Q&A: Lucas McIntire

Lucas McIntire was Iowa Decanted’s first featured winemaker in our inaugural issue in September.  Now that the season has changed and the chill has set in, we decided it would be fun to get in touch with Lucas again to see what exactly is going on at Kirkwood Winery during the colder months of the year.

Iowa Decanted: What are your primary duties in the winery during the winter months?

 Lucas McIntire: As for winter duties at the Winery, My primary focus right now is getting out to the stores and performing wine tastings to help move and promote our product.  It’s always great to talk and share with the public and educate them about our wines and what’s going on at Kirkwood. As for the 2013 vintage, the wines are ready to be “racked” or transferred off the sediments again.  Next I will be fining the white wines with bentonite to remove positively charged proteins that could cause hazes in the wine.  By the end of December we will  “cold stabilize” all the wines by exposing them to our winter temperatures.  The goal will be to achieve an internal wine temperature of 28’ Fahrenheit for a minimum of 72 hrs.  This process helps to precipitate out the tartaric acid or specifically the potassium bi-tartrate ions.   This helps to lower the total acidity of the wine and make sure these “crystals” will not form in the bottle when left in the back of your refrigerator.


ID: What about the vineyard?  What considerations do you need to take during the cold season?

 LM: As for the vineyard, we finally removed the bird netting as I was very busy in the winery after the harvest was done. The vineyard can now go to “sleep” until spring, or until I begin dormant pruning in March.


ID: What are your plans for the upcoming season?

 LM: As for the next season, I am planning out which varietals to plant.  We need more red wine, so I am looking to obtain more Petite Pearl. I also plan to add some extra Frontenac. Finally, I might try taking some cuttings from 2 vines in my row of Geneva red. There were two vines that had markedly different grape morphology that I believe “might” be NY71-or-NY73. That said, we will certainly get to “play” out in the vineyard this spring.


ID: Do you have a favorite drink for the season?

 LM: We just “disgorged” our 2012 Sparkling La Crescent in early November.  This is part of the process for making traditional method bubbly.  We invert the bottles and freeze the yeast in the neck of the bottle (about a 1’ plug of ice/wine), then bring the bottles to an up-right position (45-60’ angle) and remove the crown cap on the bottle.  The Ice plug shoots out at 60mphr! It’s exciting! We now have about 180 bottles of bubbly to sell for the Holiday season. So my drink of choice right now is Sparkling wine! I am addicted! So I’ll be drinking a lot of Korbel or Kirkwood bubbly when I can afford it.  Note: Always look for the wording “fermented in this bottle”.