Aperture Cellars Partners with Local Restaurants to Repurpose Raisined Fruit

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Acclaimed Sonoma winery sustainably and creatively utilizes fruit that was damaged in 2022’s unusual harvest conditions

"Sparkling Raisin Juice" from SingleThread

“Here at Valette and The Matheson we use Aperture's ‘heavily sun ripened’ (my way of saying raisined) fruit in a variety of culinary applications," recounts Chef Dustin Valette.

Aperture Cellars has partnered with local Healdsburg chefs to repurpose the winery’s sorted out excess raisined fruit into creative dishes. The record setting 2022 heat spike in Northern California resulted in an abundance of overripe fruit in parts of the cluster that was overexposed. Thanks to Aperture’s state of the art facility, they were able to remove all of the raisins through an array of sorting tables and optically with air guns to precisely separate the raisins from the fresh fruit. This inspired Founder and Winemaker Jesse Katz to utilize Aperture’s raisins in a way. The sustainable endeavor has been successful in reducing waste while creating delicious and unique culinary experiences.

Once Katz took inventory of the extra raisined fruit, he was getting ready to discard it, but then decided to reach out to partner with Healdsburg restaurateurs Chef Dustin Valette, owner of Valette and The Matheson, and Chef Kyle Connaughton, owner of SingleThread, to incorporate the fruit into their menus through sauces, garnishes and more.

“In the culinary field we have the philosophy of Whole Animal Utilization, which is the idea that no part of the animal goes to waste. With the advanced technology of the optical sorter, not only is the wine grape better refined, but it also produces an excellent opportunity to continue this philosophy into viniculture,” recounts Chef Dustin Valette. “Here at Valette and The Matheson we use Aperture's ‘heavily sun ripened’ (my way of saying raisined) fruit in a variety of culinary applications. We use it everywhere from braising Venison, a tart glacage for ice cream, though my favorite is to utilize it in our house made mustard. The depth of flavor, acid and tannins add amazing complexity to any dish!“

Sonoma County saw record setting 109+ degree temperatures this September, which created a unique set of challenges for winemaking teams across the region. The heatwave came late in the growing season but prior to harvest, which resulted in many of the almost perfectly ripe grapes overripening and eventually turning into raisins. Fortunately, Aperture Cellars’ winemaking facility was designed with climate change in mind and is fully equipped with the best sorting technology in the world.

The complex and site-specific qualities of the grapes add a unique flavor profile to each of the dishes they’re incorporated into. Throughout the creative process of repurposing the raisened fruit, Katz and the chefs he partnered with sat down to thoughtfully curate the best use for the raisins within their menus. Wine country is known for having incredible food and wine pairings, and the collaborative nature of this partnership sets a new example for how to fuse wine with culinary experiences in an unexpected way.

Aperture Cellars’ fruit is currently being included throughout the menus at The Matheson and SingleThread while ingredients last. For more information about Aperture Cellars, please visit their website at http://www.aperturecellars.com and follow them on social media (Instagram,Facebook).

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About Aperture Cellars:
Aperture Cellars, founded in 2009 by Winemaker Jesse Katz, champions a range of stunning Bordeaux-style wines grown in some of the best vineyards in Sonoma. Aperture Cellars is constantly evolving their grape growing techniques and varietals to combat climate change, and are primarily crafted from unique, cool-climate vineyards for Bordeaux varietals in Sonoma’s top regions with over 115+ acres of estate vineyards. The winery’s homebase, the Aperture Estate, opened in Healdsburg in 2020 includes a state-of-the-art winemaking facility and hospitality center. Aperture Cellars has generated mass critical acclaim since their inception through Winemaker Jesse Katz, their record setting Alexander Valley wines, and dedication to giving back to charitable causes.

About Jesse Katz:
Jesse Katz is the founder and lead winemaker for Aperture Cellars. Katz’s impressive career has spanned over 22 harvests to date, including his time with Pétrus in Bordeaux, Screaming Eagle Winery in Napa Valley, Viña Cobos and Bodega Noemia in Argentina, and serving as Head Winemaker for Lancaster Estate in Sonoma. In 2013, Wine Enthusiast named Katz as one of its “40 Under 40” Tastemakers and he was also the first winemaker on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list in 2014 along with being named “Winemaker of the Year”. In addition to his work with Aperture Cellars, he is also known for his Devil Proof brand, which earned both the first 100 point score in the history of Alexander Valley and became the first 100 point Malbec in the United States. Katz also stays busy with his many partnerships as a consulting winemaker for the stars, initiatives like his record setting $1M bottle sale, and raising over $5M for various foundations and causes through his wines.

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Ally Lowder
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