The smoke-filled 2008 harvest is memorable but not in a good way. When we tasted our 2008 Pinot Noirs during barrel aging and blending trials prior to bottling, no smokiness was detectable—but once they spent time in the bottle we realized that thousands of cases of our Pinot Noir had developed strong smoky flavors. We decided to sell the affected wines under our secondary Indian Creek label for pennies on the dollar. We have no regrets about being honest with our customers but midway through the 2020 harvest, when forest fires started in inland Mendocino and smoke slowly started drifting towards Anderson Valley, you can bet we were freaked. From grapes harvested before the smoke drift, we were able to bottle a small amount of Méthode à l'Ancienne
Pinot. In an attempt to avoid smoke-affected wines, the grapes picked last, under the most smoky skies, were successfully turned into rosé since we could avoid smokiness due to abbreviated skin contact. The grapes harvested under mildly smoky conditions were turned into red wine; they tasted fine in the barrel, but would they turn smoky in the bottle?
Loading compost into a spreader. After we've removed the juice from destemmed grapes, we produce compost from the many tons of the leftover skins, seeds and stems.