' Hartford Family Winery - Hartford Family Winery - Vineyards - Winemaking



Winemaking to Show Vineyard Character


Jeff Stewart is a perfect fit with Hartford's philosophy of "high risk-high reward" winemaking.

At Hartford Family Winery, we embrace traditional winemaking techniques to produce luscious wines that express vineyard site or terroir.

Hand Picking and Sorting

Gentle handling and sorting of both clusters and berries preserve fruit quality.

Cold Soaking

Before fermentation is allowed to begin, whole berries and juice are placed in chilled tanks for nearly five days. This process extracts additional flavors (polyphenols) and more supple tannins that can not be obtained during the warmer fermentation process.

Destemmed, Not Crushed

Pinot Noir and Zinfandel are partially de-stemmed, but not crushed. Approximately seventy-five percent whole berries are delivered to stainless steel open-top fermenters where they are given a pre-fermentation cold soak and stirred daily for about 5 days to extract optimum color and mouth-feel. Small lots of Pinot Noir are occasionally whole cluster fermented.

Open Top Fermentation

For maximum color and flavor extraction, shallow, wide fermentors are used to facilitate the mixing (punching down) of the skins. During fermentation red grapes are punched down in small open-top fermentors and pressed-off after taste evaluation, usually at, or close to, dryness.

Native Yeasts For Primary & Secondary Fermentation

After the Pinot Noir and Zinfandel cold soak, the cooling jackets are turned off and the grape juice is allowed to warm and begin fermentation utilizing primarily native yeasts for both primary and secondary malolactic fermentation.

French Oak

Only tight grain French oak barrels are used to age all of the wines. Wines are aged from 11 to 15 months. New French oak percentages generally range from 30% up to 100%.

Minimal Handling

After going to barrel, wines are usually racked only once before bottling.


Chardonnay is hand sorted, whole cluster pressed and undergoes 100% barrel and malolactic fermentation. Batonage, or stirring of lees (spent yeast cells), is performed, as warranted, to build texture in the Chardonnay. Most often wines undergo native yeast fermentation.

Unfined and Unfiltered

Most wines are not fined or filtered in order to preserve the mouth-filling flavors and textures in our wine.