Friday, December 19, 2014

Harvest

If there's anything I learned during my harvest experience, it's that wine-making is not a job for the weak.

During Harvest at White Rose, Amber and I donned our suspenders and XL shirts, and set out to accomplish a variety of different tasks.  Our wonderful supervisor, Jesus, showed us how to use a hose connected to a "keg" of wine to fill barrels.  Amber and I had a pretty good system going: one of us would top off the barrel while another would clean the rubber stopper, or bung.  We later found out this is normally a one-person job, but Jesus did assure us that we made it go faster. 

The most difficult task we worked on was definitely pump-overs.  In order to macerate the grapes and bring out flavors to the wine, we stood for about half an hour over the tank, holding firehoses that drew wine from the bottom of the tank and sprayed it over the top.  As others have mentioned on this blog, if one leans too far over the tank, they can be exposed to fumes that could cause fainting.  I don't know if it would be better to fall in the tank or off the ladder. Luckily, none of us are able to answer this question.

Jesus also showed us other areas of the winery, and other jobs that take place during Harvest.  Unlike most modern wineries, White Rose likes to take it old-school and use a man-powered grape press.  Not only is this very unique to White Rose, it also makes the wine-making process much more hands-on.

Probably what I appreciated most about this experience was learning both about the process and about the work that goes into it.  We could talk all day about different vinification methods and their results, but it's practically impossible to learn about the "Harvest Experience" without being there.

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