We brought in 11 half-ton bins of Sauvignon Blanc today. Carlos and I arrived at 7 am to begin sanitizing empty tanks and to prepare the press. Others arrived a little later and got right to work preparing the sorting table, de-stemmer and various other hoses and bins to be used throughout the day.
Around 10:30 am, a truck appeared on our little crush pad on the hill to deliver our fruit. For it being only our second day of processing fruit at the winery this year, our collective movement was surprisingly more balletic than frenetic. Though lots was going on, everything seemed graceful and coordinated. Two forklifts glided around each other like lovers on an ice rink, one weighing fruit (have I mentioned there are nearly one THOUSAND pounds of grapes in one of these bins!!), the other dropping it into the press. Four harvest interns manned (and womanned, me) their designated posts, first at the press for whole-cluster pressed juice, and then at the sorting table, to have de-stemmed and sorted fruit to ferment separately for later blending purposes.
Assistant Winemaker Jesse Fox wielded fruit-filled bins with the forklift as though it were an extension of his own body, and Winemaker Jeff Gaffner made sure everything was perfect: cold grapes, unoxidized and ever-so-gently-pressed juice, and only the best berries making it across the sorting table.
|Whole Cluster Pressed Fruit in Open Top Tank|
I was reminded today of an important and often overlooked part of why I originally wanted to be a harvest intern. (“Harvest intern” = entry level through intermediate level position in winemaking for which one sorts fruit, cleans tanks, inoculates yeast, makes additions to the juice/wine, manages fermentations, and does anything else that needs doing on the crush pad or in the cellar or in the lab during the harvest.) I wanted to understand – thoroughly, scientifically, mechanically, on micro and macro levels and at every step – how wine is made. I feel like throughout my life, I’ve known things only generally. I would like, in my life, to understand at least one thing deeply, genuinely and from experience. The kind of knowledge that can only come over time. A lifetime devoted to the passionate study of that thing. That’s how I feel around Winemaker Jeff Gaffner and Vineyard Manager Ned Hill, and actually, come to think of it, our Beekeeper, Rob Keller, as well. On a walk through the estate’s Fault Line vineyard with Ned Hill the other day, there was an explanation behind the explanation behind the explanation for whatever I was asking. “How much detail did I want him to go into?” was his question to my every question. It’s that kind of intimate knowledge I crave. This might seem obvious to many of you who are accomplished and brilliant and leading experts in your respective fields, I’m sure. But for me, I haven’t got it yet. But maybe this is when you know you’ve found your passion. When you long to know every single dirty detail about something. Even and especially the ugliest so that you may understand it to the fullest. It must be somewhat similarly rewarding and heart-warming to how it feels to know a person so well you can read their mind and anticipate their actions and share comfortable silence. Maybe I’m just personifying ‘passion’. Maybe the way I love anything- person, moment or interest- is just similarly profound.
Until Next Time,
|All Hands on Sorting Table|