Vista 222 Estate Wines
The Winemaker's Process
Winemaking starts in the vineyards, and at Vista 222, we recognize that the quality of our wines is fundamentally tied to the grapes we grow. The art of viticulture, often described as a fusion of science and nature, encompasses all aspects of grapevine cultivation and determines the final characteristics of any wine a vineyard produces.
The Vista 222 Winemaking Journey: From Vine to Glass
When visitors look out across our vineyards for the very first time, the reaction is always the same:
"This is the most beautiful place I've ever seen".
We know this sentiment well, because every member of the Vista team has uttered those same words. We're connected to this land, and to protecting it's
Our carefully crafted Vista 222 Estate Wines are a reflection of that appreciation, and to the perfect accompaniment to all the property has to offer to our visitors, now, and in the future.
There's a reason people choose to hold some of life's most important occasions right here in our vineyards. This land speaks to our guests, just as it does those of us who steward these lands. And when you enjoy our wines, you become part of that journey.
Cultivating Excellence: The Planting Phase
Vista 222 is guided by a fundamental principle: our raw materials must be high quality from the outset, because while it is possible to make bad wine from good grapes, it's impossible to craft exceptional wine from inferior grapes.
Each vineyard site within Vista 222 is thoroughly prepared to receive our chosen grape varieties. The decision on what to plant is driven by a deep understanding of the land, its microclimates, and the unique needs of each grape variety. We aim to harmonize the vines with the terroir, ensuring they thrive in our specific soil and climate conditions.
Vineyard Stewardship: An Ongoing Commitment
Maintaining the health and vitality of our vineyards at Vista 222 is a year-round commitment, where the delicate balance between human expertise and the forces of nature is our constant focus. Our vineyard maintenance practices are rooted in sustainable farming principles, respecting the land and the life it sustains.
Harvesting: The Essence of Timing
Grapevines yield fruit once a year, and harvest timing is critical. The winemaker's discerning eye determines when the grapes are ripe, typically when sugar levels and acidity achieve the perfect balance. In the northern hemisphere, the harvest season typically stretches from late September to November.
During the harvest, skilled workers carefully cut the grapes from the vines, placing them in baskets before transporting them to the winery.
Crushing and Destemming: Setting the Stage for Fermentation
The next step is to prepare the grapes for fermentation, which begins with crushing and destemming. The crushing process breaks open the grape berries to release their juice, a crucial step for both white and red wines. The destemming machine separates the grapes from their stems, which can introduce harsh, bitter tannins into the wine.
Diverging Paths: White, Red, and Rosé Fermentation
At this point in the winemaking process, white, red, and rosé wines begin to take divergent paths. White grapes are directed to the press, where the juice is extracted without skin contact. Red grapes, on the other hand, undergo maceration, which is the key to producing red wine's rich color and flavor.
Maceration: The Art of Color Extraction
Maceration is the process by which wine gets its color. In the case of red wine, the grape skins remain in contact with the juice throughout fermentation. The clear juice inside grape berries takes on color as alcohol and heat draw pigments from the skins into the liquid. The duration of this contact influences the depth of color, with red wines often macerating for up to a month. Rosé wines macerate for a shorter period, usually up to 24 hours.
Wine Fermentation Process: Sugar to Alcohol
Fermentation is the transformative phase where grape sugars convert into alcohol, fueled by the yeast's sugar
consumption. This process produces alcohol, carbon dioxide, and heat, lasting 10 to 21 days. It is crucial to control the fermentation temperature, as extremes can lead to yeast inactivity or death.
During fermentation, grape skins and seeds form a cap at the top of the vats, and the winemaker must push this cap back into the wine to ensure proper extraction of color and flavor. This process, known as pigeage, is an essential part of the winemaking process.
Pressing: Separating the Juice from the Solids
Pressing is the step that separates the skins and seeds from the juice. For white wines, pressing occurs before fermentation, while for red wines, it happens after fermentation. In the case of red wine, pressing extracts the last bit of juice from the skins, and the discarded solids are sometimes used for various purposes, such as grape distillates, vineyard fertilizer, or animal feed.
Racking: Clarifying the Wine
After pressing, some solid matter and dead yeast settle at the bottom of the vats, a process known as lees. The wine above this sediment is gently transferred to a different vat to remove impurities. In some cases, winemakers employ additional clarification methods using substances like bentonite clay, egg whites, or fish bones to ensure the wine is crystal clear.
Blending Wine: Achieving Balance
Whether crafting a single-variety wine or a blend, our winemakers meticulously select and blend wines from different vineyard sites, vats, and barrels. Each component is unique, and the winemaker's art harmonizes them to create a balanced wine. This process involves both scientific precision and artistic flair.
Oak Barrels: The Influence of Wood
Some red and white wines undergo aging in oak barrels, where they absorb oak flavors and experience subtle oxygen exposure through the wood. The choice of oak type, the length of aging, and the barrel's previous use all contribute to the final flavor profile of the wine.
Aging Wine: Waiting for Perfection
Unoaked white wines and rosés mature relatively quickly and are ready for consumption in about four months. Red wines, however, require more time and can spend up to two years before they reach the market. This aging process is crucial for the development of flavor complexity and character.
Filtering: Clarifying the Final Product
Even after racking, small particles may remain in the wine. Filtering is the final step in making the wine crystal clear and free from impurities. Some winemakers minimize filtration to preserve the wine's character, while others employ different filtration techniques for clarity.
Bottling: The Last Touch
The final stage is the bottling line, where machines fill the bottles, seal them with corks or screw caps, and add foil. The last step, affixing our Vista 222 labels, is done by hand.
Join us at Vista 222, where every bottle is a labor of love, crafted through a process that respects the land, the grapes, and the art of winemaking. Experience the journey from vine to glass and savor the fruits of our dedication and passion. We invite you to explore our estate wines, tour our vineyard, and celebrate the art of winemaking in the heart of our beautiful property. Cheers to the Vista 222 winemaking experience!
Some Notes About Our Recent Vintages
2022 Chardonnay – A summer's dream! Green apple meets lemon meringue with coconut flakes in this crisp, clean Chardonnay with a vibrant finish.
2021 Pinot Noir - A winemaker's innovation gone right! This light-bodied Pinot Noir skipped the French Oak process and met cherry wood instead! Perfect for those hot summer nights when you want the nuance and boldness of a red but also something cool and refreshing.
2022 Rose of Pinot Noir - Pinot Noir's structure and complexity are at their finest, with forward notes of strawberry essence and a refreshingly bright finish.
2020 Pinot Noir— This vintage of unfined/unfiltered Pinot Noir is the ultimate food wine. Medium-bodied and acid-driven with balanced notes of earth and fruit, it adds beauty to almost any pairing.