On May 22, 2013 by Rebekah Wineburg

‘How do you come up with the blend each year?’  It’s the question that gets to the heart of our winemaking at Buccella.

Our goal is to produce wines that are complex, layered and rich.  We want wines that compel you to put your nose back into the glass, again and again.  Each sniff, each mouthful should reveal another layer, another subtle nuance of flavor.  This is what we strive for each and every year.

Not a bad day at the office.

In order to produce such wines, we source grapes from up and down the Napa Valley.  Each block within each vineyard contributes something different to the blend and we take care to treat each separately at harvest.  During harvest and first spring, Celia Welch, our consultant winemaker and I get together on a regular basis to taste the individual components in order to understand their strengths and weaknesses and how they are developing.  By the time we start the blending process that first summer after harvest, we will already have had a keen understanding of the vintage’s building blocks. I’ll begin by putting together a few small blends for us to taste blind which helps to eliminate potential bias then we compare notes.  Based on those initial mutually agreed upon blends, we add and subtract “lots” until we’ve made the best possible Buccella for that vintage.  It does take many blending sessions until we feel confident that we’ve found “our sweet spot”.

Blending itself requires more than just technical skill.  A winemaker needs to be able to predict how the components will meld together and how they will change with time.  This is the moment I absolutely love….It’s when the art and magic of winemaking truly comes to the forefront. Working with wines that are unfinished, really takes many years of experience and lots of imagination to envision the finished product…one that ages well and provides enjoyment for years to come. I am honored to be able to work with a winemaker as talented and knowledgeable as Celia Welch.  Having Celia as my mentor, allows me to confidently solidify my vision of the finished product blending after blending.


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