However good your internal winemaking controls are, something like this is bound to happen sooner or later.
Within a few months of barreling the Bells Up 2015 Titan and Villanelle pinot noirs and the Firebird syrah wines, winemaker Dave discovered the presence of film yeast on the surface of some of the barreled wines. Turns out, after asking around, we weren’t the only winery experiencing this phenomenon. The current working theory is that something about 2015’s record high heat unit days seems to have resulted in the presence of film yeasts in barrels throughout the Willamette Valley.
Although film yeast is normally not a major problem, if left untreated it can either directly or indirectly cause off flavors or aromas in the finished wine. While Dave took several minimally invasive steps to eliminate the little critters—and obsessively tops his barrels to mitigate evaporation (the “Angels’ share”)—he wanted additional assurance that the microbials were fully eradicated.
So, a few weeks ago after blending all the red wines to their final proportions, we brought in a mobile cross flow filtration company to gently sterile filter the blends and ensure that all the little buggers were completely gone. Here’s what it looked like…
That little hiccup overcome, we’re looking forward to bottling the 2015s by the end of this year.