The primary method of winemaking at Shaw is “gentle extraction.”
What does this mean? It starts in the vineyard. Small, tight clusters, are encouraged by dropping fruit in the summer, resulting in low yields. Grapes are carefully hand-picked, and never before they are ready. In the hardest vintages this could mean extra weeks on the vine; November picking dates are not unheard of.
These hand-picked grapes head to the destemmer, but unlike other wineries the machine at Shaw does not have a crusher. All grapes are gently separated, whole berry, from their stems. Shaw adopted this no-crush method in 2005 and it has been extremely successful.
Reds are fermented whole berry — always, with no exceptions. Long cold soaks are employed, sometimes for nearly a week prior to primary fermentation. Lengthy skin contact (maceration) is essential for full flavor enhancement.
All grapes, red or white, are put through a very gentle low pressure press cycle, fed into the press by a conveyor, not by must pump through a hose. This “champagne style” press program takes double the time of a typical press cycle.
Reds at Shaw are held for years–typically 5 or more– in the cellar, predominantly in neutral French oak, allowing for natural aging and tannin softening in the style of European producers. Reds are not fined and are bottled without filtering.
Whites spend extended time on the fine lees, and like their red counterparts are often held for a relatively long period although this varies by varietal and style.
All Shaw wines are produced with what most wineries consider a “reserve” focus. Every single varietal, every single vintage, every single bottle at Shaw is crafted with hands-on approach that creates quality and consistency year after year.