Harvest and Vinification



Wines five years in the making

Corliss produces very small quantities of three wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux-style red blend and Syrah. We only get one chance each year to do it right. That means we scrutinize every step along the way. At harvest, grapes are hand-harvested and hand-sorted to ensure the purity of flavor we seek. At the winery, clusters are meticulously hand sorted once again and then gravity-fed into small, custom-made fermenters, where native yeasts spur fermentation of the whole clusters. We choose the whole cluster fermentation process to develop complexity of flavors and aromatics in the finished wine.

Free run and pressed juice are separated. Winemaker evaluation determines whether pressed juice is a component of the blend. Each part of the equation is carefully considered to enhance the ultimate vision of the wine. French oak barrels are used for all of our wines, toast levels varying with the varietal and vineyard source. Once in barrel, the wine is carefully monitored throughout its evolution.

Thirty months in barrel bring the wine to a level of maturity where we’re ready to carefully taste through all lots, selecting the very best for the final blend. After blending, the wine is bottled and aged for an additional two years so it can relax into itself, ensuring seamless integration of flavors and tannin. Did we mention that we’re patient?

A link to the land

As part of our overall vineyard management,  in  2012, we introduced a flock of 22 Babydoll Southdown sheep to graze weeds and fertilize the vineyards.  Petite in stature – ranging from 18” to 24” at the shoulder – this highly social heritage breed has dense wool, well-suited to the cold winter climate of Walla Walla.  With their sweet, furry faces, they greatly resemble teddy bears.  Babydolls prefer eating “down”, meaning what’s on the ground, so are well-suited to keeping vineyard weeds in check without harming the vines or fruit.

To keep our flock safe, a pair of Great Pyrenees pups, Ziggy and Gunnar watch over the Babydolls.  Pyrenees are legendary sheep herding dogs, their massive size intimidating to potential predators.   Born in March of 2012, when fully-grown, the boys will reach somewhere between 150-200 pounds.  While grand in size, they are sweet in temperament, making them fine companions to both the Babydolls and humans.



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