Paul et fils at the sorting table


Winemaking

At Small Vines we handcraft exquisite Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some of California’s most meticulously farmed and unique high-density vineyards. Choosing only low-vigor properties, in cool coastal climates- we have been developing our Estate Vineyards since 1999. Each pure, distinct, soil-driven wine from the Russian River Valley and the Sonoma Coast that we craft, is made with humility, authenticity and transparency to be meaningful to you. This is a luminous and delightful wine!

Our Philosophy 

Our winemaking is focused on using traditional methods to hand-crafting authentic wines that are meaningful:

  • Great wines originate in the vineyard
  • Balanced wines come first from balanced vines- and all components of the wine should be harmonious
  • Low yields give a pure and transparent concentration to the wines
  • Harvesting at true phenologic maturity-tastes like biting into fresh picked fruit
  • Natural yeast fermentation for heightened vineyard expression and nuanced complexity
  • Aromatics that seduce you, complexity that inspires you and a persistent finish that captivates
  • Natural acid resulting in freshness, vibrancy and ageability
  • Hands-off winemaking, minimal input, therefore a wine that transmits a sense of place

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PINOT NOIR

Handpicked in the cold of the night into small bins and brought delicately into the winery while still cool. It is then meticulously hand sorted twice, insuring that only the finest fruit makes it into the fermentation tanks. Vinification is classic, having the patience to respect the nature of the wine. On many lots we choose not to de-stem the fruit- using the whole cluster during fermentation to add lifted aromas and lengthy firm tannins helping improve ageability. The wines are always handled as gently as possible with delicate hand cap submersions. In the cellar, we use the finest French oak barrels imported from Burgundy. We ensure that all of the staves have been aged a minimum of 3 years-allowing natures elements plenty of time to soften the tannins. Consequently the barrels have a diminished impact on the wine allowing incredible purity of fruit and an unhindered expression of the vineyard.

  • Harvest micro-lots of fresh-ripe fruit at the peak of phenological maturity
  • Whole cluster for more desirable aromas and pleasing tannins for ageability
  • Cold soak and cool-slow, native-yeast fermentation enhancing vineyard expression
  • Micro-vinifying individual lots for retaining the different terroirs within each vineyard
  • Cool, lower peak temperature fermentation temps and extensive skin contact for slow gentle extraction of tannin and color
  • Gentle hand cap submersions, not bruising or tearing the fruit-preventing the extraction of harsh tannins
  • Only free run juice is used prior to pressing
  • Finest , custom, 3 year air dried French Oak Barrels
  • Typically, 14 months in barrel on the fine lees
  • Bottled unfined and unfiltered-in both 750ml and 1.5L bottles for better ageing

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CHARDONNAY

Still cool from the hand- harvest these grapes are field sorted then are taken gently to press and micro-vinified. Our simple and timeless vinifications are modeled after the best white French Burgundies, sacrificing quantity for the ultimate wine quality. We use a very slow extended press cycle to allow the juice to be released from the berries without extraction of harsh flavors.

  • Harvest at between 21.5-22 Brix capturing mouthwatering acidity and pleasing minerality
  • Fermentation in mostly neutral French oak barrels helps to develop the intensity and concentration that the vineyard brings to the wine
  • Slow, native-yeast fermentations- after finishing primary in March and secondary in April or May, helps ensure layers of complexity and richness without weight
  • Secondary fermentation (malolactic) is allowed, softening the laser focused acidity and preventing the need for sterile filtration
  • A combination of the finest new and neutral French oak are used, with a percentage of stainless-steel
  • Racked off the fine lees only on the best biodynamic days to ensure clarity and allow bottling without fining or filtration
  • Bottled after 10-11 months on the fine lees, capturing the wine while still fresh and vibrant

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ROSE OF PINOT NOIR

Our desire to make Rosé stems from our love of Grower-Produced Champagne. Making a good Rosé is similar to making a base wine for sparkling. Each of our biologically diverse vineyards are edged by lush, native trees. The shade patterns of these trees are carefully mapped then indicated with flags down to the vine. Grown only in the shady regions of the vineyards – these less ripe areas are hand harvested specifically for the Rosé, usually between 18-21 degrees Brix. 50% with whole cluster, this delicate fruit goes straight to press, like a white wine, and it is not a by-product like many American Rosés. It is an intentional Rosé full of vibrancy and natural flavors.

  • Native yeast fermentation in stainless steel
  • Malolactic fermentation arrested to maintain focus
  • Transferred into neutral barrels for 3-4 months
  • Blended with 3% finished Old Mill Pinot Noir and ¾ % Barlow Homestead Chardonnay

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 “I am in love with my work. I have not yet reached perfection and seeking it is my constant journey.” –Paul Sloan, Vigneron

 

COMING SOON! OUR NEW WINEMAKING FACILITY: SEE OUR BLOG FOR UP TO DATE FEATURES