HOME
WINES
WINERY
HISTORY
SALES
CLUB
NEWS
FAQs
FAMILY
FOOD
PASO
VISIT
WRITE
Fratelli Perata Winery
Winemaking
Using only our grapes is a key element to Fratelli Perata wines. We know how our grapes are cultivated. We seek the best start to the winemaking process: great fruit brought to the crusher early in the morning while cool from vines literally within a stone's throw. Pruning of Joe and Gino Perata harvestingthe vines is severe. One vine concentrating its energy on a few clusters of grapes produces better quality than a vine struggling to ripen many clusters. A harvest of two tons per acre is the goal. The vines are cane-pruned to distribute the fruit evenly along the trellis wire. Leaves are pulled so clusters have the best exposure to the sun. The Zinfandel is head-pruned for low tonnage and optimum sun exposure.

The vines are hand-harvested in small lots as each area of the vineyard reaches its peak of flavor and balance of sugar and acid. We don't just schedule a crew and harvest all at once. The harvest crew realizes that tonnage, grape clusters and berries are small. It takes a lot more work to harvest than a high tonnage vineyard.

From the one-half ton bin, the grapes are destemmed and placed in 1 1/2 ton open top fermenters for primary fermentation. The cap formed during this stage is punched down by hand four times per day for greatest skin contact. We extract color and flavor from the skin by this process.
Joe Perata filling barrels
After eight to up to fourteen days, the pressing begins. This is done in a stainless steel bladder press, with pressure only up to 1 1/2 bar. Higher pressures cause harsher, bitter wines and we don't/won't make a second label wine. The wine is pumped to oak barrels to finish fermentation. The pomace is spread in the vineyard, acting as a fertilizer, to complete Nature's cycle.

Over the course of years, both the vines and our winemaking techniques have matured. Gino Perata pressing grapesExperience has been a good teacher. Every vintage has its challenges and rewards. After twelve years of commercial crushes, we have blended tradition and science, refining our cellar methods to suit the demands of our exceptional terroir.

The selection of which wine to which barrel, American or French, old or new, is determined by the brothers, with Gino acting as head winemaker. Each variety has its strengths and subtleties; each demands its perfect match. New French and American oak of the highest quality are purchased every year. The wine with the most depth demands the fullest oak flavors and produces the most complex finished product.

The barrels are racked to pull the new wine off the sediment and into a clean barrel, to start again the gentle falling of the sediment to the bottom of the barrel, leaving clear wine above. No filtering nor fining is done. The aim is to preserve all the fruity aromas the grapes have given. When the wine is bottled, though visually clear, it will still throw some minimal sediment (we use punted bottles). This is a small price to pay for the depth of flavor in the wine glass.

Most wines are given two years in the barrel, a year of bottle age. For example, the 1988 Cabernet Sauvignon was our first of that variety. It shows good fruit, silky tannins and further aging potential. The key is deep, balanced fruit, being careful in the winery and bottling with Joe Perata with the stainless tanksthe best cork.

An average of 100 barrels of wine are produced each year, yielding about 2300 cases of finished wine. To make the best wine we can, we have chosen to retain complete control over the entire process. We only use our own grapes, our own bottling line, we even label each bottle by hand.

We have produced "Bambino Grande," Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva, Chardonnay, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Zinfandel. Each is a reflection of the history of the variety, the Paso Robles viticultural region, and the family's passion for winemaking. Each reflects our goal to present a wine of depth, nuance, and most of all, character, To share with your family and friends: Salute!