Making the heads cut/brandy run

Taking heads means separating the first portion of a distillation run to exclude toxic forms of alcohol. Doing it by hand is old-fashioned but it means you can always get it just right.


Grading new oak barrels

Crispin Cain talking about how he grades new oak barrels when they are delivered

Tasting Petite Champagne

I’m with Richard Braastad, in one of the old cellars across the river.

Starting a distillation run

At the beginning of a run, when you turn up the heat under the still, there’s a one-hour lag until the wine in the still gets hot enough. You don’t want to miss this moment because you have to reduce the heat right away. Here’s our old-time method of making sure we’re ready.

How a double-distillation pot still works: basics

Today I’m posting a video of me explaining the basics of how our antique cognac still works. Later on we’ll add videos explaining the details of the still and of how we operate it. The video was shot at the original Germain-Robin distillery up in the hills west of Ukiah, in Mendocino County, the one we built in 1982.