Making wine is easier when you work together, and working together is more fun with Las Jaras. Martha and Joel answer six questions about this vintage, staying inspired and hot tub pizza.
What first drew you to winemaking?
Joel Burt: I come from an agricultural family and the family business was table grapes. As I grew up I became interested in food and wanted to be a chef, but it seemed to be a brutal career choice. I decided to marry the two pursuits and study winemaking.
Martha Stoumen: Fermentation is incredibly intriguing. My first experience with winemaking on a small Italian farm introduced me to the sensory experience of winemaking. Meeting a warm foaming vat of delicious smelling magic was pretty much it for me.
What has been creatively inspiring to you this year?
JB: What has been very inspiring to me creatively this year is that Las Jaras has gained its own personality beyond Eric and I. This allows us to think about the future in a more macro sense. It is like we have given birth to a baby.
MS: My neighbor Sorrel is an amazing gardener who is constantly moving, working and dreaming. Her gardens are organic, curvy and wild and I find the way she includes her two kids in her process very inspiring.
How important is collaboration in your work as a winemaker?
JB: I really like collaborations and that is what Las Jaras is about, first and foremost. I tend to get down in the weeds and focus on the smallest details. Collaborating with someone is a great way for me to take a step back to broaden the vision and then I can hone in to execute the fine details.
MS: Collaboration is essential. You’ve got big vats, heavy machinery, and lots of moving pieces. It’s all so physical, you need many hands on board. Working alone is a good way to completely burn yourself out.
Aromas of holiday baking spice, thyme and tarragon mingle with a whisper of tannin for a balanced fizz.
What’s different about this year’s collab?
JB: We learned a lot about making this wine from the first vintage. It ferments very quickly, so it requires a tight planning schedule to get everything lined up. We also made a bit more volume, so we bottled the wine on a bottling line. The end result is a wine that is fresher and has lots more bubbles.
MS: 2018 was fun but we definitely did everything the long way. This year we tried to get our systems a little more dialed. Certainly winemaking is about concepts and taste, but it’s so much about logistics too.
Your definition of a Collaboration moment?
JB: Eating pizza in a hot tub in the snow is a Collaboration moment.
MS: Schmoozing with another winemaker as you pass each other in your rented flatbed on the way to drop bins during harvest. To be specific.
What’s your favorite song to dance to these days?
JB: My kids are big fans of Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, so we dance to that a lot.
MS: It Makes You Forget by Peggy Gou