Hello, old friends, I silently said to the barrels and equipment I would be working with today.
Back to the winery and I’ve been working in the cellar. It’s been awhile but things came back to me pretty quickly. Setting up the Gamma Jet, the power washer, clinking clamps together (getting better at that) cleaning barrels, cleaning up the messes you make cleaning other thing, listening to Bitches Brew...
For the last few days, I’ve been stirring lees in the barrels, for the 2015s. Particularly gratifying, since it was the first harvest I worked start to finish: a bit like being the godfather attending college graduation. Stirring barrels is important but repetitive. As usual, I figured out my own system for maximum efficiency, timed my performance and started setting goals to keep up the pace. I played Johnny Marr's Adrenaline Baby--twice--and saved 30 seconds per barrel. (I counted 358 barrels. Do the math.) Some people think this is work.
Monday we racked wine from barrels to holding tanks, getting 2014s ready for bottling. Always up for learning something new, I’d never done that before so I was excited. Cleaning tartrate crystals out of the white wine tanks was a little less thrilling and a little more work. But it breaks apart in sheets and shards, which is fun to watch.
I’d sorted and punched down some of those grapes, maybe most of them, but I wasn’t as intimate with them as 2015 when I was there almost every day. My own handwriting is on a lot of those barrels, which I see every time I go in when I stir them—which stirs its own feelings. I’m looking forward to seeing those through—out of the barrels and all the way into my glass.