Get the Dirt about Graef Wines from Andrew Graef

2 Mar

Graef21.What was your first vintage year? 2008

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? 500-1000.

3. How did you get your start in the winemaking business? Working cellar, making wine for others.

4. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? Williams Selyem Pinot Noir.

5. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Why? Syrah, as it makes a wonderful wine, and I have wonderful Syrah fruit to work with. Also Viognier and Chardonnay, as they’re long time favorites – and again I have extraordinary fruit to work with.

GraefBottles6. What vineyards do you source from? I choose vineyards based on their ability to grow outstanding fruit, such as Remembrance Vineyards’ lush Syrah fruit from Lake County and Bell Vineyards’ exceptional Chardonnay grapes from Yountville.

7. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why? Most of my current releases — the Rose of Syrah, Viognier and Chardonnay — never touch oak. They’re slowly cold fermented in stainless steel with no malolactic because it’s important to me that, with those wines, you taste the fruit.  On the other hand, I believe in oak when it comes to red varietals.  My 2012 Syrah spent 2 winters in three-year old French oak barrels.   Note neutral oak barrels.

8. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? The climate, the soils and a long existing viticulture community that takes considerable pride in their product.

GraefLabel9. What’s the story behind your name/label? It seemed obvious at the time. Still does.

10. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? Nothing.

11. We’re curious…do you ever get tired of drinking your own wine? Is it considered bad form to dip into your inventory? If I may say so, I really like the wine I’m crafting.  And I very much enjoy drinking my own wines. It’s both a necessity as well a curiosity to see them evolve in bottle.

12. Do you still have a day job? Beyond the idea that making wine is something that fills my year? No.

For more information about Graef Wines, please visit their website.

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