Understanding Control Points from Crush Pad to Barrel in the Minimal-Intervention Cellar

Low-intervention and ‘natural’ wines have carved out a category for themselves in the wine market, leading to increased interest in these practices among both consumers and producers alike. Within this wine segment, winemaking methods are widely variable, and the resulting wine styles diverse. This session will offer both scientific and experience-learned techniques that can be utilized from fruit reception through élevage. New research from Sydney Morgan at the University of British Columbia, will be presented on different concentrations of sulfur dioxide additions at crush and its effect on different Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain compositions during fermentation. Guest winemakers and consultants include Eric Texier from the Rhône Valley, Mike Roth from Santa Barbara, and Chad Stock from the Willamette Valley, who will offer insight and strategies that can be applied in the cellar to lessen the reliance on modern winemaking tools without sacrificing quality.

Speaker Bios

Sydney Morgan is a fourth year PhD candidate studying wine microbiology under Dr. Daniel Durall at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna, Canada. Her research focuses on alternative fermentation techniques in modern commercial wineries, including uninoculated fermentations, the addition of low levels of sulfur dioxide, and the use of local vineyard yeasts as starter cultures for alcoholic fermentation. Her research has been published in International Journal of Food Microbiology and the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research. Her research projects involve collaborations with commercial wineries in the Okanagan Valley and wine microbiology lab groups at the University of Adelaide.
Mike Roth started Lo-Fi wines quietly while he was working at Martian Ranch and Vineyard in Santa Barbara County. One harvest at Martian offered Roth the opportunity to work with some left over fruit. He wasn’t planning anything serious or long-term, just a glou-glou wine for himself and friends. The project continued with the partnership of Craig Winchester (assistant winemaker at Martian Ranch then) and a few harvests went by with the two making more and more to the point that they had a small inventory of wines. Mike Roth and Craig Winchester officially launched Lo-Fi Wines in 2014 as a high-priority passion project and business while maintaining their winemaking “day jobs.” Today, the wines of Lo-Fi are vibrant and fun. They are leading the way for a new generation of California winemakers that aren’t seeking points or collectors, but getting back to the roots of what make wine exciting and enjoyable.
After completing an apprenticeship in 2006 for Rudd Winery in Oakville, CA, Chad Stock moved north to Oregon to join the team at Antica Terra in the Eola-Amity Hills, to help redesign and launch the new company. In 2011 with his own wine label “Minimus”, Chad began exploring viticulture and wine production theory across the state of Oregon, leading him to become a sought-after advisor and consultant for minimal intervention winemaking, alternative grape cultivars, and technical education for rare wine styles. In 2016 Chad founded Craft Wine Co. in Carlton, OR where he co-owns and produces the Minimus, Omero Cellars, and Origin wine projects, followed by co-founding Constant Crush Advisors, an international consultancy specializing in vineyard development, wine production, product development, packaging, and global product placement. Chad earned top honors and the University Academic Achievement Award, as well as his bachelor’s degree in Enology from California State University, Fresno.
Growing up in Bordeaux, Eric moved to Lyon to study material engineering where he discovered the wines from Beaujolais, Maconnais, Jura, Northern and southern Rhone. After 10 years working as an engineer for the nuclear industry, he went back to school in Bordeaux in 1993 to study enology and viticulture, and did an internship in Burgundy with JM Guffens and other minimalist winemakers, and organic growers. He began to make wines from the northern Rhone in 1998, and quit his engineer job in 1999 to be a full time winemaker. He now grows 25 acres of vines organically in Ardèche and Drome, mostly Syrah and Roussanne, with virutally no till soil management and no additives since 2003. He consults for a number of European organic estates that want to move to low intervention winemaking, since 2012.