January 13, 2010 | by Lisa Mattson

One of the vital steps to crafting a great Chardonnay involves lees, residual yeast cells that remain in contact with the wine during fermentation and aging. The lees help give Chardonnay its round mouthfeel and mild tannins.

When fermentation and aging are complete, we rack our Chardonnay from the lees, leaving the yeast cells as a by-product. Racking wine helps clarify it, removing dead yeast cell sediment and aiding stabilization. In keeping with Jordan’s philosophy of reducing, reusing and recycling whenever possible, we give our lees to a distiller who specializes in extracting the alcohol left in lees for other commercial uses.

Racking wine typically takes place in our cellars mid-December through early January. Batonnage, or stirring of the lees, occurs before racking the wine. Watch batonnage in action.