Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ahh, the romance

Any fluffy ideas about wine making I've had in the past quickly vanished after a brief introduction to the production process. Don't get me wrong, the bubble may have burst, but I do not regret moving cross-country in the interest of learning how to make wine. I'm still as intrigued and interested in studying everything from tank punch-downs to the challenges of vine diseases, dry as it may seem. However, a wine cellar (not the part visible to tourists) is generally a concrete structure of little architectural interest and the wine is made by people who, in many cases, don't even care for the taste of it. A very different picture than I had imagined even three weeks ago. Prior to starting a job in production, I spent a few years buying and selling wine. Much of that time I spent with my nose in either a wine reference book or a glass. Somehow I thought that making wine would attract people with a passion for the product, but in this way it's no different than any other industry. Perhaps a naive idea, as though postal workers are passionate about mail. Still, a little shocked from this realization, I passed this port-a-john on the way to the winery this morning and it all became a little clearer. The romance of humans.


This boat was on the side of the road on my way to work yesterday. Interesting. I'm not familiar with that technique.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Fruit

Our first fruit of the season arrived today from one of our custom crush client vineyards. Luckily ours will be another week. It's a relatively early harvest, which generally does not bode well for a high quality vintage, but only time can tell. (The longer the fruit can stay on the vine, the better chance it has to develop more complex characteristics.)
The winemakers toasted the newly arriving grapes with vintage Champagne, and I made my way to the sorting table to take a closer look. Four hours later, after having tasted, squished, held, and thrown the fruit, I left, covered in a sticky mess of their sugars, with a smile on my face. My introduction to harvest was complete, and true to the region and reputation, Pinot Noir ruled the day.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tank lid

View from the top of an 8,000 gallon fermenter tank overlooking lovely Carneros.

Napa Harvest 2008

Vineyard in the Carneros region of Napa from which these tales of harvest labor will come.