Ever wondered what the typical day of a winemaker is like? No, not the romantic life of the beret-wearing winemaker you see in movies who spends his days in a picturesque villa sipping his fermenting wine and murmuring things like: “Eet is thee terroir.” I mean the grunts who do all the heavy lifting of the winemaking process. Not the glass lifting, but the bucket, sulfite and bin lifting work. These aren’t winemakers, they are “wine babysitters.” I are one.
Since one of us at Two Terrier Vineyards still has a day job, I’m the one who’s been living in a barn for six weeks babysitting the four varietals we’re trying to shepherd from harvest to crush through primary and secondary fermentation. With Mourvedre, Grenache and Cinsault now resting in oak barrels and only the Cabernet in primary fermentation, there’s more time to leisurely discuss the process. Or the process as it happens in my world.
It’s pretty dark out now at six, so I’m keeping the barn lit up, as my husband would say, “like Blackpool Illuminations.” I know it’s not very energy appropriate, but since we’re way out in the wilds, I need the light perimeter to keep the resident Mountain Lion at bay. So at six, we’re walking gingerly around the available pools of light where we (hopefully) can see large felines before they leap on us and sever our vertebra.
When it’s finally light enough that we feel we can defend ourselves against large predatory cats, we begin the 1/2 mile walk from barn to crush pad. But first we have to stop at Lake Charles and bark at the water.
As we stroll through the vineyards, we pass many beautiful flowers in the Insectary. This is a dense planting of natives featuring year-round color and bloom to keep the beneficial birds and insects working to maintain pest-free grapes.
So you know that old term “Lather. Rinse. Repeat.” We basically do this whole routine two more times. Then it’s dark and the critters and scary things are coming out. So we barricade ourselves in the barn.
That’s the drill. No romance. Lots of walking. Some scientific stuff. And lots of fox poo. Sante!