While it’s true that Mother Nature is the real winemaker, and that great wines come only from great vineyards, managing the variables of winemaking is also critical.
Take barrel aging. Early on, the Prides decided that all their wine should be aged on the estate, and that a cave was the natural, and ideal, environment for aging wine.
Dug between 1999 and 2001, the slate-gray caves meander around the huge boulders that are set in the clay-filled hill behind the winery. The 23,000 square feet of caves lie between 20 and 50 feet beneath the surface, and are home to some 2,400 barrels.
The average temperature in the caves is 59 degrees, which represents the average seasonal temperature at the ranch, and fluctuates by no more than a degree throughout the year. This is a perfect temperature for aging our big red wines, and we recommend this temperature for the cellaring of our bottled wine as well. Natural evaporation and condensation processes self-regulate both the humidty and temperature in the caves.