After the 2016 harvest, Jim Schultze, owner of Windy Oaks Estate in Corralitos, has been anxious to see the impact, if any, that Thermaculture would have on the flavor of the wine.

At the beginning of February, 2017, he and his winemaking team met with Philip Goodband, Master of Wine, and Marty Fischer, Agrothermal CEO, to conduct a blind tasting of 5 different Pinot Noir blocks and one Chardonnay block vs. control.

The Thermaculture trials were conducted on 1 acre blocks with heat-treated and controls using identical root stock and clonal selections for each pair of wines. At harvest, the fruit was put in separate bins, given the same treatment with partial or whole cluster fermentation using the same yeast.

“The differences were clear. At this stage the wines are very early in their life, but you can already see the direction they are headed. It was 100% consistent, we all agreed that the heat-treated wines were more fruit-forward, with a richer mouthfeel and a nice finish. I was surprised at the consistency across the people tasting and in the wine from our different blocks. To be consistent across all the different blocks, it’s not a coincidence, I’m convinced that the heat-treatment has a specific impact on flavor,” Jim concluded.

Philip added “To taste pairs of test and control wines carefully vinified using more than one winemaking technique, and to note the enhanced characteristics across all heat-treated wines further reinforced my view that Thermaculture definitely aids terroir expression.”

Recording an average 21% increase in yields, and enhanced wine characteristics from this crop, Jim is convinced that Thermaculture really works. He plans to use heat-treatments throughout his 16-acre vineyard in the 2017 growing season.

You can learn about the full Windy Oaks case history here.