One of the phenomena we've observed in wine production is that the first grapes harvested frequently make the best wine. This seems counter-intuitive as the ripening period for the earliest picking is the shortest. When we harvest Pinot Noir from the same microclimate, for example, we can frequently explain why a field of vines ripened their fruit sooner than adjacent fields. Vines with a light crop ripen faster than similar vines with a heavier crop. Healthy, virus-free vines ripen their crop quicker than vines that are virused and weak. Both of these conditions, a high ratio of leaves to fruit and lack of viruses, are also related to superior wine quality, which may explain why the first grapes can be the best.
Jesus rolling an empty oak barrel into the red cellar. Jesus is a valued member of our vineyard crew; many of our employees are cross-trained in a different department so we can provide fulltime employment to all our staff. After primary fermentation we rack the Zinfandel into seasoned French oak barrels to age for about eleven months.
The juice pan when pressing fermenting Zinfandel. Zin skins produce a wine with lots of color and this is a great place to stand as intense wild blackberry scents waft over the crush pad; we love Ed Berry's Zin!
We produce Zinfandel from grapes grown mostly by two experienced growers, Al Tollini and Ed Berry. Since the youngest vines they farm are almost seventy years old, all the Zin Navarro produces certainly qualifies for "old vine" status. Each spring, we evaluate the wines from the prior vintage and in 2012, 2014 and 2015 the best Zinfandel wine was produced from the first Zinfandel grapes harvested from these two first-rate growers. Ed Berry's vines, planted in 1948, have good vigor and typically have a light crop which partially explains why this field is the first to ripen. The grapes were destemmed into two five-ton temperature-controlled fermentors where the skins were gently shoved into the fermenting must by hand to keep the tannins supple. After aging for eleven months in seasoned oak barrels, the wine was bottled unfiltered to preserve its strength. Gold Medal winner.