One of the inevitable effects of harvest is that in order to hang out with my husband, I need to (ahem, GET to) hang out at the winery. Some days, that occurs in the form of stopping by after work for a cup of coffee and a quick spin on the forklift:
And other times, it’s like today, when I bring my computer, journal, and a couple books to occupy me while the guys get some Sunday work done. Today we also brought Kinner, who is training up to become a fully-licensed Winery Dog. We’re working on it; he hasn’t fully kicked the habit of chewing on expensive equipment and trying to eat all the grapes.
Meanwhile, down in Carneros, I got to wear my Sorting Table hat on Wednesday and help the cellar crew sort 10 tons of Pinot Noir.
It’s always funny to come down from my blissfully ignorant, perfectly temperature-controlled office – where all day long I romanticize winemaking for a living – down to the crush pad. My main takeaway is that no matter how beautiful and artful and theological and symbolic and dazzling harvest is, its main descriptor is just plain sticky. Standard operating procedure is to be covered in grape juice after a day on the crush pad, especially with the Carneros winds that I so glorify in marketing copy blowing juice onto everything. The bottom line: making wine is hard work, but the sticky parts (both metaphorical and literal) only contribute to its awesomeness.
Sorting is an important part of fruit processing because it’s one of many levels of quality control. We only want nice, ripe, clean, pretty grapes to get destemmed and pumped into their fermenting location (whether barrel or tank). This week, we had three or four people standing next to the moving belt, looking for under-ripe grapes, any mold or mildew hiding inside clusters (especially Pinot Noir, which is known for tight clusters that carry the risk of unwanted growth like mold), and MOG, which is a great Wine Word of the Day that stands for “Material Other than Grapes.”
(Original, right? It mostly refers to leaves, but the generic term can signify anything you could ever imagine, including birds, bugs, spiders, plastic, sticks, small children, etc.)
It was a busy week at work for me, but whenever I say that, I kind of laugh because “busy” for me means maybe having to do an hour of catch-up work at night or work a half hour of overtime… meanwhile, Cody is working 16-18-hour harvest days. Perspective. 🙂
That said, I’m going to keep hanging out watching TV shows on my computer while Cody and Luke do actual work and Kinley runs around looking for things to eat.
Until next time!