If our white wines make up the heart of our winemaking program…red wines are the soul.
Learn how red wines are crafted here at Kendall-Jackson.
To obtain rich and flavorful wines, the red grapes are harvested at their optimal ripeness and quickly brought to the winery.
De-Stemming and Crushing
The stems are carefully removed from the clusters and the grapes are gently crushed to break open the skins. Deep color and subtle tannin development are primarily derived from contact between the juice (often called "free-run") and the grape skins.
The juice and broken skins (or must) are placed into stainless steel tanks. Our winemakers control the temperature between 33F to 40F and "cold-soak" for up to 72 hours. Cold-soaking provides the finished wines with a deeper ruby color.
A long, cool primary fermentation slowly converts the sugars to alcohol, and controls any unwanted flavors or aromas from developing.
After primary fermentation, once again the grape skins are left in contact with the juice from a period of a few days up to 6 weeks. During this time, our winemakers continually taste the wines to monitor the tannin development. Tannins provide structure, depth, complexity and age-worthiness in wine.
Once the wine has been determined to be at its optimal tannin development, the juice is slowly pressed off the skins, taking special care to not impart any bitterness from crushed seeds or stem particles.
Transferring the Wine into Oak Barrels
Once the wine has been pressed off the skins, it is transferred into the highest quality small French and American oak barrels, and stored in our cellar for a long, cool aging process.
During cellar aging, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. This process, which typically happens right after the primary (alcohol) fermentation is especially desirable in red wines, creating a silky texture and additional body and complexity.
As the red wines age in our cool cellars they develop complexity in aromas and flavors as the subtle tannins soften, enhancing the rich varietal specific fruit qualities as well as adding pleasing toasty oak and vanilla aromas and flavors.
Throughout the entire process, our winemakers keep each vineyard lot separate allowing the wines to retain their appellation uniqueness. Our winemakers also taste each red wine barrel, patiently waiting for the best time to blend, or layer, these unique flavors together.
Once the wine has been gracefully aged, our winemakers craft the final blend. Using artisan winemaking methods, our winemakers layer the many unique red varietal flavors found in our California coastal vineyards, to create a blend that expresses only the finest qualities available.
Once blended, the wine finds its final home in our Kendall-Jackson wine bottles, ready for shipment to your favorite restaurant or store or our tasting room. After months of hand-caring and crafting, we pay particular attention to this process to ensure the flavors and aromas found in our cellars reach you in perfect condition for your ultimate enjoyment!