|The grapes are hand harvested, destemmed and immediately crushed, and each vineyard lot is fermented separately with selected yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks over a period of six to seven days. Each lot of grapes is frequently tasted during fermentation to determine when the extraction is at optimum. At that point, the wine is pressed off the skins in membrane wine presses, keeping the press wine separate from the free-run wine. In this way, Cakebread Cellars' red wines, especially the Cabernets, have their natural fruitiness preserved, while the extraction of harsh, drying tannins is avoided. It is then pressed and returned to stainless steel for complete malolactic fermentation. Following this, the wine is racked into French oak barrels, of which roughly half are new and half of one and two years' use for approximately six months.
Throughout the initial aging process, the various individual lots are continually taste-analyzed to determine the final blend. Depending on the vintage, the finished blend will include up to twenty five percent combined Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with Merlot contributing the greater percentage. Once the final blend is assembled, it is returned to the same French oak barrels to age for an additional 12 to 18 months before being bottled. The only treatments preceding bottling are an egg-white fining and a single passage through a rough filter.