Winemaking

​With only a single vineyard and just over 3 acres to farm, Burning Bench Cellars takes a focused, hands-on approach that one might even call intimate because we know our vines so well. Our crew is dedicated to a single vineyard which we have tended and pampered for more than a decade and a half.  We use hands-on cultivation, composting to build soil health and natural pest-control.  With all of our vines planted in narrow rows on steep slopes, we also hand mow, hand prune and hand harvest. This intensely personal approach continues in the winery. 


A short walk from the vineyard, nestled among the oak and fir trees on the North side of the ridge, is our very basic, elemental, gravity-feed, night-air cooled and solar powered winery.  (In fact, the entire property is off-grid solar, being powered by a ground mounted solar array on the ridge near the vineyard.)  Harvest begins at daybreak and within a few hours of picking, the grapes have been hand sorted and processed into open top fermenters.  The must will be layered under a cooling blanket of dry-ice fog to begin a five-day cold-soak.  60-70% of the grapes will have been de-stemmed while the remaining grapes being added to the stainless steel fermenters as whole clusters.  As the must slowly warms from the cold-soak, we allow native yeasts to naturally begin the fermentation process.  We punch down by hand, four times per day until fermentation ends and then allow a five to seven day extended maceration before pressing the wine through an extremely gentle bladder press into barrel.  The wine is aged “sur lies” for 12-14 months in 25% new French oak barrels.   When we judge the wine complete, we lightly fine with egg whites, perform a final racking and bottle.  We use only French cooperage ( Seguin Moreau, Marchive, Meyrieux, Vernou) made with oak from center-of-France forests and are constantly experimenting with different cooperages and toasts to find the optimal match for our estate vintages. Only gravity moves the wines through the winery so the individual character of our estate’s wine is never diminished. The outstanding Pinot Noir that begins in the vineyard fulfills its destiny in the bottle. 

Winemaking Facts:
Harvested and sorted by hand
30% whole cluster
5-day cold soak in stainless
Native fermentation
5-10 day extended maceration
12 months aging in 25% new French oak “sur lies”
Cooperage: Vernou, Seguin Moreau, Marchive
120-150 cases produced annually