Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July Reckoning

By: Kelby Russell, Winemaking Team Member

There is no denying it, we are definitely into the month of July.  As much as we might like to close our eyes and pretend that it is still June, Independence Day is now behind us and the dog days of summer are beckoning.  Don't get me wrong, we absolutely adore the glorious sunny days that summer in the Finger Lakes means - especially as those sunny days transform into molten twilights that seem to last forever.  You will notice, however, that I did not employ the normal cliché of "carefree summer days," and that is precisely the point.

Our daily calendar for the month of July is a complete mess.

There is so much pencil lead scribbled on every day it might be easier for us to notate things by erasing out the message we have in mind instead of writing it.  It is a daunting task to look at the entirety of the workload for July in one glance, even going day by day is going to take a considerable amount of work.  At this point, I am taking what comfort I can in knowing that everything is laid out for us in terms of the work schedule plan.  What is left to us is the execution of that plan.

Why do we have so much work in July?  After all, you would be correct to point out, it isn't as if grapes are being harvested at the moment.  Yet the (relatively) imminent 2011 grape harvest is the reason we are putting so much pressure on ourselves this month.  We've made reference before to the fact that the time leading up to the vintage is affectionately known as "bottling season" in wineries across the world.  Wines from the previous year have to be bottled to make space for the new harvest and the juice it will bring with it, whether in tank or in barrels.  We might not know precisely how many tons of fruit will be coming in from the vineyard in 2011 (see our previous post), but make no mistake that we will do everything in our power to avoid a situation where we are having to 'juggle tanks' in October.

Getting these wines into bottle is not as simple as running a hose from the tank or barrel to some bottles, however, and that is where our work this month comes into play.  For the majority of our wines here at Fox Run, final additions, final blends, and final filtration all needs to happen before we send it through to our bottling line.  All those steps take a considerable amount of time to decide upon in the lab (what additions, blends, et cetera) and then take time to follow through on in the cellar.  To make sure we give an appropriate amount of time to each wine's decision and action needs, we fully scheduled out July to keep us moving forward every day.

The question remains, though, of why July instead of balancing the work through August?  One part of the answer is that the tasting room side of Fox Run, where things pick up as the summer continues and starts to involve our time (especially with our Garlic Fest at the beginning of August).  Another piece of the answer is that August will still be busy for us in the cellar as we wrap up loose-ends and get everything cleaned and ready for vintage.

The majority of our reasoning, however, is Peter's professed desire to be able to "kick up his feet" come August.  Frankly, none of us can imagine Peter (or ourselves, for that matter) sitting around idle that long without going stir-crazy.  If we can be that relaxed, however, our crazy July will have been worth it.

Music of the Day:
  • Yuck - Yuck; "Rubber" (an appropriate song for long, hot days of work):

Support Artists, buy the music you like!

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