Abacela's philosophy is simple: Winemaking begins in the vineyard and the highest quality of a traditional style varietal wine is limited by the quality of the fruit when it leaves the vine. The vintner's task is to study grapes and wine to achieve the potential instilled by Mother Nature. Abacela's foremost goal is to preserve the fruit's character and quality all the way into the bottle.
The Principiles that guide winemaking at Abacela
Earl and Andrew enjoying a moment together on the crush pad tasting wine
Our winemaking team consists of the vineyard manager, winemaker and his assistant, plus inputs from the owner and general manager.
Earl was the founding winemaker from 1996 until 2008. Since then Andrew Wenzl has been the winemaker. This family owned winery has a dedicated staff that includes Jason Farmer, the current assistant winemaker, as well as Darin Cook, Fault Line Vineyards foreman since 2003 and his staff who manage the vineyard.
In 2001 Abacela established an intern program and most interns have been students working on bachelor or master’s degrees in American and European universities. They gain practical experience as an intern in viticulture and winemaking (a five-month tenure) or in winemaking only (2.5-month tenure) at Abacela. These internship programs have more than forty alumni. Each internship is described in the website under “internships”.
Abacela processes all its fruit in small one-ton batches using a Gravity Flow system to move grapes from the vine to the tank. Abacela does not own a must pump and thus avoids crushing the grapes into a liquid slurry and pumping. The gravity flow method uses the ever-present force of gravity to gently move the delicate grapes from picking bin to destemmer; to fermenter, then from fermenter to the press without crushing or manipulating the fruit to permit.
The yeast then ferments and digest the grapes slowly liquefying the must. Abacela is a typical gravity flow winery with three floor elevations so grape processing literally moves from top to bottom.
The Advantages of Gravity Flow are;