This is how it should be

One of my bins of Viognier grapes.
One of my bins of Viognier grapes.
The wasps and hornets were still too wet and cold while we were picking.
The wasps and hornets were still too wet and cold while we were picking.

My alarm went off at six this morning so I could be at the vineyard at seven to pick Viognier grapes.  No lovely sunrise to photograph as it had been raining, but we needed to pick these grapes today.  Having a crew of students doing the picking must have been painfully slow to watch, but we did get three very full bins in about three hours.

When I first got into the bin of Syrah grapes.
When I first got into the bin of Syrah grapes.
Lots of juice means we did a good job of crushing the berries.
Lots of juice means we did a good job of crushing the berries.

Back on the crush pad a few of us foot stomped about three hundred pounds of the Syrah grapes, the ones that came into the cellar yesterday with the Praying Mantis.  When my feet hit the grapes it felt like they were instantly frozen!  To keep the blood flowing in your toes, you stomp with gusto.  It was fun to do, at least once.  The juice is slick, so exiting the bin you have to be careful that your frozen feet don’t slip.  Thankfully a warm water rinse was provided immediately after we got out – Sabrina, you are a lifesaver.

Very cold feet dyed red.
Very cold feet dyed red.
The Viognier grapes headed to the cellar.
The Viognier grapes headed to the cellar.

Lest you think this is all we do, there are frequent detours to various lectures and labs, but you have been through school, so no need to elaborate on that since crush is so much more interesting.

Untoasted oak chips added directly to the Viognier grapes as they were hosed into the Syrah.
Untoasted oak chips added directly to the Viognier grapes as they were hosed into the Syrah.
Noble Rot on a cluster of Viognier grapes, along with a few hangers-on.
Noble Rot on a cluster of Viognier grapes, along with a few hangers-on.

With an audience of the culinary students, we destemmed the Viognier grapes: most went into the press while about three hundred pounds were put on top of our foot-stomped Syrah with untoasted oak chips for aromas and tannins.  Syrah grapes are a lovely, gently grape; the other additions support the aromas and tannins in the wine.  We topped the bin with the destemmed Syrah.  I was holding the hose as the grapes came into the bin.  When the last of the grapes were being ‘walked’ in our muscled Enology instructor, Tim, gave it a heave up just about throwing me into the grapes by whipping the hose.  Yet another lesson learned: plant your feet when you hold a 4″ hose because you never know when something might happen to attempt to snap it out of your hands.

My Syrah foot-stomping buddies with the very full bin of juice.
My Syrah foot-stomping buddies with the very full bin of juice.
This is how we will keep track of what has been done and what still needs doing with this wine; great team effort for a special wine.
This is how we will keep track of what has been done and what still needs doing with this wine; great team effort for a special wine.

Several of our students and maybe even some guest students foot stomped the Barbera to round out the cellar activities.

Back in the vineyard we took the clips off of the Semillon grapes that we will pick in the morning; another early day!

Not expecting anything exciting on the crush pad Friday, but we begin to care for the Syrah-Viognier juice through the weekend.

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