Assemblage: the science and art in winemaking

Assemblage, the French term for assembling, refers to the winemaker’s art of blending. Basically, assemblage describes the activity of judging the wines made from different lots (which can come from different varieties, the same variety from different parts of the vineyard, in different types of barrels, or grapes picked at different times and therefore showing different levels of sugar) and determining which lots are suitable for our final wines, which are best suited for blending together which, when blended appropriately, can compliment or reinforce each others’ strengths and overcome corresponding weaknesses.

An art as old as winemaking itself, assemblage in Bordeaux, the blending of  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec – is centuries old. Each component is thought to add a level of complexity to the wine.   There are no binding regulatory restrictions on creating proprietary blends, thus vintners have carte blanche in crafting these wines. Our winemaker can be as creative and expressive as he wishes to be, taking advantage of available fruit to craft a wine in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – creating a distinctive wine that incorporates the finest elements of its component parts without one varietal dominating. In short, wines such as these represent the highest form of the winemaker’s art – blending.

All wines are thus “blends” however they are more commonly referred to such when they contain grapes of different varietals. We produce three of these – our 7 Blanc (an aromatic white blend), our Reserve 7 (a Meritage), and a Merlot Cabernet (blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon)

We are offering several fun barrel blending sessions this year during each of the spring, summer and fall wine festivals on Chardonnay, Merlot and Meritage wines. Held on our crushpad in Naramata, they enable you to discover the distinct elements behind winemaking. How changing small components can dramatically affect the flavour and aroma profiles of the wine.  In these fun, hands on workshops, you’ll learn how blending can create more complex, interesting and flavourful wines. More details and RSVP information is available on our events page.

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