How We Make Our Wine

Image of Cloudlift Cellars white wine with cheese plate.

Start with the best ingredients.

Tom’s committed to doing everything well–so when he’s making wine, he wants to make the best wine possible. That’s why he likes to create blends–to take the characteristics and subtleties of different varietals and produce a sum that’s greater than its parts.

Long before any berries get crushed, Tom works on sourcing fruit from the dry side of the state. He works with talented growers in different regions of the state. The grapes are carefully tracked from fruit set to verasion, when the berries change hue.  As the grapes approach maturity, Tom and the growers start daily monitoring and sampling to find just the right moment to pick.

When the grapes are ready, they’re picked, hauled across the Cascade Mountains, and loaded into the destemmer/crusher. Depending on the season, crush can last for more than a month or be compressed into a few weeks. Berries for the white wines are pressed right away. The reds go into fermentation bins where they ferment until dry. The aromas of fermentation fill the air in this exciting time.

The white wines are typically barrel fermented and aged. The Chardonnay tends to see new French oak while the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon get neutral barrels to retain their delicate flavors and aromas. All the whites rest on their lees and are stirred weekly to help build a smooth and creamy mid-palate quality.

The red wines finish their primary fermentation and malo/lactic conversion and go into barrel. The reds rest in barrel almost two years before they are ready for the bottle. During that time they are racked from barrel to barrel to help clarify them by removing the sediment that settles to the bottom.

As the young wines mature, Tom tastes and blends and prepares to bottle. After a brief bottle aging, the wine is ready for release.