Howdy Doody.

Yes, it’s that time again. Grapes are starting to roll in from the Texas High Plains, and as I mentioned a few weeks ago, 2018 is shaping up to be a banner year. We’ve already received some lovely Viognier and Chenin Blanc, and yesterday, saw the arrival of some great looking Pinot Noir from Lahey Vineyards that is destined for our exciting new Heath Sparkling portfolio.

Here’s a pretty cool pic I snapped five years ago looking down into the tank of our 2013 Estate Epiphany while we were doing what’s called “pump over”.

When we make red wine, the grape juice ferments in contact with the skins in order to extract a lot of things from the skins into the juice. In wine lingo, extraction is called “maceration”. (This is where all the bachelorettes giggle.) What we most want to extract, however, is color and tannin. Alas, there’s a glitch.

The skins are very light in weight. They float to the top of the liquid and form what’s called a “skin cap”. This can be as thick as two feet. Common sense tells us, if we walk away and do nothing, we’ll extract great color and tannin at the top – without much happening in the rest of the tank.

For centuries, this was corrected by what’s called “punch down”, where the cap is pushed down into the juice by paddles so that it would float back up for extraction. This is still done (often with Pinot Noir due to their very thin skins), but it’s repetitive and laborious.

It’s easier now. We can attach a pump that takes the juice from the bottom of the tank, up over the skin cap, where a sprinkler sprays the wine over the cap. This is what we see happening in our pic.

If you are fortunate enough to be in our Estate Wine Club, you received a bottle of this lovely wine along with the ’12 and ’14 vintages, PLUS a bottle of our delightful 2014 sparkling Euphoria. If you’re not in the Estate Club, there’s still time, with a few of the 2018 allocations still available. For details on how to get your hands on these, check out our website at

A few weeks ago, Brian pulled the cork on the 2013 for a few lucky staffers after work, and it was drinking great. Here are my most recent tasting notes:

2013 Epiphany
A vibrant ruby/violet hue with moderate intensity, the wine shows complex, extroverted aromas of sour cherry, black licorice, espresso, and cassis. Floral notes of lavender and violet contribute to a brightly integrated mouthfeel. A seamless tapestry of fruit, oak, acid, and tannin deliver a long, lingering finish.
66% Montepulciano, 34% Aglianico
12.7% ABV
Serving Temperature 65*
Drink 2018-2020 (recommend decant 1 hour)