The production facility employs a wide range of environmentally friendly features and methods.

Materials

Rock facing on the accent and retaining walls uses rock entirely harvested onsite. Additionally, the roads and parking areas use an aggregate paving system composed entirely of VOC free, recyclable materials. All material choices for the construction of the building were made with a mind toward sustainability.

Innovation

Halter Ranch is the first winery to employ a gravity based CO2 evacuation system built into the foundation. Shaped tank pads, tank skirting, and drainage systems are at the absolute cutting edge of winemaking technology worldwide. Modular hook-ups for movable tanks allow continued use of equipment from the old winery facility while providing potential for future expansion.

Cooling Innovation

Night cooling systems take advantage of the large local temperature swing by pulling in chilled air overnight and keeping out warm air during the day. Concrete mass in the floor and walls increases the efficiency of cooling systems. The subterranean barrel storage caves employ natural cooling and humidity provided by the limestone hillside. Frame over roof design and insulated paneling increases the overall cooling efficiency of the winery building.

Flavor, Balance, Acid, Texture
These are the qualities that drive our winemaking decisions at Halter Ranch. Our focus is simply to create great wines that complement great food. Our grape varieties are chosen not only for our growing conditions but for their food friendly properties.

Kevin Sass, Winemaker

The Winemaking Process

The vintage begins in February with the pruning of the vines and extends through November as we bring fully mature grapes into the winery during crush. When harvest is near the fruit from each vineyard block is evaluated by taste and chemical analysis to determine its progress toward ripening and the ideal time to pick.

All grapes are hand-harvested by block overnight, this way we only receive cold grapes with firm skins that aids during the destemming and sorting process. The grapes are gently de-stemmed with minimal crushing, to preserve the purity of the fruit and avoid the extraction of bitter tannins. Harvesting by block allows us to ferment in small, five and ten ton lots, which affords greater quality control. Our gravity flow winery design allows for the gentlest possible handling of the fruit. Certain varieties are cold soaked in tank to enhance color and flavor extraction, before a cultured yeast is added to start the fermentation process.

During fermentation, gentle punch-downs or pump overs are performed to maximize extraction from the grape skins without crushing the seeds. Fermentations generally last ten days to two weeks and are monitored daily to determine the length of time the skins should be kept in contact with the wine after fermentation completes.

Pressing is performed with a hydraulic basket press, a traditional technique which yields wine of the highest quality. Free run and press fractions from each wine lot are kept separate to assess overall quality before blends are formed. French oak barrels from a variety of forests and coopers are utilized during the wine aging process, with both new and neutral (used for 2-4 vintages) barrels used as determined by the winemaker. Traditional racking is employed to clarify the wine so it can be bottled without filtration.

Our Caves

The winery’s night air-cooling, natural lighting, and 22,000 square feet of caves are integral to its energy efficiency and sustainability.

Cool mass provided by the limestone in the hillside, along with concrete in the walls of the cave, stabilizes the temperature at 56 degrees while maintaining ideal humidity for wine storage.