Berries! They arrive by the bucket load from the vineyard all for me to analyze. And what a process it is. Upon arrival we will note berry size, color, cluster formation, and even all of our friendly and helpful ladybugs. The exact same meticulous and gentle care with which we treat all of our fruit in the cellar must also be observed in the lab. Every day we spend at least 2 hours gently popping individual pristine berries from our many vineyards and blocks. Once every berry is popped we do a cold soak in the fridge in order to simulate the famous pre-fermentation Domaine Serene cold soaks that our lots will undergo during processing. After the cold soak is complete the real fun begins; TAs, Brix, pH, and tasting!
All of this analysis allows us to make picking decisions that will optimize the flavor and potential of the grapes. This process also makes the lab a veritable brain trust during the harvest months. If you want to really know what’s going on and where the action is, forget the crush pad … come to the lab! Not only will you get the latest info on picking decisions and analysis numbers, but you can also get a thrilling play by play of the latest Badgers (Wisconsin) or Ducks (Oregon) football games. And please pardon the sticky floors and counters (there is a complete scrub down about 4 times a day … feel free to help out). And be sure to be especially kind to the many ladybugs, or “coccinelle” in French. Clearly the lab is also a place to learn other languages. – Sam Poehlman, Lab & QC Technician.