Newsletter for May 2021

How Do We Select Oak Barrels For Wine Aging?

I asked Trent The Winemaker about it and here's what he had to say.

Its an interesting question, and highly subjective. There are a couple aspects to look at.

First of all, it's a question of style. France is a big proponent of using barrels, old and new and different capacities (225L to 60hL). Other factors are the origin of the wood (eg. Vosges, Troncais, Never, Allier), grain size and toast level (how much the barrel is toasted or burnt inside). These all play a part in selection, as well as the "Cooper" (craftsman who made the barrel). A cooper is similar to a winemaker, in that, a barrel made from the wood of the same forest, by two different coopers, are very different in the flavors they attribute to the wines.

Portugal, for example, uses few barrels, and mostly used ones. They normally age their wine in tanks made of stainless steel, concrete or clay. Although this is changing as Portugal enters more of the global wine market.

The second question is which varietal of grape we are aging, e.g. Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. The Pinot Noir, being a lighter grape (less color, less tannins), could probably go from no time in barrel to 18 months in barrel. Any more time than that and lighter red wine grapes or white wine grapes will start to age too quickly. While a bigger wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon can age 12 to 36 months. If you have tasted a wine just finished, versus one that has been in barrel 24 months, you would certainly understand the difference.

For me, I like to have barrels from multiple coopers for the wines I want to age in oak. I think of them as a spice rack that I can pair with the young wines. I used to go with 50% new and 50% old barrels for my reds, but now I am closer to 25 to 30% new barrels. The wines seem to be more elegant. And currently, my whites are all old barrels.

In terms of cost, they are expensive. French oak starts out at ~1100 euros (~ $1330), East European ~800 Euros (~ $968) and American oak at $500. But we say in the industry that the most valuable barrel is a clean, used, white wine barrel.

Thank you Trent. It's interesting to hear it from the master himself.

Now you know what kind of attention he pays to his wines. That's why we enjoy them so much.


We would like to thank the members of the Bernardo Gardeners Club for replanting our wooden boxes on the front patio. They were looking drab and needed some attention. Eletha Nordling stopped by the winery a couple weeks ago and pointed that out to us. She volunteered the club to come over and fix them up for us. And what a GREAT job they did! Thank you so much!


We're in the process of lining up some musicians to play for you on Sunday afternoons at The Mission. It'll be a few weeks before we're ready to go, but things are moving along nicely. Watch for future announcements in the next Newsletter and on our weekly Facebook posts.

Fun fun fun!!

New Lights ~~

We've installed some new lighting on the front and rear patios for your evening enjoyment. Now we're ready for summer to settle in. The installation work was done John Lemperle (Trent's Dad) and Robby Dadiego, who is Elise's husband. They did a GREAT job and the patios are shining like the sun. Thank you gentlemen.
Big picture

Proper use of a mask

Wine Club Member Lauren made quick use of her mask the other day. Cold glass? No problem. She has a mask for that! Good job Lauren.

Did you know.....?

That Wine Club Members are given a complementary glass of wine to celebrate their birthday?

Yes - It's true! Any time during their birthday month, club members can stop by for a glass of wine or a tasting.

And there are other benefits too.

Our Wine Club is FREE to join and only costs $65 to $75 every other month.

2 Bottles of our wine every other month

2 COMPLIMENTARY tastings or glasses of wine EVERY month

20% Discount on all wine purchases and

Wine Club Members get the newest releases before they hit the open market.

Club members will be invited to special events, once we start having events again.

Pretty good deal - eh? Ask us about joining the club the next time you stop by.