Friday, November 5, 2010

Aftermath: “And How Does That Make You Feel?”

Long ago I used to volunteer at a large annual music event in Toronto called the Mariposa Folk Festival. For folk music lovers – there seemed to be so many more of them back then – it was the highlight of the year, and attracted the likes of Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Taj Mahal and Steve Goodman, along with performers in newly-rediscovered old genres like Zydeco, Old-Timey and even Clogging.

My tiny part in the planning and execution of this event involved making sure that performers got from the airport to their hotel and thence to the performance venue, and a few days later doing it all in reverse.

As soon as the last performer had been packed off to the airport late on Sunday afternoon, the festival was abruptly over for me. I was always struck with a “now what?” ennui for a few days afterward, a feeling that something really big and all-consuming had come and gone and now there was nothing to fill the void.

Not so with the phenomenon we have been blogging about so much lately, Vintage. Yes, vintage is over, but this is when the work begins. Work, that is, that feels more like normal winemaking and less like a concerted, giddy frenzy.

Here are some of the post-vintage tasks that are keeping us busy and engaged:

  • Giving the crusher, must pump and press a final, thorough cleaning, and hanging up Son of Bertha, our trusty 4” must hose
  • Inoculating about 80 barrels and tanks with the bacteria that will conduct the malolactic fermentation in the wines
 Fourth Floor Walkup
Tricia adds freeze dried bacteria to a barrel of Chardonnay

  • Beginning the task of deciding which tanks of Riesling will play well with others, and introducing them to each other in a larger tank
  • Vacuuming up the approximately 4 quadrillion fruit fly carcasses littering the lab
  • Pumping last year’s red wines out of barrels and filling the barrels with this year’s reds
  • Figuring out how we’re going to come up with the 400 cases of 2010 Arctic Fox wine that our marketing department needs in less than a month
  • Trying to convince a defiant tank of Chardonnay to hurry up and ferment to dryness
  • Tasting, spitting, tasting, spitting…

Overall it’s a thrilling time of year. No ennui to be found here.

By: Peter, Winemaker

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