We began our 2021 harvest by picking Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc grapes for verjus on August 17—the same day we were bottling 2020 Navarrouge—and that set the tone for our 2021 juice production as we continued to bottle juice while fermenting wine at the same time. It's frantic, especially if the weather is hot and the harvest is proceeding quickly. Verjus has been used since the Middle Ages as a meat tenderizer and a wine-friendly replacement for vinegar; the 2021 verjus—62% Chardonnay and 38% Pinot Blanc—delivers with mouth-tingling acidity. Gewürztraminer grapes from our Peach block were harvested three weeks later when the grape sugars were higher and the flavors developed—the verjus was harvested at 13° Brix and the Gewürz at about 20° Brix. Pinot Noir grapes for juice were harvested on September 8, a day after the Gewürz.
Josephina pressure washing prior to bottling juice. Since grape juice is a perfect medium for fermentation we get the winery as yeast-free as we can and only those bottling juice are allowed in the bottling room so that no yeasts from fermenting wine enter until juice bottling is finished.
Gewürztraminer juice being bottled about 10 days after harvest.
All three juices were chilled immediately after pressing and cold filtered to remove grape solids and yeast prior to bottling. The verjus is quite acidic with flavors suggesting apple. The Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer juices are sweeter and can be drunk straight, with sparkling water or with a little verjus to adjust the sugar/acid balance to your taste. The Gewürztraminer is aromatic with flavors suggesting citrus and tropical fruit while the Pinot Noir tastes of rhubarb and strawberry. All three juices are available in 750 ml bottles which should be refrigerated after opening.