Cellar Practices

Winemaker Michael Beaulac’s philosophy is guided by the thoughtful selection of vineyard blocks designated for each wine.

Cellar Practices

Winemaker Michael Beaulac’s philosophy is guided by the thoughtful selection of vineyard blocks designated for each wine.

He honors the unique winemaking needs of each of our estate vineyards in five different appellations, as well as the ever-changing demands of each new vintage. Meticulous attention to detail in the cellar allows him to craft appellation wines that express their distinct terroirs with power, elegance, and texture. The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon blend is produced from as many as 80 different small lots—wines that showcase the complex expression of this storied winegrowing region. Michael also leads extensive barrel trials to determine the aging approaches that best enhance the personality of each wine; these programs are well-known locally for bringing winemakers together in the rustic ambiance of our caves.

Grapes are harvested in the cool night temperatures and sorted carefully in the vineyard so that only the best fruit is brought to the destemmer.

Whole-berry fermentation in stainless steel, with regular pumpovers, results in the optimal extraction of color, flavor, and tannins from the grape skins.

We regulate the temperature inside our small-capacity tanks with cold and hot glycol jackets on the outside of the tanks. We lower the temperature for cold soaking and raise the temperature during fermentation for optimal tannin and color extraction from the grape skins.

After fermentation, the free-run wine is drained gently off the skins and transferred to barrels for aging. We identify the French forests from which the wood is to be sourced, and we stipulate the curing time of the staves and the toasting levels of the barrels and heads.

Each of the 4,600 oak barrels in our Cabernet Caves is made to our specifications. We identify the French forests from which the wood is to be sourced, and we stipulate the curing time of the staves and the toasting levels of the barrels and heads.

Wines are blended three to four months after harvest for early integration of flavors and aromas. The blends are aged for 18 to 22 months in hand selected French oak barrels with profiles matched to complement the terroir. Extensive trials of barrels from a wide array of coopers allow us to select barrels that enhance the distinct personality of each vineyard lot.

The engaging aroma of French oak contributes a distinguishing characteristic to our Bordeaux-style wines. Pine Ridge Vineyards secures the highest-quality handmade château barrels from some of the finest cooperages in France.

We gently rack the wine from barrel to barrel, allowing sediment to settle out naturally.

Barrels are prepared for second year usage on select wines.