Our first harvest as Sis and Mae Wine Co. is well underway. We could not be more excited about the fruit and the vineyards we are working with this year. They all have a story and we are honored to be another paragraph in that story. Over time we will further highlight the vineyards as it is an integral piece to what we strive for here at Sis and Mae, to understand the people and places that make Oregon what it is.
Further to that I want to comment on why we highlight being minimally interventionist in the cellar. We spend much of the year tracking down and developing relationships with the farmers who will provide us with grapes. If our goal is to create wines that truly show the natural and cultural influences of our own environment, it is of paramount importance to us that the fruit we work with stand up to that tall order. We look for sustainable or organic farms, strong preference towards non-irrigated, and love if we can find healthy vineyards with some significant age.
The actual picking of those grapes is a story for another day (maybe, kind of a boring story, but not a boring job). When the grapes come in we do a careful sorting, crush or press immediately, and then let them sit in order to initiate fermentation spontaneously. There are certainly pros and cons, even controversy to some extent, to 'native' fermentation. It is our philosophy that it is well worth the uniqueness we find in spontaneously fermented wines to encourage this to happen. This allows the yeasts from the vineyard and winery to kick off the fermentation and contribute their interesting and unique elements to the wine as it develops. That said, it is almost a certainty that cultivated yeasts will be responsible for the finishing of our ferments, so as we approach the midway point we are not afraid to give our wines a safe and healthy boost across the finish line.
We follow this philosophy further with minimal sulfites, no additional chemical additions, and restraint from fining or filtering whenever possible. We want our wines to express their sense of place as much as possible, while staying drinkable and delicious, and feel the best way to do this is to stay as out of their way as we can. If it's possible to have an approach without a dogma, that is what we try to do.
So that is where we are at today, fruit is in, ferments are completing, and we are standing by making sure things go as planned as possible (ha, as if nature doesn't have it's own course.)