With our raw grain and corn, we first undergo a process to knock and blow off any unwanted dust or debris. It is then hammer milled to a coarse grain and put into the mash tun, where it is heated and becomes our wort. The wort then gets moved, still on grain, into the fermenter where the sugars are converted to alcohol. Once fermentation is complete, we are ready to distill.
With our Apples, we hand harvest at the peak of maturity, still firm yet ripe. We deliver the apples to our winery, where we press them, separating the juice from the pulp, seed and skin and then we hold the juice for 48 hours while chilled to separate heavy solids. We then ferment the juice into cider using a strain of champagne yeast at low temperature to ensure a long fermentation to capture maximum mouthfeel, aromatics and flavor. We then undergo malo-lactic fermentation to add a smooth and creamy texture. Upon completion of fermentation, the cider is ready for the brandy still.
With our grapes, we harvest at a lower-than-normal level of maturity (than we do for our wines) so we maintain a higher level of acid for optimum ester formation preserving the more floral and fruit forward aromas in the final spirit.
We consider our aging program to be one of our secrets and a key driver in how our spirits play on the palate.
Once in the fermenter, we begin a cold and slow fermentation to augment mouthfeel and preserve the fruitiness. We then undergo malo-lactic fermentation to bolster palate weight. Once fermentation is complete, the wine is ready for the brandy still.
We double distill our whiskeys, on grain, with a 550 gallon 4 plate short column pot still allowing us to make a more full bodied whiskey. For the brandies, we twice distill using a 600 gallon pot still with an “onion” brandy head to achieve a higher concentration of esters, capturing the essence of the land. We also take a winemaker’s approach to the barrels, using a mix of tight grain American and French oak, all at 53 gallons for optimum spirit to wood ratio to layer in complexity, and compliment the natural profile of the spirit.
In the barrel house during summer, we see temperature swings from 50 degrees at a low up to a high of 110 degrees. During winter we will typically see a swing from 40 degrees at a low to a high of 60 degrees. The expansion and contraction of the spirit from both daily and seasonal temperature swings pushes extraction of the oak, reflecting the climate of California. We consider our aging program to be one of our secrets and a key driver in how our spirits play on the palate.