The vineyards are asleep and 2015’s wine is stacked in the cellar. The fast-paced, blue-collar part of making vinifera grapes into liquid romance is tucked away for the time being. Our pictures from harvest are memories that social media sites will remind us of in a year or two or four and we don’t have breath taking scenes of snow to show you despite it being winter; it is presently mid-forties and raining. But we are still active in the cellar, tasting rooms and preparing for the regional events. Did you think winemakers took long winter breaks? Nice to think about though.
At the winery
The equipment we use during harvest has been deep cleaned and maintenance done before it was brought inside for the season: using the pressure washer takes the big chunks of fruit and tartaric acid off, then washing with a strong base and a strong acid with water rinses between and after, sometimes soaking pieces to dislodge seriously stuck bits, and we put them back together and pull them inside the cellar.
- Barrels (used) we purchased are hydrated/cleaned, sulfured and stacked out of the way, ready for next year: newly purchased barrels need newly purchased barrel racks as they don’t come together, rolling the barrels onto the racks and centering them is heavy business. Rotating the bung side down to clean them out, then back to bung side up, takes a bit of muscle too.
- Racking wines from lees and cleaning tanks is just down right messy, but necessary before our mid-winter bottling (yup, bottling happens too).
- Topping barrels as they lose the “Angel’s Share” to evaporation happens about every six weeks: moving full kegs of wine (heavy) and canisters of nitrogen gas, climbing the stacks with a spray bottle to clean the barrels, flashlight to see in the dim light and, of course, the wand (connected to the keg) to fill the barrels takes a bit of agility and muscle.
- Sulfuring wines for preservation isn’t as regular as topping but still done often during the year: climbing the barrel stacks with open pitchers of carefully measured sulfur solutions takes some practice.
- Moving wine from storage to tasting room for direct sale: moving cases of wine is a workout, even with a hand truck.
- Shipping wine orders from distributor, online and telephone orders: shipping cases are heavier than regular cases due to the added protective layers.
- Inventory has been taken (counting cases, barrels and tanks of wine): need to give the brain a workout once in a while too.
- Year-end federal and state tax forms are being completed as they are due before the end of January; this is when being hyper organized comes in handy.
In the tasting room
- Rotating wine as we bring in more: top to bottom, back to front, this is more like aerobics.
- Cleaning, a perpetual chore: you should be able to picture this part well without my description.
- Pouring and selling wine (and cigars, premium cigars): our reason for being!
- Planning an ‘Industry Night’ for next month with Tero Estates and Lodmell Cellars as our anniversary social event: sometimes you just have to give back to those that you care about in your industry.
- Messaging our wine club members with news and sharing it on Social Media: love the messaging, not so much the time I spend on various apps, but it is part of the package deal, so I do it.
- Conversations with our existing vineyard contacts to update contracts: we want to be sure we will have the grape varietals and tonnage we expect so we communicate.
- Checking in with the vineyard manager of our estate vineyards: just friendly banter at this point, maybe some discussion of what has been to anticipate what could be.
- Ordering necessities (i.e. shipping boxes, wine bags, bottles) in a timely fashion: self explanatory, no?
- Paying bills and employee pay checks: we are very lucky to have someone doing our business side at Locati Cellars, Jason takes care of it for Lagana Cellars.
- Seattle Wine and Food Experience, February 20-21
- Oregon Wine Symposium, February 23-24
- Savor Cannon Beach, March 10-13, a wine and culinary festival
Our wines are finished fermenting, both first and second ferments, or we would be babysitting them right now too. Our space is fairly simple to clean, so that is part of our end-of-harvest clean-up (and after messy work); another positive for us. We still have lots to do to bring our wine to you. The best part is when you sip that wine and your eyes light up and a smile crosses your face, ah, that is what it is all about. As you slow down, smell it, look at it, talk about it and continue to enjoy it, all of the effort is worth it.