A Year in Our Vineyards

"As winemaker at a family-owned winery, I’m involved in everything. I constantly walk the land, getting to know the vines & the grapes they produce. It’s with this knowledge and decades of experience, that we craft our wines. Let me share with you that journey, season by season, explaining how we work together with nature to bring you the highest quality mountainside wine possible."


In March, Spring arrives and it’s the time for regrowth. By the end of April, the vines bloom and develop a mass of tiny flowers. Exciting times for us here at Burgess Cellars, as life returns to the vines and the new cycle beings. As I walk the vineyards in May, I’m on the look out for the tiny immature grapes as they being to grow into the clusters we all know. Now it’s time for the sun to work its magic and begin the slow ripening of the grapes


June is bottling time for us, an extremely exciting time for me as a winemaker. Everything we do from working hard in the vineyards, to the countless tweaks in the cellar, is evident at bottling time. Now we wait for the aging process to start and take effect.
With consistently sunny days in July, the growth of the grape clusters continue. The berries are getting larger but they are still hard and green.
August is our calm before the storm. The clusters undergo veraison, as the sugar accumulates.


September is the beginning of harvest time and daily vineyard sampling. Everyday I walk all the blocks, tasting berries, checking for flavors and ripeness. This is where science meets art, as I determine the optimal time to pick, relying upon many years of experience to guide me. By mid-September we are generally picking. October is fermentation time, which includes pump overs and punch downs, draining and pressing, and barrel work. By Thanksgiving all the grapes have been harvested and the wine is resting peacefully in barrels. This is also the time for the vines to start shutting down and enjoy a well earned rest.


By December the recently harvested grapes are in barrel and aging is underway. I get to barrel taste and get an early sense of what the vintage will reveal. The vineyards are completely free of leaves and fully dormant. In January we finesse the previous vintage, trialing and blending, our goal being to get the balance right. Even though the vines are dormant in January and February, it’s still a busy time in the vineyards. Our vineyard team is busy pruning and replanting blocks, trellising and preparing the vines for the spring, all the while hoping for rain to feed our thirsty vines.