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practices & techniques

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Continuity and stability are bedrock values for Cakebread Cellars and our wines. Bruce Cakebread, formerly winemaker and now president of Cakebread Cellars, is the guardian of the commitment to quality his parents made at the dawn of Cakebread Cellars. This ethos is also evident in the long-term tenures of winemaker Julianne Laks, who has been with Cakebread Cellars 26 years, and cellarmaster Brian Lee, a 25-year veteran of the winery.

Julianne and Brian, along with Director of Viticulture, Toby Halkovich, have played key roles in enhancing wine quality at Cakebread Cellars through the adoption and implementation of innovative winegrowing strategies and technologies. Over the years, these have included night-harvesting to ensure the grapes arrive at the winery in pristine condition; whole-cluster pressing of white grapes to enhance juice and wine freshness and varietal intensity; and aging Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay in barrel on its spent yeast lees – a traditional French practice known as sur lie which produces a very rich, creamy style of Chardonnay. Julianne and Brian have become experts at matching the right barrels with particular lots of wine to ensure a seamless blend of oak and fruit character.

Additionally, choosing just the right equipment is also important. In recent years, Cakebread Cellars has acquired a new, state-of-the-art destemmer, berry sorter and juice chemistry analyzer, and is investigating new techniques for generating and conserving energy. (Cakebread Cellars is a green-certified winery, and its vineyards are green-certified and either farmed organically or sustainably.)

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"Our approach to maximizing quality is to grow the very best fruit possible, so that every grape cluster and berry we harvest from a particular vineyard is the finest expression of that site. Because our goal is to improve quality year to year, our wines undergo a slow evolution in style that ensures our longtime customers find them perennially delicious and intriguing." –Bruce Cakebread

In keeping with the central tenets of Cakebread Cellars, our vineyard programs are a dynamic mix of the traditional and the modern- always with an eye towards the future. Our vineyard managers utilize the newest technologies to enhance the efficacy of our organic and sustainable farming programs. This includes aerial imagery, irrigation management, and monitoring weather patterns in each of our many microclimates. Sophisticated weather stations measure up to 30 different environmental factors, from temperature, humidity and wind speed to soil moisture levels and vine stress. This web-based information is updated continuously and is instantaneously available to our vineyard personnel, so they can respond quickly to any potential problems. All the while preserving our environment for future generations.

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Green Practices

Cakebread Cellars is a "Napa Green Certified Winery" since 2008 and was only the second winery to ever receive the distinction. The Napa Green Winery program promotes reducing energy, total waste and water use and encourages recycling in all aspects of winery operations. In 2010 Cakebread Cellars’ team reduced total waste by 12% and recycled 81% of its total waste. The winery has been awarded several PGE grants to reduce energy use by installing energy efficient refrigeration pumps, controllers and lighting.

In the vineyards Cakebread Cellars is active in certifying all its vineyards in the Napa Green Land program, which promotes sustainable farming practices, restores fish and wildlife habitat and improves water quality in the local streams. As of 2011, 191 acres of a total 460 acres is Napa Green Land certified, and Cakebread Cellars plans to have all properties certified by 2014. In 2010, Cakebread Cellars’ Suscol Springs Vineyard was the first vineyard presented with a sustainability award by the Napa County Resource Conservation District and received recognition as a model hillside vineyard development.

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