And just like that, the day suddenly comes where you find your wine is going dry and a decision about how and when you should siphon the juice from the bin and the choice of vessel you plan to rest it within is upon you. I thought I had all my cards in place with the extra keg and carboy to hold the overflow of my press wine, but I never knew that the big press requires much more than a ½ ton of fruit to do its job. I had to make a decision. I could either press on a day when the last of two varietals were set to press and use their pomace buildup to press against my own fruit or I could wait and use a traditional water basket press that was entirely manual.
When you’re working with mother nature, you want to guide without control because inevitably, you don’t really have control anyway, and so, making wine is somewhat akin to driving blind. So many factors can contribute to a wine’s direction and you just have to blindly follow along and keep it from driving over the edge of a cliff. Given the changes fruit can go through on its path to becoming wine, I now understand why a winemaker wants and needs to be near her fruit every day.
It’s been an entirely new experience to be in Ed’s winery and to have fruit of my own there. I remember the day I forklifted my Aglianico inside to be destemmed, the other interns and custom crush winemakers looked at and tasted the berries with curiosity given that it was an entirely new varietal.
I am fortunate to have such a wholehearted team of folks to be guided by. From tips on forklifting to winemaking approaches; it has brought a new sense of awareness of myself and prompted me to ask more questions. It also ignited a sense of community; it is through them that I feel more self-sufficient, visible and confident. I have learned to ask questions without fear and poignancy. And I have come to look to these folks for their insight, seeing them as family.