Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Purple Hands

Working in the winery is something you have to love, otherwise you do not want to own a winery. You have to like scrubbing gunk out of barrels; you have to like cleaning and then re-cleaning the same barrel until it smells clean and fresh; You have to like scraping encrusted crystals off the side of your barrels, then cleaning it again; You get the idea...

If you can't do the scut-work, don't start the business! Yes you could hire a person to do this work for you, but if they slack even a little, the effect it will have on your product will cause you to go back and clean those barrels twice more yourself!

Yes, I am talking about us little guys, the small mom-'n'-pop wineries. I visited a large winery recently and watched the seven people running the bottle line and talked to the four guys who handle cleaning and warehouse duties. I think I was most envious of the forklift, I could really use one to save me some work, but those things are expensive to buy and keep-up. Oh well.

I did have a bit of good news in the winery this week, we have been tinkering with a new dry white wine, a blend of two different grape wines I was not quite satisfied with. A primary motivation for blending is to make a better wine out of wines that individually are unremarkable. Sometimes blending in as little as 5%-10% of one wine makes another wine come alive or adds a missing attribute, making it so much better.

Oh, yes! One of the other downside of working in the winery is Purple Hands. I am trying to jump-start the Concord wine and in the process of racking it almost any red wine, you tend to get Purple Hands, and Purple Pants, and Purple Shirts, and even Purple Socks. I wondered if Prince could do a song about that...???

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