“It wouldn’t have been my first choice to start a small winemaking business and release the wines in the middle of a pandemic….[but] We will move through these difficult times, like we have through history and continue to evolve through our creativity and perseverance. In that way, LOTIS will persist and adapt to the times and continue the winemaking adventures!”Lindsey Otis, Winemaker and Owner
What: 2019 LOTIS Vermentino, Las Brisas Vineyard
Where: Carneros, Sonoma County
Who: Lindsey Otis is a native Californian and graduate of UC Davis whose resume includes stints at Williams Selyem and Big Basin Vineyard.
Why: You need a bright, lively splash of something special in your glass. With this stunning Vermentino, you’ll be among the first to discover the newly launched LOTIS Wines.
Lindsey on varietal expression:
“What I have always loved about Vermentino is that there are so many interpretations as to how to best represent the varietal. Some winemakers whole-cluster press and bottle early resulting in wonderfully aromatic and bright wines. Others ferment on skins and barrel age longer producing savory and structured wines. I have an appreciation for both styles and aimed somewhere in between those methods to capture both the aromatics and structure.
The 2019 Las Brisas Vermentino was split into two bins for pre-ferment skin contact. One bin was left whole cluster and gently foot tread to break the skins and allow the skins to have contact with the juice. The other bin was destemmed and lightly crushed (saving the stems). The pre-ferment skin contact brings an element of structure and savory characters. Both were left to soak for three hours before pressing all together with the stems added back to create juice channels in the press (Vermentino is a notorious difficult pressing varietal).
The juice underwent a 72 hour ‘cold soak’, or stabulation, a method traditionally practiced in the south of France and Corsica. In this process, the juice is held cold with the juice solids without racking for an amount of time and stirred once per day with dry ice. This practice brings a textural component to the juice/wine.
After stabulation, the juice was racked off solids to neutral barrels, kept cool, and left to ferment natively. It underwent a secondary fermentation and was bottled after nine months of aging unfined and unfiltered with less than 50ppm SO2 added.”
On launching a wine brand in unlikely times:
“My original plan at the time of release was to host multiple tastings and parties to introduce these wines into the world. I also planned to have a good portion of the wines on-premise. With these options now [mostly] off the table, I have to be creative and think outside the box to get these wines out there.
I’ve been organizing Zoom tastings, where the wines are shipped ahead of time, and during the tasting the consumer tastes their wines while I talk about the vineyards, winemaking and wines. This is actually pretty amazing, as I can have long distanced tastings with the tasters hundreds of miles apart!
Another avenue I am exploring is combining my wines with other local small business owners to co-promote our businesses. For instance, teaming up with a local yoga teacher, who is hosting outdoor and distanced yoga classes, and holding a small outdoor tasting after class, and each participant goes home with a bottle of LOTIS Wine. The launch was just at the beginning of August, so I’m sure there will be more creative thoughts and ideas in the future for getting these wines into the hands of new fans.
Despite the uncertain and weird times, harvest must go on. I recently visited a historic, 80-year-old, dry farmed Grenache vineyard in Alexander Valley that I will have the honor of fermenting this coming vintage, and I will continue to work the Las Brisas Vermentino, as well.