I think I’ve been pretty accurate in describing winemaking on a small scale. It’s not the romantic days of wine and roses you would think. Much of it is hard work, heavy lifting and a lot of pumps and engines. Spare a thought for the intrepid winemaker who puts his life and safety on the line so that you can sip that insouciant little Grenache or bold Cabernet. Yes, my friends, the dangers go even beyond the threat of drunken deer named Keef.
For instance, we noticed that a lot of Yellow Jackets would find us when we started piling up compost piles of fermented skins. Yet, we could never find their nests. Thursday, we did. As John the Baptist and Louis started loading up hay bales for our winter storm flood protection, suddenly an angry cloud of Yellow Jackets boiled out of the ground near the hay shed and started the attack. Two cans of spray later — and this was the spray that shoots 20 feet — the swarm was somewhat subdued, but active enough that Louis and John had to take Friday off to give them a chance to disperse. Only on Friday, could anyone get close enough to check it out.
Wasps quelled, work went on. And for us, that meant racking the Grenache and Mourvedre. Queue those pumps and hoses. This job involves siphoning wine from one secondary fermentation tank to another, leaving behind the film of dead yeast that has sunk to the bottom of the tank.