Is free run wine that much better?
First of all, we should explain what free run wine (or juice) is. After fermenting the crushed grapes, a significant amount of "free-run juice" is pumped out of the fermentation tanks prior to pressing. What is left over (grape skins and seeds) is normally pressed to one degree or another, depending on the winemaker's preferences. This is the way 99% of wineries make their wine. Must can be lightly pressed, or with modern hydraulic presses can be pressed until virtually every ounce of wine has been removed.
Many reasons for pressing are stylistic to the winemaker. One of the main reasons is economic, as there is a lot of wine left over in the “must” or what is left after fermentation.
Pressing juice adds tannins and other more harsh flavors that can compliment a wine. If overpressed, however, it can ruin the wine.
The bottom line is that we make wine that we like to drink ourselves, and we have determined over time that free-run juice offers an exceptional wine-drinking experience.
All of our wines are free-run, with the exception of Northwest Aviator’s Reserve and Medieval Red. When we press our grapes, we use a proprietary system we designed to very lightly remove a small amount of pressed juice only...and only a small amount of pressed juice is added back in as we finish the wines prior to bottling.
Do you soak corks prior to bottling?
We are asked this question often from home winemakers. The answer is no. We are not aware of any commercial wineries that do, and the downside is huge.
Even for home winemakers, the investment of money and time to make good wine is considerable, and to seal your creation with a used cork is a mistake. We always recommend using the best quality corks, always new!