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When folks follow my winemaking photo albums on Facebook they inevitably comment that it looks like “so much fun.” Truly there are many moments of levity. For some reason, winemaking lends itself to double entendres and libidinous allusions. Jokes abound when we’re in the groove, accompanied by weary chuckles and belly laughs. It’s tremendously satisfying to work alongside friends who understand what needs to be done and never waver when it comes to pitching in. Ninety-five percent of winemaking is simply hard, physical labor. The average crate of grapes weighs 15-20 kilos (33-44 pounds). A ton of grapes is around 48-50 crates, más o menos. Multiply that by six tons. That’s a lot of crates of grapes my friends. After the grapes are pressed off the skins the wine itself has to be moved around. I’ve lost count of how many 5 gallon glass carboys and cases of finished wine and barrels and tanks we’ve moved in the last 42 days. It’s a blur! Long days (and sometimes nights), sore muscles, stained hands and clothes, sticky skin, achy feet and good old fatigue rule the day during harvest. Read more about When it Comes to Soaking up Local Color, We Don’t Mess Around
Dear Readers and devoted friends of Bacchus, please forgive my absence. My last entry recounted the bottling of my first wines and the thrill of my hard won accomplishment. The following months have been a whirlwind involving single-minded efforts to get my wine into stores, restaurants and ultimately into the wine glasses of wine lovers here, there and everywhere!
“Wine is a union between man and nature, of man within nature.” José Luís Durand
Bottling day was upon me. I’d made my final blends a few weeks earlier and the wine tasted great. I was ecstatic. I sent samples to the lab and the results indicated all were within perfect, healthy ranges. A week later I clarified the three barrels of blended wine with egg white. Two days before bottling I added sulfites according to a formula that is determined by the pH of the finished wine. I borrowed two siphons and a corker, set up a barrel washing area out back and lined up my Dream Team.
A good and wise friend of mine told me a few days ago that “being self employed means thinking while others sleep.” He couldn’t have put it better and I’ve lost a few nights sleep lately trying to wrap my head around the wine bottling conundrum. Yes, it is that time. It’s wine-o’clock: Time to Bottle!