and Maggie Skewis founded Skewis Wines with the intention of
producing high quality, vineyard designated Pinot Noirs from The
North Coast region of California. The first grapes were purchased
in 1994 from the Floodgate Vineyard in Mendocino County's Anderson
Valley. In subsequent years we have contracted for fruit from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations. Our annual
production has increased slowly to the current level of 900 cases.
We believe that the finest Pinot Noir can only
be made from low yielding vines located in premium growing regions.
We work with growers who share this belief and rigorously limit
yields by means of winter pruning, spring shoot thinning, and summer
cluster thinning prior to "veraison." As a result, the
average crops in the vineyards we contract with are between two
and two and one-half tons per acre.
Harvest dates are determined by a mixture of sugar
and acid analysis, tasting and observation of the vines and fruit.
Typical numbers might be 24-25 degrees Brix and pH in the range
of 3.3-3.5. Once harvested, the grapes are gently crushed into small
bins, fermented quite warm (up to 90-95°F) for maximum extraction
of color, phenolics and complexity of fruit, then pressed into French
Oak barrels where the new wine completes primary and secondary (malolactic)
fermentations. An 18 month aging period follows, during which the
wines are rarely handled and clarify naturally, eliminating the
need for fining or filtration prior to bottling. They are bottled
and aged an additional 6 months before release in October of each
We feel strongly that our "hands-off"
approach allows the wines to develop and exhibit all the wonderful
complexities for which this delicate variety is famous. Limited
production and regular evaluation in the vineyard and the cellar
help us to create Pinot Noirs which we feel compare favorably with
the best that the new and old worlds have to offer.