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Harvest is such an exciting time in Napa Valley’s wine country. 


Last Saturday I was invited to spend the morning with winemaker and co-owner of Goosecross Cellars, Geoff Gorsuch, and his team as they pressed Viognier grapes and started the process of making their 2011 Viognier wine.


When I arrived, there were a number of bins of Viognier grapes there already.  They had been picked earlier that day in the Oak Knoll vineyards.  The grapes were a gorgeous shade of green with hints of russet.  Their skins were slightly tough and the grapes were sweet to the taste. 


After the harvesting of the grapes, the next step in the process was to remove the stems.  This process is called de-stemming.  This was done by transferring the bins of grapes via forklift to the de-stemming machine. 




The clusters of grapes were dropped into the de-stemming machine. 




The grapes were rotated through the machine as the stems were removed. 


The stems were spit out of the bottom of the machine, and the grapes were transferred over to a bladder press (the next step in the process).


Once inside the bladder press, the grapes were gently pressed to extract their juices.


Since the skins on the Viognier grapes were a little tough, this process took longer than it would with red grapes, for example, that have thinner skins.  The juice was transferred into a large tank and the skins and seeds were turned out into a bin to be discarded. 



Once inside the tank, the juice will rest for a couple of days in order for the sediment to settle to the bottom.  


The next step in the process is racking - moving the juice off the sediment into a fermentation tank.  Once inside the fermentation tank, the juice will enjoy a slow, cool fermentation. 


I so enjoy a number of the Goosecross wines, but their Viognier is one of my favorites.  It is known for its floral aromas.  I discovered Goosecross’ Viognier a few years back and have been a huge fan ever since.  I love its notes of honeysuckle and pears, and its hints of peaches, pineapple and grapefruit.  It is meant to be consumed at a fairly young age. 

pear salad

We are drinking Goosecross’ 2009 Viognier right now.  It is a great match for my Salad of Fresh Greens, Pears, Candied Pistachio Nuts and Honey Vinaigrette Dressing.  I also enjoy it with my Roasted Chestnut and Date-Stuffed Pork Loin . 


Colleen Topper, one of the owners of Goosecross Cellars, has developed some great recipes that pair well with the Goosecross Wines.  There are several for pairing with their Viognier.  Take a look at Colleen’s Kitchen for some excellent suggestions. 


Goosecross Cellars is a must-visit when you come to Napa Valley.  Their wines are extraordinary and they only sell directly to their customers.  You will love the tasting room experience and the warmth, friendliness and knowledge of everyone at Goosecross. 



Find out more about their story and about their amazing selection of wines at

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