Ladd Cellars

My friend Eric started a small winery, Ladd Cellars, in 2005. He's focussing on Pinot Noir and will also have some Syrah. By small, I mean that his first year's production will be around 175-200 cases of the Pinot, with another 25 or so of the Syrah, if I'm counting correctly (or remembering correctly what he's told me). I helped with both crushing and pressing the Pinot, and took quite a few photos at the first crush and first press. The photos below are all from the press because I'd already had the crush photos developed and printed before realizing it would make sense to get him a set of photos on CD.

The physical winery is in Berkeley, at 805 Camelia St., off Gilman near REI. Ladd Cellars is the smallest of the wineries using the space; the others are Harrington Wines and Eno Wines. If you want to get on Eric's mailing list, you can get there from the Ladd home page, or click here for a direct link.

The barrel is a dead giveaway as to what the building is used for.

Close-up of the barrel.

Interior of the winery in one configuration; those big tanks CAN be moved around and sometimes are. The barrel were in place temporarily for the press. That white thing in front of the tanks is the pump.

The winemaker himself.

When a plastic fermentation bin is opened up, what you see is a lot of purple: the grapes and the baby wine. The funnel lets you strain out the wine; the hose runs to the pump. The wine that doesn't need to be pressed from the grapes is call free run.

A less colorful shot of a bin and the funnel.

The pump. A hose runs from the fermentation bin or the wine press to the pump; another hose runs from the pump to the barrel.

The press, with Alan and young Brian.

Press lid, open.

Interior of the press with some grapes added. Enough grapes will go in to fill the press all the way up. The bladder in the middle is filled up with water, pressing the grapes against the walls of the press to gently extract wine that doesn't flow freely from the grapes.

Ken, the pressmaster, battens down the hatches, tightening the press lid before pressing. (His day job? Architect, and he's darned good, too.)

Wine coming out of the press. This might be free run (before the hydraulic press starts) or it might be pressed wine.

Young Brian balances on the barrel rack.

Eric and Bryan looking very, very serious as the wine is pumped into a barrel.

Sometimes they do smile, though. Apparently the wine was satisfactory.

The press after it's done its job. The hollow in the middle is the space left when the water is released from the bladder. A straight-down overhead shot would be very cool, but I think even Eric, at 6' 6", would not be able to position and focus a camera for the photo. It might take Eric and a ladder.

The press comes apart in two pieces so that the pressed grapes can be removed comparatively easily. Here, the halves have been unlatched and one half of the press has been moved and emptied. You can see just how big that hydraulic bladder is, too.

The other half of the press being lifted away.

Well, yes, we did eat some cheese that day, but I have no idea how these utensils got into the remains of the grapes. (Maybe we didn't eat any cheese that day. Eric says the utensils were used for cleaning out the press.)

Winemaking results in a lot of compost, including grape stems (after destemming) and pomace (after pressing).

All photos on this page copyright Lisa Hirsch, 2005. If you're interested in using them anywhere else, you have to get my permission and Eric's. Email me and I will check with him.