Kings Garden Vineyards uses grapes grown by its owners from their 16-acre vineyard located at Lodi Point, Lodi, along the eastern shore of Seneca Lake.
Our current annual production ranges between 32 40 tons a year, which equates roughly to 4,800 to 6,000 gallons or 2,000 2,500 cases annually. Our grapes are hand picked to allow for selective berry harvest and less foreign mater, such as leaves that contribute off flavors in the winemaking process.
Fruit is collected in lugs weighing about 28.5 lbs. And then emptied into 1-ton bins. 70 lugs makes one ton (for those who are counting) Red fruit is processed differently than white grapes.
Whites are de-stemmed and pressed as whole clusters and pumped into a chiller tank for several days for settlement. The juice is racked into a stainless steel fermenting tank or a neutral oak barrel. Yeast and nutrients are introduced and a primary fermentation takes place until all sugars are consumed. A second fermentation, Malolactic fermentation begins, converting acids to a creamy, buttery finish.
Wine is racked a final time for cold stabilization before bottling, which can take another 2-4 months. Chardonnay ages in oak for an additional 4-6 months.
Red grapes are de-stemmed and lightly crushed into a 1-ton bin. Yeast and nutrient are introduced and fermentation continues until sugars are consumed. Free run juice is separated and aged in separate barrels from pressed juiced. A Malolactic fermentation begins. Red wines can age in the barrel for 18months to 4 or 5 years. Our reserve reds Cabernet Sauvignon and Meritage blend has been aged well over 4 years in French oak.
Oak barrels are used - 90% French oak barrels and 10% American oak. The age of the barrel varies considerably depending on the type of wine and barrel influences desired. A new French oak barrel can cost between $900-1200.
Aging and racking wines also varies. Currently, there are 150 barrels in the cellar. Wines for King’s Cab and Knight’s Blend will stay in the barrel for about 4 years, then racked, filtered and bottled to age again another year once in the bottle.
Our first release of King’s Cab (reserve Cabernet Sauvignon) took 10 years before it was available for sale. Counting the time from when the plants were grafted, 5 years until the first harvest, 4 years in the barrel, and one year in the bottle, a very long time. Some ask, was it worth it? We sold out in three months….watched a dream become a reality….priceless.
Video: Racking Wine Barrels