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Villa San-Juliette plans expansion and upgrades 

Winery looks forward to producing wines in-house with techie upgrades

Villa San Juliette's celebrity owners were recently featured on the cover of the SLO Visitor's Guide.

Villa San Juliette’s celebrity owners Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe were recently featured on the cover of the SLO Visitor’s Guide.

Paso Robles producer Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery recently broke ground on a new state-of-the-art facility that will enable the brand to bring its production of award-winning estate wines in-house.

Kim Hatch, a project manager with Pults & Associates, worked closely with Villa San-Juliette Winemaker Matt Ortman to develop plans for the new facility. “We are adding on to Villa San-Juliette’s existing two buildings,” said Hatch. “The overall effect will look like a group of smaller buildings next to each other that will be similar to the existing architecture.”

When completed, the expanded winery building will comprise about 16,000 square feet, including a 4,000 square-foot covered crush pad, 2,400 square feet of administration offices, and a 1,400 square-foot mechanical yard.

The project will include a 3,200-square-foot fermentation pad for new tanks, a 2,300-square-foot crush pad, and 1,200 square feet of mechanical buildings, as well as a wastewater pond to handle Villa San-Juliette’s long-term production needs. “We’ll be able to add tanks easily for increased capacity by simply piping them into the existing mechanical systems. We won’t need to redesign our cooling or controls as we’ve already accounted for increased production,” continued Ortman.

The 2013 harvest will be the winery’s first vintage produced in-house. “This construction of our own state-of-the-art winery is another step towards realizing our dream for the property, and sharing all that it has to offer with visitors and consumers,” said television producer and VSJ proprietor Nigel Lythgoe.

Ortman has planned the installation of a host of features to put Villa San-Juliette on the cutting edge of modern winemaking:

  • Winemaker Matt OrtmanSmart Fog® humidification system: “Provides the barrel room with humidity without creating surface moisture through a very fine mist system,” said Ortman.
  • Pulsair tank mixing system: “This is built into the tanks to allow fully customized programs for mixing the cap during fermentation. For instance, it can be as gentle as a punch-down or more aggressive to be like an extended pump-over. And since it’s automated, it removes operator differences and will be done the same whether it’s nine in the morning or the middle of the night.”
  • Rapidfil wine barrel filling and emptying unit: “This is great because the barrel wand is integrated into the pump control, so we will reduce oxygen pickup during transfers, reduce lost wine, speed up the process and get rid of watching barrel fill heights with a flashlight, frantically turning off the valves before we over-fill a barrel.”
  • Concrete tanks: “We’ll be adding two concrete tanks for reds and two for whites. Concrete has been found to accentuate the mineral characteristics in fine wines. We plan to use these tanks for our Reserve Albarino, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc on whites, as well as Grenache, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Petite Verdot for the reds.”
  • TankNET® temperature control: “This gives us a centralized system for tracking tank and fermentation temperatures from our own web-based control panel. The system can text and e-mail us in the middle of the night if there’s a temperature alarm from a too-hot or too-cold fermentation. We can then check the temperature on our SmartPhones before heading out to the winery to check it out.”
  • VinX2 winery software system: “This will track our wines from vineyard to bottle, keeping tabs on all cellar operations, compliance reporting, and cost-tracking from one single system. It is also web-based and integrated with TankNet, so I’ll be able to see what’s going on at the winery from wherever I am,” said Ortman.


About Villa San-Juliette

Villa San-Juliette is the vision of iconic television producers of Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe who believe in bringing the best talent together to create remarkable experiences. At Villa San-Juliette, the experience is world-class wines in an extraordinary setting. The vineyard’s combination of soils, aspect, and elevation create exceptional Bordeaux and Rhône wines of richness, depth and character. The Villa, nestled on the 168-acre estate with 132 acres of bearing vineyards planted to 11 varietals, provides a gracious setting for enjoying a one-of-a-kind experience in Paso Robles wine country. For more information about Villa San-Juliette, please call 805.467.0014, or visit Villa San-Juliette is located at: 6385 Cross Canyons Road, San Miguel, CA 93451.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.