Winemaker Q&A: 2016 Russian River Valley Harvest

by on October 21, 2016

EnRoute Russian River ValleyRussian River Valley harvest. “The picking starts at midnight and continues until sunrise. The fruit comes into the winery in waves, where it’s hand-sorted, destemmed and moved into open top tanks. Punchdowns happen around the clock. There is coffee, so much strong coffee. There’s that moment when your shoes are still soaked from processing fruit the morning prior (or was it the day before that?), and you start to wonder if it’s possible to sleep on a forklift,” says EnRoute Winemaker Andrew Delos. Grinning, he adds, “And on top of it all, we have to miss the first four weekends of college football.”

Harvest in the Russian River Valley is not like an episode of I Love Lucy, although it certainly helps to enter into the picking season with your sense of humor and comedy intact. Honestly, our EnRoute winemaking crew lives and breathes this stuff. Which is good, because this year, our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay harvest lasted for 46 consecutive days.

Now, the winery is full of post-harvest activity. There are tanks to be drained, skins to be pressed and wines to be barreled down. In the midst of the activity, Andrew graciously touches on the high points of EnRoute Harvest 2016:


Describe this year’s growing season. The 2016 season started very early due to a warm spring and an early summer. Then, in August, everything cooled down for 10 days and harvest halted. Warm weather returned and harvest came fast and furious.

What’s your hands-down favorite thing about harvest? I love smelling the wonderful aromas of fermentation almost as much as I love the camaraderie our crew builds by working so many long and arduous hours together.

What’s the hardest and/or most frustrating thing about harvest? The long hours and strenuous physical activities. Convincing your body to move when it’s so darned tired! That, and also the terrible music that some of the interns listen to.

What are you absolutely loving about this vintage so far? There’s a wonderful purity of fruit and the wines are already showing a really enticing floral perfume. It’s too early to make a call on mouthfeel, but the aromatics are very promising.

What are your expectations for this vintage of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir? Our EnRoute Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley “Les Pommiers” will be a great follow up to the 2014 and 2015 vintages, with a more refined and delicate aromatic profile and an elegant expression of the Russian River Valley. Our EnRoute Single-Vineyard Pinots also promise to be expressive and show a beautiful transparency of site.

When harvest wraps, what’s the first thing you plan to do? Decorate my house with tons of Halloween décor. Go to the coast for some oysters and clam chowder. Eat lots of comfort food in the cold weather.

“In many ways, harvest tests you, Andrew says, “however, we wouldn’t trade the two am punchdowns, the pumpovers, the failed attempts at sleep on the office couch, and the barreling down of harvest for anything. At the end of it all, we get to taste the literal fruits of our labor.  And man, it tastes good!”

Want to be the first to taste our next vintage of EnRoute Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, “Les Pommiers,” and our collection of Single-Vineyard Pinot Noir? Explore two exciting options.

0d1p5830Get the details on our current vintage here.



The Vintage Trifecta: A Look at the 2014 EnRoute Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

by on May 11, 2016


With the release of our 2014 EnRoute Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, “Les Pommiers this month, we can’t help but flash back to August, 2014, when one of the earliest, most intensely-paced harvests in EnRoute history kicked off.  Below, Winemaker Andrew Delos recounts: (more…)


Introducing EnRoute Single-Vineyard Pinot Noir

by on November 23, 2015



This month, we unveiled the debut vintage of our EnRoute Russian River Valley Single-Vineyard Pinot Noir: the 2013 EnRoute Amber Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir and the 2013 EnRoute Northern Spy Vineyard Pinot Noir! These two vineyards comprise the backbone of our flagship Russian River Valley wine, the EnRoute Pinot Noir Les Pommiers, but they also make exceptional stand-alone wines.

Club members were the first to be offered these exciting new wines (we invite you to read more about our EnRoute Pinot Noir Club, here).To learn more about the inspiration behind their creation, read on! (more…)


The New Girl: Kamyn Asher Joins the EnRoute Wine Team

by on October 15, 2015


In her first year as a full-time member of the EnRoute Team, Cellar Worker Kamyn Asher proved she’s got the humor and drive to keep pace with the pros. Which came in handy during what turned out to be EnRoute’s most high-speed Russian River Valley harvest to date.



The Quiet Man: EnRoute Winery’s Master of the Cellar

by on September 23, 2015

EnRoute Winery Cellar Master JP Perez

EnRoute Winery Cellar Master JP Perez


Ask the EnRoute Winery team about Cellar Master J.P. Perez, and you’ll hear very similar responses:

“He leads by example–just gets after it all day and into the evening. He NEVER complains or asks for time off or talks about how tired he is.”

“He’s a professional with his work. He gets the job done right, every time. No cutting corners.”

“He’s pretty quiet during harvest.”

 “He’s actually pretty quiet, and likes to actually DO the work instead of letting his team do everything.”

J.P. began his career with us in 1999 in the maintenance department at our sister winery, Far Niente. Recognizing his quiet work ethic and great attention to detail, the winemaking team eventually transitioned him into the cellar. In 2013, Winemaker Andrew Delos brought him on board as the EnRoute Winery Cellar Master, just in time to bring in our 2013 EnRoute Pinot Noir. He’s been an essential part of the team ever since.


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