Laura Bunzel, sommelier and wine buyer for the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai who has been staying with Mike for a week, joined Bernard and I while we checked Brix, and temperature of our fermenters and tasted them, to see what their "Sunday needs" would be. Harvest brings visitors; those who want to get a first hand feel for wine growing and winemaking. Friday, Laura had joined Phil in the early a.m. for harvest (of Merlot Block E). After an overview of our winegrowing, she helped Julie document vine details (shoot length, etc) for Phil. Julie does this in every block near harvest...One of the nice thing about visitors, and Laura exemplifies this, is their interest and curiosity. She had seen several other wineries and was curious to discuss the different winemaking techniques that are used. For example, she asked why we didn't harvest all our blocks together for a field blend (answer: (1) they get ripe at different times; (2) we want to see, after fermentation, which will be suitable for Series C and Series M). I told her … every winemaker has a different approach…and that makes wines diverse and intriguing. It is not a matter of "right technique" or "wrong technique" but how they all fit together and most important, how they work with the grapes, and the winery's vision.For Vilafonte, the grapes drive our decisions. That is why we collect data on our vines…to know them very very well, each vintage. Laura says she fell in love with the Cape.
Laura, come back next year and we will put you to work again!