Harvest & Wine

learning to make wine slowly


August 2016

Barrel Cleanin’ n Steamin’

I’m learning that for every task that might otherwise sound like a detail to an ear outside the winery, there accompanies with it a massive amount of work, technique, safety checks, and expensive equipment to maneuver that are heavy and large in size. (If my sisters saw me brandishing some of this stuff they’d probably be sitting by on the sidelines with their hands over their eyes while slightly giggling at the same time.) Today, I learned all about handling equipment to clean barrels correctly and safely so as not to cause a barrel to explode or give myself a face steam I’d never forget.

Continue reading “Barrel Cleanin’ n Steamin’”


Pitchforking Fruit

I guess I “lucked out” this harvest as it’s apparently one of the lighter ones (although not as light as 2015’s) despite what growers thought earlier this year. Really, it just affords me more time to digest each part of the winemaking process which is fantastic. Ed brought in the first of his fruit today, about 6 bins of Chalone Boar Vineyard Pinot. We first weighed each bin to get a total estimate on tonnage and then we lined up the bins to begin pitchforking the fruit into the macro bins for fermentation. Continue reading “Pitchforking Fruit”

Valves, Clamps, & Pumps, Oh My.

20160824_162209 Ever the student, I like knowing what x-wine gadget does to affect the eventual product that becomes wine. I remember being fascinated while in “wine school” with the anatomy and dissection of just the wine bottle alone. I loved knowing that every part had a purpose and connected to another part. The capsule, the size of the bottle, the type of cork or screw-cap, the seam running along the bottle, the type of material needed for proper label application, the depth of the punt…so many wonderful details that all worked together to support a single bottle of wine and each one had significant meaning.

Continue reading “Valves, Clamps, & Pumps, Oh My.”

On the Bottling Line

When I was a tasting room manager, I sat in my office, which was itself in a wine cage within a vast winery facility/former plane hangar. Most days, something would be going on and usually just a few feet away from me. Pallet jacks, forklifts, and bin clean-outs were a common occurrence. And while I was emailing wine club members or building wine orders, I could not help but wonder what that side of the winery experience was like. Continue reading “On the Bottling Line”

Walking into the World of Winemaking

I’ve been in wine sales for a number of years now and while I love it, I have long had a gut feeling that I may be missing out by not exploring the more tactile side of wine in terms of being directly involved in the making of it. Hands-on exploration of something I love has always been the best way for me to tell if I’m passionate and patient enough to pursue it in a real way. Continue reading “Walking into the World of Winemaking”

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