From Deep in the Archive: Harvest 2003

Five years ago I worked the vintage in the mountains above St. Helena in the Napa Valley. At the time I started something resembling a blog, which in the end was updated oh, I don’t know, about three times, maybe four. To all you winemakers and cellar rats with blogs, I don’t know how you keep up with it, but I’m impressed. After a long day on the crushpad and in the winery, the *last* thing I felt like doing was looking at a computer screen. A cold beer and hanging out on the porch was about all I could muster.

If you’d like to read a couple of informative winemaker/proprietor blogs with substantial harvest sections, then I can recommend the Tablas Creek blog, by Jason Haas, and the Montalcino Report, by Alessandro Bindocci of Tenuta Il Poggione. Where they get the time, I don’t know, but both blogs are worth checking out if you’re in need of a harvest fix.

I did manage a few entries back in 2003, and for some reason I felt like sharing the one below–a little vignette from the end of a frustrating day. My, how emo of me, both this post and that, right down to lack of capital letters and the title quoted from the Cure.

i’m shaking like milk [Oct. 1st, 2003|07:14 pm]
this evening was all about the birds. after a short, frustrating day where the grapes we were crushing came in not-quite-ripe enough (forcing us to stop half-way through the harvesting and use buckets to transfer the mish-mash of fruit and juice to a smaller tank), it was nice to look out over some of the vines and see the flock of chickens jumping to the lower hanging grape clusters, eating the plumpest berries; to see blue-jays dive bomb the fruit; and to look over at the fermenting pumice pile and see several wild turkeys leaping around drunk from the weeks-old sauvignon blanc grape skins. even Chester the Horse tucked in to this pile.

this is the second such start-stop we’ve had here this season, and it’s getting frustrating. establishing a working rhythm is impossible, and of course we are racing against nature a little, hoping that the fruit gets ripe enough to be harvested before the rains. still, it’s amazing to stop and think about how much of a force weather & the seasons are, something so easily overlooked in an urban lifestyle.

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