Shane Finley Q & A
Lynmar Winemaker Shane Finley (second from left) and his team are keeping busy looking over the 2013 vintage as it ages in barrels. With the intense days of harvest behind him, Shane took the time to answer some questions from our Facebook fans on his approach to harvesting and winemaking.
Audrey Glass Mikita: Do you have a “gut feel” about which vineyards are likely to produce the best wines?
Shane Finley: My instincts tell me a lot about a vineyard. The “feel” of how or where a vineyard is situated influences my decisions on working with a prospective site or not. However, before I chose a vineyard, I assess several more concrete factors. Some of the metrics I use are soils, clones, planting density, trellising, exposition, and management. Hopefully, these data points coincide with the more anecdotal “gut feel.”
Robert Collier: How was the quality of this year’s harvest versus ‘12?
Shane Finley: Quality is high in both vintages. I really like the firm structure and fruit purity of the 2012s and 2013s. I feel the 2013s have a brightness and elegance to them and the 2012s are a bit more opulent. The weather in 2013 was more challenging (early rains and larger temperature fluctuation around harvest time) and it is real credit to our vineyard crew that they were able to maintain the integrity of the fruit under challenging circumstances.
Gerry Riley: Which yeasts do you use for each varietal and why?
Shane Finley: I use DV10 for our chardonnays and RC 212 for Pinot noir. Both yeasts respect the character of the fruit and are consistent fermenters. I also chose these yeasts because they produce clean and moderate (not rapid) fermentations. I am not looking for the yeast to impart flavor. I am blessed with amazing fruit sources, so I want the yeast to convert sugar to alcohol and not leave any fingerprints.
Floyd Pennington: What role do you think long and short tannin chains have in influencing the flavors in your wines?
Shane Finley: Tannin development doesn’t come into play with Pinot noir as much as it does with Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon; however, we do try and build longer more refined tannin chains. I do this by injecting a small amount of oxygen (with a sparging stone) during the peak of fermentation. We also splash the wine a bit at dryness during the tank drains (prior to putting the wine in barrel).
Shane also answered some frequently asked questions on the day-to-day routines of harvest.
Shane & Vineyard Manager Jason Saling
What’s the communication like between you and the vineyard manager throughout harvest?
Shane Finley: We talk multiple times a day, seven days a week. Coordinating picks and work flow is a logistical challenge. We farm three vineyards totaling a little more than sixty acres. The three vineyards have a combined thirty- three unique blocks. As a result, Jason (our vineyard manager) and I monitor the weather, maturity of the fruit, and health of the vines on a daily basis. Using these metrics, I update Jason on our tentative picking schedule and he is able to manage the vineyard accordingly.
What helps you get through the long, 10+ hour days during harvest?
Shane Finley: Honestly, having the support of my family is the biggest help. Also, I wouldn’t be able to make it without a lot of caffeine, comfort food, a stellar harvest crew, and a cold IPA at the end of the day!