We do not have our own dedicated winery facility. Instead, we lease production and barrel storage facilities from a large state-of-the-art winery in nearby Napa, California.
This approach is very common in Napa Valley due to limitations on new winery construction and general winery economics. Building a winery is a big investment, so many expect to take on clients such as Charnu to help defray the cost. In addition, a winery that is used by multiple clients can often afford sophisticated equipment that would be hard to justify for a single winery.
We ferment our Cabernet Sauvignon in large stainless steel tanks, each designed to hold 5-7 tons of fermenting grapes. The tanks are surrounded by "jackets" through which we can circulate coolant to control the temperature inside the tank.
When fermentation is complete, the juice and skins (the "must") are pumped into a basket press. The pressing process is controlled by a computer program and is designed to be as gentle as possible.
Once the wine is in barrel, the barrels are moved to caves for storage. The caves are the perfect environment for barrel storage, as they naturally maintain the ideal barrel-aging temperature and humidity.
We generally keep the wine in barrel for 18-24 months, depending on the vintage characteristics.