Monday, October 4, 2010

Midway Through Vintage

The period known to winemakers as Vintage, or in the local vernacular Crush, is generally a blur of work lasting about six or eight weeks. Vintage starts when the first grapes arrive at the winery, usually in mid-September (though this year we started in late August). Vintage ends, sometime in November, when the last load of red wine is pressed out.

Our intense workload, described in previous posts, has been moderated somewhat today, following a frantically busy few days getting five separate lots of Pinot noir wine pressed out and 15 tons of Lemberger into the fermenters. No grapes on the crush pad today, but plenty of quotidian tasks to perform: manually punching down the fermenting reds, checking the progress of the fermentations, filling barrels, and staying in touch with our vineyard manager and the fellow we hire to machine-pick our grapes.

Pete Howe is no dope, but it is unclear who gains from 
the arduous task of punching down lemberger bins.

Up in the lab, our whiteboard – indisputably the most stared-at thing ever to adorn a wall after the Mona Lisa – not only tells us what’s in all the tanks but serves as a repository for our running to-do list. Today’s reminders, most of them rather cryptic:

  • Inoc PN MLF
  • Bottling line training and safety protocol
  • Chard cuvee initial Brix 1.4
  • Car service Tuesday after 6 pm
  • Biolees trial
  • Flex tanks Tues
  • Samples for Nick @ Cornell
  • Dip 10” / 414 gal -->
  • Inoc Ros├ę Mon. pm GRE
  • Sadie

In case you’re wondering, Sadie is the name of Tricia’s older daughter’s new dog.

By: Peter Bell, Winemaker

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