A Peek into Operations at EnRoute Winery

by on June 30, 2014

Gordon Smith, Andrew Delos, and Juan “JP” Perez, flanked by Pinot Noir barrels on the left and Chardonnay barrels on the right.

Introducing our EnRoute winemaking team! Our Russian River Valley facility is currently being manned by these three gentlemen and, occasionally, a black Labrador named Jack. Right now, the 2013 vintage is resting comfortably in tank and barrel, and 2014 is still inching towards veraison. We took advantage of this moment of respite to catch up with the EnRoute trio on their roles and duties at EnRoute:

Andrew Delos, Winemaker
What he does
: As winemaker, I focus on vineyard to bottle processing – sourcing and scouting vineyards, sourcing fruit and signing contracts, getting the fruit into tank and making decisions on fermentations and blending.

Best part of the job?: Harvest, hands down. I love being in the cellar doing punch downs, sorting fruit, and filling barrels. We wait nine months for those three months of the year. It’s how the wines are made – our one chance!

Gordon Smith, Enologist
What he does:
I get to run a small, but formidable, laboratory here. My responsibilities include quality control, ensuring our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are healthy and stable, and monitoring the brix (the sugar content in wine) and temperatures of fermentations. I also get to assist in the cellar with crush and wine movements, all the way through bottling.

Best part of the job?: Since we are a small operation, I get to offer a hand in everything – even budgeting! – and I don’t feel pegged to one role.

Juan “JP” Perez, Cellar Supervisor
What he does:
I take care of cellar operations. Right now, my responsibilities include things like checking the tanks in the morning, sanitizing equipment, and topping off barrels.

Best part of the job?: I really enjoy the atmosphere, especially the challenge and excitement of deadlines during harvest and bottling. I’m also happy to transition from our sister winery, Far Niente – I’m a lot closer to my home in Santa Rosa and with the recent birth of my youngest, this really couldn’t have come at a better time.

There you have it folks – our small but mighty EnRoute team! You won’t be seeing these guys traversing any tasting rooms just yet; currently, EnRoute is not able to offer tours and tastings. If you’re interested in getting a hold of our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, please email us at contact@enroutewinery.com or message us on Facebook.


Tasting Notes: EnRoute Chardonnay, Les Brumeux

by on April 22, 2014

We recently introduced the newest member of the EnRoute family: EnRoute Chardonnay, Les Brumeux. We pride ourselves in our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, but we have to admit that the area also makes a fantastic Chardonnay.

Sensory Evaluation: The 2012 EnRoute Chardonnay, Les Brumeux opens with crisp and flinty aromas of peach, orange blossom, citrus and subtle notes of pineapple. These fruit-dominated aromas slowly give way to floral and mineral notes with citrus zest. Upon entry, beautiful creaminess and stone fruits evolve into warm, toasty oak with an oily texture that coats the entire palate. The wonderfully bright and lively acidity keeps the mouthfeel balanced and leads to a mouthwatering and refreshing finish.


The complete winemaker’s notes can be found here. If you’re interested in acquiring this limited vintage, please contact us at (707) 944-2412.

We also noticed the 2012 EnRoute Chardonnay has been making its rounds on Instagram and Twitter – if you get a chance to taste Les Brumeux, snap a photo and tweet us with your thoughts at @EnRouteWine!


In the Vineyard: 2014 EnRoute Budbreak

by on March 21, 2014

It’s that time of the year again! Budbreak at our Amber Ridge Vineyard signals the start of a new growing season for EnRoute. The buds left during pruning are starting to emerge with new shoots:

2014 Amber Ridge Budbreak 02

2014 Amber Ridge Budbreak 01

Look forward to more updates from the vineyard in the coming months. For now, enjoy this first peek of our 2014 vintage.


VIDEO: Crispy Skin Duck Breast and EnRoute Pinot Noir

by on March 4, 2014

2012 EnRoute Pinot Noir, Les Pommiers, captures classic Russian River Valley attributes with plenty of dark fruits, tobacco and mineral notes. Executive Chef Trevor Eliason and Winemaker Andrew Delos discuss the wine in this video, and Chef Trevor shares a mouthwatering recipe that will pair perfectly.

Check out the full recipe here, and to acquire your own 2012 EnRoute Pinot Noir, visit our brand new wine shop.


Jack the EnRoute Winery Dog

by on January 20, 2014

Despite the distinct absence of a Polar Vortex here at EnRoute, it is most definitely winter. The harvest is a fast receding memory, the 2013 wines are put to bed, and the only sounds in the cellar are coming from Jack, the winery dog. Well, mostly.

Unlike our Cabernet-steeped siblings at Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel, we here in Pinot Land don’t spend the entire winter racking wine back and forth, blending and barreling down again. On the contrary, to maintain EnRoute’s signature aromatics and complexity, we leave the wines in barrel until bottling, the summer following vintage, disturbing them only for topping. This means we spend our non-topping hours cleaning, organizing, running lab analysis, planning (already!) for the 2014 vintage—and, of course, playing with the dog.

Jack the Winery Dog

It could be said that Jack—Winemaker Andrew Delos’ 82-pound black lab—is EnRoute’s most active team member at the moment. With the human contingent either sitting at desks or leisurely performing cellar work, Jack darts down barrel rows and bounds across tank pads, often in search of his favorite toys in the world: retired barrel bungs. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t repeatedly chase a thrown or kicked bung, bouncing erratically like an on-side kick. In fact, he is so demanding of us in this regard that we have developed sore arms and legs. So much for all that harvest stamina!

Chasing bungs is hard work, though, so Jack can only take so much in a day. When not careening around the cellar, he enjoys being the center of attention in the winery office. This involves begging for food in the break room, rifling through trashcans, and—his favorite office job—sleeping on the couch.

Jack's favorite spot

So it goes at EnRoute this winter. When spring arrives (which looks to be in short order this year!), we will begin our evaluation of the 2013 wines, head into the vineyards to assess the nascent 2014 crop, and continue to play bung fetch with a certain winery dog. Stay tuned for news of the 2013 vintage, as well as the growing EnRoute team!

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