Monday, July 7th, 2014
It occurs to me, as I hit a few golf balls into my Cabernet Sauvignon early on this Sunday morning, that we’ve evolved into a rather unconventional winery. I don’t know what triggered this random thought – perhaps the vision of a Winemaker more intent on grooving a sand wedge than racking barrels…warped priorities indeed.
Admittedly, I’ve morphed into a “rainy day” Winemaker of sorts, as there are just too many jobs to do in the vineyard when the sun is shining and field conditions are ideal. It is on those rainy days when I employ some techniques that most would consider uncommon (certainly not smart) oenological practice.
I’ve learned the hard way that gravity-siphoning Syrah, on a tipsy ladder into two barrels simultaneously, will most assuredly lead to a violent Syrah volcano that is not discriminate about where it splatters. This is especially problematic when your winery space is also a retail store lined with finished packages. Those “specially stained”, collector’s edition bottles are now reserved exclusively for family and friends.
The eccentricities do not end there. I’m not sure how many Winemakers must arrange daily tasks around their mother’s laundry schedule, but I’m willing to bet there are only a few of us. You see, water pressure is of the utmost importance in cleaning both tartrate-laden oak barrels and Wilma’s linens. Despite these limitations, the wines get made and our whites are still bright.
Those visiting our barn on weekdays can attest that it doubles as a very large dog house. A stickler to routine, my days are planned around letting my dogs out at a quiet time when they won’t bother our guests. I treasure these few moments of leisure and serenity…
That is until my one-eyed King Charles Cavalier x Chihuahua, named Bella, becomes seemingly possessed by a Tasmanian Devil. It usually begins with her running really fast in large circles (one-eyed dogs tend to do this) eventually setting out on a wild foray into the vineyard despite my attempts at verbal restraint. Onlookers sit back and enjoy the spectacle, often marveling, “Look at her go!” And go she does. I’d like to say that I play it cool and never get sucked into chasing her…but that would be a lie. Picture Forrest Gump chasing a weasel.
A more fitting winery mascot would be hard to find.