The arrival of August at the old red schoolhouse marks our “Count Down to Harvest,” the annual ritual that begins by emptying barrels for bottling the 2009 and 2010 vintages. It’s been a bustlingly busy week on the bottling line. First up were the 2010 Chardonnay and Old Schoolhouse Cabernet, 350 and 409 cases respectively. Second round is 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with 500 cases between them. Bottling is one of the most fast-paced, rewarding, and exhausting processes involved in bring wine from the vineyards to your table. If you want to work your butt off, and be literally immersed in a symphony of whirs, buzzes, clicks, clacks, thumps and the clanging of glass, you have to do it at least once. You have one job, one task: it is yours alone to perform without hesitation and without distraction. If you have ever worked on an assembly line in a factory, you know whereof we speak.
Bustling & Busting Butt on the Bottling Line
If you’ve never had the pleasure of being one with a machine, in which you literally become a cog in the wheel of progress, or a hindrance to it, should you screw up, this is a highly recommended way of experiencing a one-of-a-kind adrenaline rush. Will the bottles cascade down the conveyor belt in an orderly fashion or will the entire operation turn into a bad day at the bowling alley? Will the Nitrogen sparger that blows the impurities out of the bottle before filling work properly? Will the corker put corks in evenly? Will the person putting capsules on keep up with the flow? Will the spinner keep on spinnin’? Will the labeler work smoothly? Will the labels go on evenly or will they look as if they were applied by someone hitting the sauce?
Whew! It’s exhausting, but it’s rewarding, because you know that at the end of all the nerve-wracking, backbreaking and often monotonous labor, you have played a key role in putting wine in a bottle so all kinds of other people who have no idea of the sweat and tears involved in producing wine, can down it like a glass of water. You, however, will always take your time, from hence forward, in your sipping and savoring, because you know the truth, you’ve seen the movie, heck, you’ve played a role in it.
Veraison in the Vineyards!
Out in the vineyard, veraison is in full swing, and the Pinot Noir berries are softening and taking on their purple hue. Chardonnay clusters are slowly ripening as well, and both are looking good.
We’ve got results! Burrell School scored three silver medals in the recent Santa Cruz Commercial Wine Competition, for the 2007 vintages of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. Congrats to winemaker Dave and crew!
Sippers Club Members! Join us Saturday and Sunday, August 6th and 7th for our Sippers Sessions. Sample the August club wines in the gorgeous, bloom-filled gazebo garden and enjoy some splendid gourmet offerings from Chef Desirée. This is the last chance to purchase futures, so don’t miss out.
Thursday, August 11th is the annual Music in the Mountains event, located at the magnificent gardens of Nestldown. This is an elegant wine and food tasting to benefit Cabrillo Music Festival, now celebrating their 49th season of presenting music by innovative living composers. www.cabrillomusic.org