This is a very exciting time at the winery. We’ve harvested all of our white grapes and are almost done harvesting the reds. With all of these grapes, there’s a lot of work to be done with processing and making wine! I’m learning so much and will share some brief important lessons and photos to guide you through:
A large portion of winemaking is cleaning. So it’s all about making a mess and then cleaning it up. That’s cleaning the bucket, press, barrels, hosing down the yard, oh, and importantly, your clothes.
Wet Wipes are always handy.
Hydrometers are fragile. These handy devices can measure three important things in winemaking: specific gravity, potential alcohol and sugar. Don’t drop them into buckets, be gentle, wash them carefully.
The destemmer is for grapes. Not hands, fingers, or feet. Keep them away at all times!
Workdays start early. But 7 a.m. isn’t bad. There’s no traffic and you get to see pretty hot air balloons on your way to work.
If only we could commute to work in a balloon.
Laundry lessons. Wine Away works wonders if treated immediately. Otherwise, that white shirt will stain.
New winemaking apparel
A dog is a winemaker’s best friend. Stella enjoys long walks in the vineyard. And savory treats.
Stella does the sampling by snout
Have a winemaking dictionary handy. Otherwise everything will seem like a foreign language. I’m learning a lot of new vocabulary.
Equipment. There are 3 sizes of clamps, gaskets, and hoses. They are not interchangeable so no matter how much you may want them to fit, they won’t. So get a reducer.
Don’t waste your money on manicures. Wine stains, so there’s no point of hiding it on your nails.
Spanish comes in handy. Many of our awesome vineyard associates speak it.
Mas uvas. Si, more grapes.
Bring a change of clothes and nametag. You never know when you may end up leading a vineyard tour.
Grapes are not stomped by foot. They are pressed in a machine. Although it is fun to step on them at our annual Grapestomp Festival!
Wine grapes taste much better than the grocery store grapes. They also make for a great snack and are not the product of genetic cross-breeding that makes them taste like a carnival treat.
And finally, if there is a will, there is a “way”. Winemaking is hard work. It takes physical strength to lift those hoses and mental capacity to understand which yeasts to add, but the reward is definitely satisfying.