I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about someone who is very vital to the winemaking process, but doesn’t get as much recognition as others because he is a behind the scenes kind of man. Today I introduce to youTalley Vineyards Cellar Assistant, Connor Bonetti.
He came to us with a wide array of winemaking experience, starting with his 2007 graduation from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with degrees in Agribuisness, Marketing and Wine and Viticulture. Connor then went on to work at various wineries domestically and internationally including Laetitia (Arroyo Grande, CA), Paraiso (Soledad, CA), Saint Clair (Blenheim, NZ), Ravenswood (Sonoma, CA), Kosta Brown (Sebastopol, CA), D’Arenberg (McLaren, AU), Brands Ciara (Coonawarra, AU), Sojourn (Sonoma, CA), and Bien Nacido (Santa Maria, CA). He has been with us at Talley for over two years now.
Now that Connor has been at Talley Vineyards for over two years, it is time you get to know him like we do.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Corral de Tierra in Monterey County
Q: Why did you get in the wine industry?
A: My Dad was an avid wine drinker and my Grandfather made his own wine, so it has always been around me from an early age. I also fell in love with the farming side of winemaking.
Q: What makes you passionate about you role at Talley Vineyards as a Cellar Assistant?
A: I love making great wine, especially Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. My role is very diverse and always changing. I also love the creative aspect of winemaking.
Q: Describe a Typical day at Work:
A: It really depends on the time of year. Harvest is very different than the rest of the year. During harvest, I am processing grapes, barreling down wines, cleaning, pressing whites and punching down fermenters.
The rest of the year we are participating in group tastings, making blends, topping barrels, and adjusting sulfur levels. That is just to name a few tasks. Today I am stacking pallets on the bottling line. Like I said my job is very diverse.
Q: What are two truths and one lie about you?
A: I traveled in a van for two months in New Zealand and lived in severel surf commune/hostels. I drove a donkey cart taxi in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia. I won trivia night at a bar in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. (Note: Think you know which of these is a lie? Add your guess and email address in the comment section. The first reader to guess correctly will win a complimentary copy of Brian Talley's cookbook, Our California Table.)
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
A: I am really into History and Anthropology.
Q: What is something you feel is unique or interesting about a place you traveled?
A: I really loved Manchu Picchu. I love places that have historical significance. Ancient Cultures fascinate me.
Q: If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three things would pick to have with you?
A: My 6’2’’ surfboard, my 9’ surfboard, and a fishing pole
The 2017 Harvest at Talley Vineyards has begun! It was a little later start than last year, but we are very excited to see what this year will bring! With the help of 3 new interns this year, it will be another successful harvest.
Here's to early mornings, night harvesting and a lot of fun!
The crew processing Pinot Noir.
Aubrey and Mark sorting through the Pinot Noir grapes.
Our Vineyard crew picking in the early morning.
Pinot Noir in the Stone Corral vineyard.
My name is Nicole Morris and I am the cellar assistant here at Talley Vineyards. As you may have heard, 2013 was a plentiful and intense harvest. Harvest 2013 was my seventh in the wine industry. As much fun as it was, I am glad it is over.
Now that we have time to sit back and reflect on the long hours and craziness we have just endured, there are still many winery tasks that need to be accomplished. Currently we have over twenty fermenters that are in the late stages of fermentation. They are mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, and Syrah. Towards the end of harvest, the cooler temperatures in the cellar contribute to a slower fermentation time. Most of these reds varietals, which are from the Paso Robles area, will be finished fermenting and pressed off by next week.
Another task we are working on is the consolidation of the chardonnay barrels. Chardonnay that is fermented in barrels is initially filled only three-fourths full. The head space is left for the fizzle and foam of fermentation. So a 60 gallon barrel is only filled with chardonnay to 45 gallons. A barrel filled to the top would overflow leaving the liquid gold, as we call the foam, all over the barrel room floor. Still, some barrels do end up overflowing during fermentation. Once the fermentation is complete the barrels are consolidated, filled and topped off. They will now go through secondary fermentation and age in the cellar.
Eventually, all barrels in the barrel room will be topped off and stored. From here on out, barrel topping will happen about once a month because about a half a gallon of wine evaporates from a barrel each month. This head space from evaporation puts wine in a more vulnerable state for spoilage organisms to take over. Topping the barrels prevents this from happening.
The intensity of harvest is coming to an end and we are being rewarded by the beautiful autumn colors in the vineyard. Even though we are we are still keeping busy with these “end of harvest” activities, one cannot help but feel accomplished and surprised that yet another harvest has passed. We here at Talley Vineyards are very excited to see the results of the 2013 harvest, and even more excited about having a whole weekend off.