Small scale production with state of the art custom built equipment. With many new additions to the operation, we have constructed a perimium winery in the heart of Colorado wine counry.
Stoney Mesa’s winemaker and wine grape growers everywhere are in agreement when they express “The wine begins in the vineyard. Thicker skins produce wonderful color due to the intensity of the sun because of high altitude and with fairly bright acidity due to the desert’s cool nights. However, beyond these generalizations, the western slope of Colorado’s diversity prevents easy characterization of its wines.
Our current larger scale production focus is on white wines. Although we think Colorado can produce some great reds, we are focusing on our belief that white grapes will be our foundation. That is especially true in Delta County, where our largest farm is located. But we do understand that reds are a key to a successful winery. This will allow us to re-establish our red wine production as a much higher quality product and grow it from there. But the nature of red wine is a slow process and takes time. We have begun by fitting the barrel room with an impressive humidification system which is crucial in our arid climate and installed better cooling to maintain a more even temperature in the barrels room. These are both key to maintaining a more stable environment to age high quality reds in.
Modern techniques in maturation is also more responsible to the forests that provide oak. We are integrating alternative maturation processes We have learned much over the years, and expect significant quality increases to continue across the full line well into the future. A better understanding of the equipment allows us to process more efficiently and achieve a higher quality of wine. A custom built Bucher membrane press with a capacity of 4 tons of fruit, a new mono-bloc bottling line rated at 700 bottles/hr and four new custom built stainless steel jacketed tanks increasing our production capacity.
Distinctive Characteristics of Stoney Mesa wines
The wine grapes of the Grand Valley American Viticultural Appellation (AVA) display intense varietal character due in part to the large swing between warm days and cool nights. With a longer growing season, Grand Valley wine grapes have more hang time compared to Delta County, resulting in more mature fruit with more of those ripe qualities. Delta County is more expressive when it comes to the whites. These distinct characteristics are found throughout the region’s most widely planted grapes.
White Wine Process
After gently pressing the whites, the winemaker cold settles the juice, then racks off the majority of the sediment left behind. He then ferments the whites at the lowest temperature possible without killing the process. The whites can take up to 45 days to ferment to completion. Riesling and Gewurztraminer are then held at 28 degrees for 2 weeks and racked finned and filtered. The Pinot Gris is allowed to set on the fermentation lees for up to 4 months, to help improve the mouth feel of the wine. We do not use any oak in the white wine process; it is all done in tanks.
Red Wine Process
Beginning with the harvest of 2010, we switched to a fermentation called Delestage (Rack and Return). The fruit is crushed and separated into 3 Ton (custom built for Stoney Mesa Winery), stainless steel red wine fermenters. As the must begins to ferment, the wine is separated from the skins once a day and transferred into a holding tank. During the process, an abundance of seeds are screened and removed. Then the wine is pumped back over the skins and allowed to continue fermenting. This is repeated for about 10 days under controlled temperatures. The process allows for superior fruit extraction while reduced seed tannin extraction. Along with this process, and aging in higher quality European oak, we expect the reds quality to increase dramatically when these vintages hit the market.