Winemaking

Tossing Grapes

The Legacy Of Quixote Winery

Quixote is a boutique winery gem in the heart of the Stags Leap District, producing just 2,000 cases annually. Our small, limited production of Cabernet Sauvignon is only found at our winery and our Petite Sirah can be found at select Napa Valley restaurants and hotels.

Staying true to the vineyard, Winemakers Robert Smith and Philippe Melka let the wines express the true meaning of our Stags Leap Appellation terroir. Our unique estate vineyard has four distinct soil types with both east and west facing slopes, giving us wines of great balance and complexity. Ultimately, the legacy that is Quixote begins in the vineyards.

Grapes falling

Fermentation

Once harvested, the grape cluster are destemmed and put through an optical sorter before being transferred to a either a steel or concrete tank. The grapes go through a cold soak phase, called maceration, to begin extracting flavors and color prior to the start of fermentation. During the first portion of the cold soak, about 10–15% of the liquid volume is removed from each tank to help the wines become richer and fuller bodied.

During the 14 – 21 day maceration period, the wine gets punched down or pumped over twice per day, allowing the juice to be in constant contact with the skins for maximum extraction. This slow, deliberate process allows the wine to develop beautiful textures and powerful characteristics. Once the maceration period has finished, the grapes are then pressed and transferred to barrel for aging.

Aging the wine

Upon the completion of fermentation, the wines are transferred to a custom blend of French Oak barrels from nine different cooperages. We use a variety of coopers because each barrel imparts subtle differences and nuances on the wine. A combination of new and neutral barrels are used with our Helmet of Mambrino (Reserve) wines spending 30 months in barrel while the rest of our estate wines spend 18 – 20 months in barrel. During aging, each barrel will be racked 3 to 4 times prior to final blending. Once aging is complete, each barrel is tasted by our winemaking team and only the most balanced blends are used to craft the Quixote wines.