The Cellar

At Röbller, wine is a form of artistic expression. It’s a creative opportunity to really get it right when the opportunity presents itself.

Photo by  MK Designs  Photography Fine Art and Portrait.

Photo by MK Designs Photography Fine Art and Portrait.

Every wine we create begins with understanding each fruit’s character, then building a path to the bottle that best expresses that fruit. The real challenge lies in determining the best approach in the cellar, from the point of harvest, to unlock what the fruit has to offer. 

Work within the cellar follows an intentionally slow pace. From the initial fruit handling through fermentation and maturation prior to bottling, we slow down the overall wine growing process, following the example of traditional European winegrowers.

Cold soaking, Cabernet Sauvignon. Photo by Agne27, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Cold soaking, Cabernet Sauvignon. Photo by Agne27, CC BY-SA 3.0.

After the crush pad, unlocking the fruit’s character usually begins with cold soaking. This is a process where the fruit is cooled and allowed to rest, depending on the wine, from three hours up to seven days. 

Cold soaking allows the fruit to release flavor, color and texture from the pulp and the skins. Many of the more interesting components in the fruit need this time to be captured in fermentation.

For white wines, cold soaking occurs prior to pressing. For the reds, it occurs prior to fermentation.

Extended cold soaking for our reds improves color and flavor extraction while eliminating green character and the harsh elements typically found in hybrid varieties and Norton.


Creating a perfect dry summer wine

St. Vincent Rosé streams from press to pan. The finished wine will boast a strong strawberry and cranberry flavor profile.

Our slow fermentation process, coupled with careful temperature control, creates amazing levels of complexity and depth in our wines.
— Jerry Mueller, Winemaker

After cold soaking, the slow process continues with fermentation. Whether we are making red or white wine, we control the temperature of the fermentation.  This temperature control extends the amount of time for fermentation to be completed while enhancing the fruit character of the wine.


Yeast Selection

Because of our area’s humidity during the growing season, yeasts native to Missouri and the Hermann region are typically unreliable. In order to reach the high quality standards we set for our wine, we took the time to experiment with commercially available yeast strains until we were able to find the optimal complement to our fruit. 

The result is carefully selected regional and district specific yeast strains that achieve a perfect melding of the district with our fruit’s character.

Yeast selection, method and technique combined with our estate fruit give us an original, catered outcome in each of our house-style wines. 


Slow and controlled

Bubbles form as red wine ferments in the Röbller cellar. This intentionally slow process lasts for 30 to 50 days.

Extended maceration for our red wines results in a well-structured softness that really shows in the finished wine. We are currently working in the 50-plus day range, mindful that Italian wine making, where some of the more tannic wines are produced, incorporates a 75- to 90-day maceration period, prior to pressing, in order to soften the tannin profile. While extended maceration is not often adopted in our Midwest region, we will continue to extend the timeline as the results to date have been impressive.

To build body and creamy textures in our white wines we employ the methods and techniques of Burgundy. Malolactic fermentation and Sur lie aging require 12 to 22 months to achieve a meaningful impact, especially when barrel aging is incorporated. This very extended process has become a regular part of our creative wine growing process for each vintage because of the dramatic results.            


Careful craftsmanship

Rusty-hued pulp rises to the surface during white wine fermentation. The intensity of the bubbles and aroma indicate the quality of the fermentation.

Röbller follows the farm-to-table philosophy — “what grows together goes together.”

barrell 1.jpg

Inspired by the Italian Slow Food movement, we incorporate locally grown and produced oak barrels for our wines. 

From our cooperage partner McGinnis Wood Products in Cuba Missouri, we source two species of oak – White Oak and the native Chinkapin Oak barrels, made from trees harvested in Missouri and made into staves. Like our wine, we rely on time and the tender care of nature to enrich our process. The staves are air dried for 36 to 40 months, without kiln drying, allowing for nature to remove the unwanted compounds in the wood prior to assembling the barrels.

This slow process is what allows McGinnis to achieve results that are unmatched in their industry, and why we use their barrels as one more piece to our puzzle.

Every time we put wine into a barrel, it extracts some of the wood flavoring. After a period of time, the barrel becomes neutral and the wine no longer gets any of the flavorings. As barrels become neutral, they breathe and age, maturing the wine. So we mix them — new barrels with some previously used — in order to gain maturity and balance the character of the oak for our wines.

Barrel aging is never about ‘oaking a wine.” Rather, it is about creating a rich, balanced profile that adds to the finished wine.
— Jerry Mueller, Winemaker
Who We Are - Our Story3 (1).jpg

Barrel aging develops textural and anti-oxidative properties which prolong the longevity of the wine. Each vintage of a young wine will dictate the aging regime – every wine has a say it what it will become and being able to recognize and provide for its needs is incredibly important in crafting flavorsome wine. The wine will decide how long to rest in the barrel, whether we use the White Oak or the native Chinkapin Oak barrels, new or neutral barrels, and toast levels.  

We use newer barrels with more robust vintages, the fresh dried oak giving the wine a full-bodied flavor, and we use neutral barrels to achieve balance in softer lighter vintages, where the wine is able to breathe more easily. In our experience, it takes from 12 to 36 months for each wine to be fully integrated.

My experience tells me that the wine will say when it is ready to be bottled. The wine will begin to tell the story of its vintage each and every time a bottle is opened and enjoyed.
— Jerry Mueller, Winemaker