Sorting Grapes with Rob Lawson and Tuck Beckstoffer

First stop on our second day in Napa brought us to see Robert Lawson of Pavi Wines at the Napa Wine Company.  Rob gave us each a glass of his Pavi Napa Valley Pinot Grigio and brought us out to the winery.  He and his crew were busy since before sunrise harvesting, and now it was time for hand sorting.  Tuck Beckstoffer showed up to help us sort and we found out he and Rob grew up together in the valley.  My wife and I dug into the conveyor belt of organic Pinot Gris grapes and began to remove unhealthy grapes, stems, and leaves. 

This is not common practice at all vineyards but in Napa Valley, over 90% of grapes are hand-sorted.  It was alot of fun for us but a full day of harvesting, sorting, and crushing in 100 degree weather would be draining for anyone.  After the Pinot Gris was sorted, it was on to the fermentation tanks. 

The wine had been fermenting in large stainless steel tanks for about five days, converting the ripe sugars and yeast to alcohol.  Rob opened the tank into a pitcher and poured us each a glass.  The juice had a cloudy dull pink hue and was very fruity with sweet apricot and peach flavors.  The cloudiness of the wine would eventually settle and leave a clear dry white wine.

We then went to Bonded Winery Number 9, where Ghost Block and other great wines are tasted.  We tried two more Pavi wines, their Napa Dolcetto and Italian Pinot Grigio.  Rob and his wife, Pavi, started making the wines in 1998 from Italian varietals and eventually Italian vineyards to reflect her heritage.  If you want an authentic Napa experience, check out the Napa Wine Company and maybe you will have Rob making a wine for you!