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Jeremiah Nelson
April 1, 2021 | Jeremiah Nelson

What Makes A Great Wine Great, Part II: Grapes

For all the pomp and circumstance that can surround wine, it is easy to forget that it is truly an agricultural product. From the most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon to the most elegant Champagne, every wine starts with a farmer's soil-covered hands tending acres of grapes in the vineyard.  


No matter how great a winemaker is, you can't make a good wine without good grapes. The grape essentially carries inside of it the DNA of the wine. Sugar (measured in brix) and acidity levels at harvest dictate the alcohol level and how balanced the resulting wine will be. If a grape is under ripe or the yield is too high, the resulting wine will be too acidic and lack body. Over ripe grapes will not have enough acidity to balance out the resulting sweetness or high alcohol that comes from letting grapes hang too long.

[Bayernmoor Estate Pinot Noir Vineyard at dawn]

Grapes are one of the main components that affect the price of wine. Prices for a ton of grapes vary wildly depending on a number of factors, with yield being the biggest. Yield is the number of tons that an acre of vines produce. Generally, the higher the yield the lower the quality of the end product, quantity over quality. The varietal will also dictate the price per ton. As will location of the vineyard since certain areas are better growing regions than others. All that being said, a ton of grapes can run anywhere from $400/ton for bulk grown white grapes to near $10,000/ton for Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

[Otis Vineyard old vine Chardonnay harvest Bayernmoor]

Bottom line, the grapes act as the foundation for any wine. If you don't have a solid foundation, nothing you build on it will be stable.

At Bayernmoor we take pride in only working with select vineyards throughout the state. Our portfolio will only grow at a rate in which we are able to secure grapes from only top vineyards. One of the tenets of our winery is to never sacrifice quality in the name of quantity.


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