For most wine lovers the idea of creating a vintage from scratch, with the best ingredients and methods available, has only ever been a dream. Until now. The Wine Foundry, a state of the art custom winery, specializes in making these fantasies come true, both for the amateur wine lover, and boutique wineries without the space or facilities to satisfy their demand.
The Wine Foundry is located in the heart of the 8th St. wineries in Sonoma, California—an unassuming warehouse from the outside, once inside you find yourself in a fantasy Willy Wonka-esque world with barrel after barrel lining the walls from floor to ceiling, the hum of the sorting team finding the best grapes, the lust of a perfect Chardonnay in the air.
Per our Tried & True method we of course had to start the process and see what it was like for ourselves. From the first inquiry the entire team is lightning fast to answer any and all questions and work to create a customized process for your needs – they’ve developed a six-step process for winemaking that spans anywhere from 6 to 24 months. Choose your vineyard, construct a plan, monitor your vineyard, create your wine, design your packaging and blend your wine and Voila! You’re a bonafide vintner.
So far we’ve had a chance to choose our vineyard (2013 Rutherford Bench) and visit for a mid-aging tasting. Wander through the aisles of barrel and wine thief (essentially a fancy turkey baster for small barrel extractions) your way through a 2012 barrel that’s almost complete to a young 2014 blend bursting with potential. Hang out with the crew and drink a few bottles of their latest blend while the sun sets over the valley. There’s never a boring moment at the foundry.
If you’re not sure what kind of wine to make, no worries. Almost like a personal shopper, you can simply say ‘I like a slap-you-in-the-face Cab’ or ‘A ladylike white please’ and they’ll take it from there. The nice thing about the team here is that EVERYONE is a wine expert. Stop by for a tasting with Stuart, the VP of accounts, and you’d swear you were sitting down with the winemaker. They all share a contagious love and passion for the art of wine. It’s intoxicating (no pun intended…).
They also utilize some of the most state-of-the-art winemaking equipment available on the market. Sharath Chandra, Director of Marketing, explained their high tech equipment for us. “We’ve named our coolest tool Enzo—a WineScan from FOSS. It’s truly the most advanced analysis apparatus on the planet. Why would a small winery committed to unique handcrafted interpretations need Star Trek-like equipment? It boils down to quality. We’ve set out to make the best wine for our clients using fruit from the most prestigious vineyards. Toward that goal, we knew this tool was an important investment.”
We also had a chance to discuss what are some of the can’t miss moments for clients to experience during the initial process. Sharath told us “The most dramatic and exciting time to experience winemaking is between September and mid-November. Harvest is a finger in the light socket sensory overload of grape sorting, fermentation management, forklift Tetris and salty languaged cellar workers pressing wines into barrel. There is no experience on the planet like sticking your arm into a toasty fermentation while comparing wines that are just 2 hours, 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months and 2 years old. Grape stained bliss.” Indeed.
Your level of involvement is completely up to you. Show up during Harvest for a hell of a sorting/fermenting/pressing party. If you can’t make it, Skype in from your yacht and watch some of the action with a glass in hand.
It’s so much more than a basement project or an amateur attempt at the impossible. Start the process today and we’ll see you at Harvest next year. Perhaps we’ll even let you have a wine thief taste of our 2013 Rutherford Cab when it’s ready…no promises though!