Although the combination of perfect soils and climate are indispensable, it takes the hand of man to realize a vineyard's full potential to produce a world-class wine. At Chateau Montelena, we have a dedicated team of individuals with decades of experience working in our vineyards and handcrafting our wines.
There are hundreds of decisions that go into making a
bottle of wine and it all begins in the vineyard, with the land.
One of the most basic and essential ingredients in growing a great
grape is starting with healthy soils. Mother Nature has determined
the makeup of all the soil types found on our Estate vineyard, but
it is the responsibility of the vineyard team to ensure that these
soils are healthy and balanced. Instead of chemical products, we
use only sustainable, organic farming methods to promote the health
of the soil and ultimately preserve the land's productivity. For
example, instead of using chemical pesticides, we combat
destructive pests by growing cover crops and releasing ladybugs
into the vineyard.
While our vineyards are naturally low-yielding because of
their rocky soil types, we help to keep the vine yield low by dry
farming as well as thinning our crops each year. Smaller yields
produce more intense, concentrated, and complex wines. To ensure
even ripening of the grapes, we carefully monitor the canopy,
removing leaves several times each growing season. For the same
reason, the vines in each vineyard block are trellised specifically
for optimum exposure to the sun and to promote air circulation. At
harvest time all of our grapes are hand-picked by our experienced
vineyard crew, picking the grapes at night to capture the natural
flavors we prefer in our wine.
The wines produced by Chateau Montelena are handcrafted in
our cellar by our dedicated winemaking team. The wines express the
fruit from which they are made and the vintage in which they are
grown, with all other elements in balance to complement the fruit.
To achieve this goal, we use modern crushing, de-stemming and
pressing equipment to process the grapes as gently as possible. We
then use temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks to allow the
wines to ferment slowly and evenly. Once fermentation is complete,
the wines are transferred to small, French oak barrels to begin the
aging process. We use a combination of new barrels along with
older, neutral barrels to ensure that the natural flavors of the
grapes are not masked by oak. After blending and bottling, the
wines receive enough aging time prior to release so that they can
be enjoyed right away or laid down to mature for years to