The 2010 Harvest Season is officially over. That doesn’t mean the work is done or the winemaking has ceased, but the backbreaking part of it is behind us. And in keeping with this year’s weird and wild weather — the rainy season that lasted until June, the heat wave after heat wave that followed immediately and other assorted phenomena that certain people will never believe have anything to do with Global Warming — we ended our season on a weird and wild note. Actually, we ended rather pathetically with most of us on the disabled list and a few pressing sessions where we ran out of steam and decided to feed the deer instead of press more grapes. Oh, and our Internet went down for a week. But that last may have more to do with the fact that I dared to disparage Facebook inventor, Mark Zuckerberg, or at least his movie representation in The Social Network. (See I had a secret suspicion that he really ran everything.)
Anyway, we’re back. Sort of. And putting ourselves back in the game. Now the play-by-play.
First of all, this was a season that would not have happened without our friend, Cousin John. Andy had conveniently scheduled all his business trips for harvest season, so it was often Cousin John, me and two terriers handling each of our several crushes.
Boy did we need Cousin John. In a year when grape yields were down by as much as 40% in Napa and Sonoma, our Mourvedre and Cabernet didn’t get the memo.
Just as a side note: do you have any idea how long it takes to punch down, not just two primary fermentation vats, but a half dozen or so bins and tubs? Three times a day! Cue violins.
I think I also mentioned that we were attacked by wasps from the largest most extensive underground wasp lair probably ever seen in these United States.
Finally, in one epic session that went on after dark, we pressed all that Cabernet and got the last of the wine out of primary fermentation and into steel tanks. Where they can go through secondary fermentation without my three times daily attendance.
Which is not to say that the work was over. There was still a crushpad, dozens of vats and tubs and equipment to clean and put away for the rest of the season. Then there was the threat of the rainy season that demanded we start shoring up vulnerable areas against flooding. That’s when Andy left on another trip, John the Baptist came down with the flu and Louis got bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider.
But have no fear! Everyone is back and in fighting trim now. John and Louis are building the Two Terriers equivalent of the Panama Canal to protect the subsiding slope of the lower vineyard.
Pat says John and Louis know more about native Sonoma plants and their medicinal use by his tribe than his tribal leader does. (But I bet John and Louis couldn’t run a casino!)
So that’s where we are now. And the weather report says we may have a week of sunshine and warm temperatures. Just enough time to get ready for the rains and get that crushpad cleaned up!
Brown Recluse? Wow, those things are deadly! I had a coworker about lose his arm from a bite – he sure lost a large hunk, at any rate.
Ugh. What a week. I feel bad about whinging about my miserable day job. I secretly envy your life out there on the crushpad, though. It sounds much more satisfying than “Anonymous Paper Shuffler for the Great Military-Industrial Complex.” Get some rest. You’ve got some scootering to do eventually!
Brown Recluse, one bad mother.. Hope he got good medical attention fairly quick, we’ve got an old boy up here who has big hole in his arm from a ‘recluse’ bite..
Glad to hear all the works done tho, take some time off & go catch some salmon, or head on up this way, we seem to have them running our rivers in the thousands every day..
Hmmm. Maybe it wasn’t a Brown Recluse as you guys make it sound like one of their bites will take off a limb. Or maybe Louis is one tough guy. Whatever bit him caused his whole hand to swell up and discolor. He could barely use it for several days. But it’s getting better now.
It is possible that it was not a ‘real’ Brown Recluse as they are really not a native of Northern CA. However here is a link to just what a Brown Recluse can do.
Brown Recluse are nasty buggers that make Black Widows look sweet. Someday you will look back at this post and smile… well, all except the illnesses… okay, maybe just Cousin John drinking from the hose.
Glad everybody survived, so far. There are many more than two poisonous kinds of spiders. Poisoning can make people climb out of hospital beds, all kinds of stuff. I’m learning to regard them more carefully after hearing people I know talk about bites they have endured/or witnessed aftermath from.
I always had three basic types- black widow, brown recluse, daddy longlegs.
Great post. One day the bottles from this year’s crop will elicit favorite tales around the table. Nice to have war stories without the war.
Here’s to hard work and its results.
this just seems like an overwhelming amount of work to me. At least you had stellar help. Do you think the planning of Andy’s business trips was perhaps coincidental????
as in “coincidental”
We are almost positive it was a brown recluse. I was bit on the shin by one killed it ( don’t usually kill spiders, but when bit I tend to bite back. Same for the yellow jackets.) had exact same reaction. Swelling, discoloring, skin die off and a nice divot on shin. I have heard their not as toxic up here in the north west.
Or maybe Louis is so tough, the Brown Recluse who bit him died!
KathyBGlad everybody suirvved, so far. There are many more than two poisonous kinds of spiders. Poisoning can make people climb out of hospital beds, all kinds of stuff. I’m learning to regard them more carefully after hearing people I know talk about bites they have endured/or witnessed aftermath from.I always had three basic types- black widow, brown recluse, daddy longlegs. Great post. One day the bottles from this year’s crop will elicit favorite tales around the table. Nice to have war stories without the war.