With the release of the 2016 Monte Bello Chardonnay, we asked Winemaker Eric Baugher to share his method of obtaining clarity in the wine without the use of fining or filtration.
“The moon cycle assists with gravitational pull, helping hold sediment at the bottom of the barrel during wine racking (the removal of wine from the barrel). The moon, in its oblong orbit around the earth comes close to earth (perigee) and exerts a stronger gravitational pull (the opposite is apogee at its furthest point away from earth, and weaker pull.) So the best racking date before bottling is one where the moon is perigee and when moonset is in the early morning hours. Basically, we’re looking for a strong moon gravitational pull downward, when the moon is “underfoot.” That helps us decant out of the barrel a very clear wine that will be ready for bottling and not require fining or filtration. The second force that has to be considered is barometric pressure differentials. If stormy weather is upon us, even with a correctly positioned moon, the wine will not be fully settled out. The movement of barometric pressure can cause the sediments to lift off the bottom of the barrel. It gets difficult to bottle in the winter time due to the challenging weather pattern.”