Zero Manipulation Philosophy

Making great wines is all about balance.

It starts in the vineyards, where we try to achieve a balance from bud break in the spring until the grapes are picked in the fall. Balancing the canopy, the crop load, the sun exposure, the hang time, and the few hundred other details involved in managing a vineyard are what need to be considered to achieve balance.

Once the grapes are picked, it is then the winemaker’s responsibility to continue the balancing act in the cellar. All the variables that Mother Nature gave us during the growing season need to be considered because they affect the grapes and the approach to winemaking for that vintage. If you keep a good handle on the growing conditions of the season, you have fewer preconceived notions of what the wine should taste like because you’ve already been dealing with all the realities of that vintage.

With the winemaking underway, now the balancing act involves questions like how much oak to achieve the proper intensity in the wine,what type of oak best enhances the flavors in this wine, how often should this wine be racked, or does this wine need blending?

At Peterson Winery we practice the philosophy of Zero Manipulation.

Our definition of Zero Manipulation is using the gentlest winemaking techniques possible to maximize flavors, aromatics and the original essence of the wine. The less you do in the course of a wine’s tenure in the cellar, the more of the grape’s and vineyard’s essence you’ll have to bottle. Every time you do something to a wine, you take out a little of what you started with.

Great wine has to be about place. Place in wine is only achieved if the bottledwine reflects where the grapes were grown. There is a huge difference between a great wine that carries a sense of place, and a wine made for “mass-market appeal” with the overuse of new oak or the presence of residual sugar. When you taste our Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel or Bradford Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and you have a sense of where that wine originated, then the essence of place has been captured. My goal is that every vintage we capture that sense of place in every wine we produce.