

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Interns Past, Present and Future

Guillaume and AymericLudovic David, our intern in 1990 and now the General Manager at Chateau Marquis de Terme, came back to visit us and brought his son, Guillaume. Guillaume will go to the same university, Purpan, where his dad went and our interns are enrolled. While they were here, our 31st intern, Aymeric Laturelle, arrived. They are our interns past, present and future! 

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Wine Aging 101

Wine Aging 101Aging wine can be intimidating, so we thought we’d provide our experience and perspective. Here is a “Wine Aging 101” to focus on our Alexander Valley Cabernet...so grab your pencil and a glass of Cabernet. We hope you enjoy this Q&A and we encourage you to send us any questions you might have. Cheers!

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