The Process


Pittsburgh Winery begins the winemaking process with the whole fruit. Once fully ripened to the precise specifications of the winemakers, the grapes are harvested in the cool early morning hours and then immediately packed into shipping bins and loaded onto refrigerated trucks to begin their journey. These trucks leave California before noon, and arrive safely at our crushpad within 3 days. This is where all of the fun begins and everyone drops everything to tend to the fruit. The wine grapes are immediately crushed and de-stemmed into open air fermentation bins. After a several day cold soak in the bins, to extract more colors and flavors from the skins, the yeast is introduced to the must to begin the fermentation process. During fermentation the cap of the must is punched down by hand twice daily to further increase contact between skin and juice. This fermentation on the skins generally completes within 7 – 10 days when all of the sugar has been converted to alcohol, and that is when the wine is pressed. Once pressed the wine is placed into the barrels where the secondary fermentation, otherwise known as malolactic conversion is conducted. This process coverts harsh malic acid to smoother, more palatable lactic acid and gives the wine and more velvety, fuller mouth feel while imparting more pleasing aromas and flavors. The wine then spends between 1 and 2 years in a combination of new and used, French and American oak barrels where it ages and gains complexity while picking up additional flavors and aromas from the wood barrels that are toasted or charred on the inside to a specific level. The wine is racked, or moved off of the sediment that gravity has drawn down to the bottoms of the barrels, 3 or 4 times over its life in the barrels in order to clarify the wines. After extensive barrel sampling to determine when the time is right, the wine is removed from the barrels and prepared for any blending and bottling. Pittsburgh Winery's wines are sometimes filtered but never fined and absolutely no animal products are used in the process. We also only use the bare minimum amounts of the sulfites necessary to produce fine wines with age ability, and intervene as little as possible in order to bring forth the most profound expression of the grapes, and the terroir of the appellations from which the fruit was sourced. We here at Pittsburgh Winery are proud of what we do and look forward to sharing our finest wines with you and yours.
Tim Gaber - Winemaker