Stomp, stomp, stomp, the dust from the vineyard sends a little plume into the air off my new work boots. I stop and admire them for a moment before heading into the cellar. I really like these boots. They were intended for use on ships. Dark brown leather, slip resistant and water proof they seem more suited to my needs then a sailors. They are equally at home in the vineyard or cellar as they are out to dinner at Brasserie Four. I should know I got them on my birthday and wore them out that night to dinner. I wash them off before heading upstairs to visit Michelle. I would advise against walking into the tasting room with dust covered boots. Just thinking about it gives me a flashback to the muck boot incident of the 2011 harvest. Said incident involved me, a pair of muck boots and a very angry Michelle. I think I should stop there since Michelle will be reading this and there was never a clear resolution. Michelle shares with me that she won Bunko last night. I am not sure what this bunko thing is but it sounds a lot like an underground gambling ring ran but an odd ball group of women.
I head down stairs to my office to write up a job description for the harvest cellar position. I have already decided that Nicki our Sunday tasting room employee will get the job. Still I want to make sure she knows what working harvest entails. Here is my amusing description meant to take the sting out of how much sanitation (scrubbing) she will be doing. Well that is enough from me. I think I will go back to admiring me foot ware.
Tertulia Cellars Troll Cellar Position Responsibilities
Albert Einstein once said “genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration”. Ryan Raber once said “winemaking is 99% sanitation and 1% inspiration”. Like how I just compared myself to Albert Einstein! There will be cleaning of tanks, the press, crush pad equipment, barrels, lab, grape bins, pumps, hoses and anything else I can think of. You will be getting sprayed with the hose on occasion! Most often on accident but there is an occasional water fight. I recommend dressing in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, sticky and wet. Also keep a spare pair of clothes on hand in the event you lose a water fight! I advise bringing a good pair of water proof boots. Most of us wear Muck boots but any type of water proof boot is fine. Now for the details of cleaning, we use a lot of hot water. Be mindful it can get up to 180 degrees and that hurts. No worries no one will spray you will 180 degree water on purpose unless you turn into a zombie and it is as a weapon of last resort. In such an event remember it was your own damn fault you were bitten by a zombie in the first place. Chemicals for cleaning are Proxy Carb, citric acid and potassium bi met sulfite. Don’t eat them, can’t tell you how many times I had to say that to Sergio! We will usually make up buckets of the various chemicals to sanitize things. Pretty easy it will take you a few minutes to learn.
Sorting fruit is a pretty easy job here. We have a machine that does almost all the work for us. There will be someone operating the forklift (me) and someone raking the grapes onto the elevator. We will also have someone watching the sorting table. Once the berries are in the tank we chase it down with other fruit or water. Once we are done we break down everything and clean then maybe we go grab a beer…depends if all the work is finished. Once the fruit is in a tank we run some analysis and do a few adjustments. Maybe we add yeast depends on the conditions and how tired we are.
We do mostly pump overs. They are really cool. We shoot wine up into the air and it crashes into a bin then we pump it over the top. We do this twice a day from 10-20 minutes per tank. How long it takes depends on how many tanks we have fermenting.
Once the fruit becomes wine we will press it. We pump the free run into a tank and press the grapes keeping the wine from each separate. After pressing we clean the press so it is spotless. Next we clean the floor. The pressed grapes are dumped into bins and some guy I know with cows comes to pick it up. Cows love getting buzzed and the beef tastes better for it. We usually don’t schedule pressing on the same day we are processing fruit.
Once the wine settles in tank after pressing usually the next day we pump them into barrels. With a flashlight in one hand and a remote to the pump in the other you will fill the barrel. Be careful not to overfill it or you will get a wine shower! I hear wine showers are good for the skin. Actually I just made that up.
Lots of other stuff to learn but it is pretty easy. We like to have fun, listen to music and not take ourselves too seriously.