The moderate climate and proximity to San Francisco attracted grape growers to Carneros as early as the 1850's. In 1983, the area became one of the first American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Since then, Carneros has become synonymous with fine Pinot Noir from California. Saintsbury harvests from as many as twelve different vineyards within Carneros. Each lot is made into wine separately and later evaluated for its individual merits and what it can bring to the final blend.
Production techniques at Saintsbury emphasize gentle handling of the fruit throughout the winemaking process. The grapes are picked by hand and brought to the winery in half-ton bins. From the bins, the fruit is loaded directly into the stemmer-crusher, where the roller bars are spaced such that roughly 30% of the fruit enter the fermenter as whole berries. During fermentation, moderate temperatures are maintained and the pumpover regime consists of a gentle irrigation three times per day.
After fermentation and extended maceration, the wines are racked into barrels where they complete malolactic fermentation and remain undisturbed until blending begins in the late Spring. The barrels at Saintsbury are from new to three years old. They are all French oak, coopered to our specifications in Burgundy by Seguin Moreau and Francois Freres.