>Feeling the Burn

by Grape Stomper Todd on August 26, 2009

>The 2009 grapes are coming and that means the 2008 and 2007 wines need to be put to bed, one way or another. Whether it be bottling, racking, or topping, previous vintages must be stabilized before they get ignored while the 2009 wines are being born.

Being a winemaker is a little like being a time traveler. We must constantly think across multiple years. For instance, I still have 2007 and 2008 wines in barrels needing attention. Yet, the 2009 Harvest is here and those resulting wines won’t be ready until 2010, 2011, or 2012. Thus, I am simultaneously living in the past while forecasting wine demand for the future.

Well, I must have been lost in this time warp today when I was putting the finishing touches on our 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. I was preparing a cleaning solution to sterilize my pump, hoses, valves, etc., and didn’t notice I had a heavy concentration of caustic solution on my arm.

This is never good, anytime.

The chemical is pretty insidious. I didn’t notice I was being eaten alive by the stuff until I was busy with another critical wine operation.

Needless to say, I dropped what I was doing and ran for relief. Unfortunately, the fix for a caustic burn is to neutralize it with acid. Without going into gory detail, just imagine squirting lemon juice into an open wound. For those cult movie fans out there, just think about the film “Fight Club”. I was Jack’s burning arm.

Fortunately, wine offers pain-numbing qualities. So, as I was transferring the lucsious 2007 Cabernet from barrel to tank and back again, I would self-prescribe an occasional “medicial” sip to dull the sensation throughout the day.

This just goes to show, that even when you have a bad day in the wine business, wine makes everything right…even if there will be less 2007 Cabernet to sell next year!

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