Unti Vineyards is a small, family-owned and operated winery specializing in red varietal wines with vineyard personality. The winemaking includes artisan methods which enhance and support an ability to make wines with a sense of place.
Our intent is to make the best and most interesting wines from our property with a willingness to work with Mother Nature rather than against her. This means planting grapes that are more expressive–because they are better suited to our site–regardless of the current market trends.
The same principles that guide our vineyard practices are applied to the way we make wine:
Harvest and Fermentation
We strive to pick our grapes at that ephemeral moment when they have the most to give. We try to steer the fermentation in a direction we believe reflects the inherent grape characteristics, the soil they are grown in and the weather of a particular year. To achieve that, the winemaking is shed of as many external influences as possible, i.e. commercial yeasts, acidity correction or fining agents. While chemical analysis of must and wine can be helpful, it is ultimately our senses and intuition that enlighten our choices.
Natural or hands-off winemaking doesn’t mean thoughtless winemaking. We stay away from technological or chemical tools but we do influence the fermentation dynamics -and the resulting extraction of grape compounds into the wine- through physical process’ like temperature control, intensity of crushing, frequency of punch-downs and pump-overs, length of maceration time, etc..
In our quest for truer-to-their-roots wines we adopted the antique whole cluster fermentation method that is still widely used in the Rhone: grapes are harvested very cold early in the morning, sorted and placed in shallow wood or stainless steel tanks where they are then stomped by foot. The fermentation starts naturally after 5 days of soaking thanks to indigenous yeasts. We started experimenting with whole cluster fermentation on Syrah in 2005 and have now extended the technique to Mourvedre and Grenache. The presence of stems and a higher proportion of whole berries in the fermenter seems to widen the aromatic profile of the wines (more peppery and floral notes) as well as pro