Monday, February 15, 2010


Got up at 3:30 this morning for the savignon blanc harvest. After lots of cleaning and a few technical difficulties, we got going at around 8 or 9 and harvested til around 4:30. Here's what harvest looks like:

That's the farm in the background. The further table in the picture is where the grapes start out in bunches, then get sorted. Raisins and bad bunches get thrown out. Then the grapes go through this gauntlet of machinery that moves them around like the ball in a game of mouse trap. They go through a big de-stemmer machine, then emerge at the table in the foreground of the picture, where they get sorted a second time (this is where I tend to spend most of my time). Here's a picture of the second sorting table from today:

Smaller stems, any unwanted grapes, and the occasional ladybug get removed. Then, the juice and grape skins get sent over to the big press which, when it is full, presses out the rest of the grape juice into a bin underneath. That juice is outrageously sweet -- the sugars are what eventually turn into the booze. From the bin, it gets transported to one of the big tanks in the cellar. (Red wine is a bit different -- the juice spends time in the tank with the skins before getting pressed). From there, the winemaking process starts. Don't fully know what goes into that yet, but I will. I did some yeast-adding at one point last week. Plus, Kris recently got three small tanks that we are going to use to make some very small batch wines on our own. That should be really fun, and a good way to get to know the full process.

Totally unrelated: listened to the radio while briefly in the car today. A Cape Town station had sent one of their "reporters" to Dallas for the NBA All-Star game. His report was amusingly bad. He kept raving about all the superstars he saw, but could only think of Lebron James, and "Dwayne Howard" when asked to list them. He also said how amazed he was when "Nate Johnson" of the Knicks won the slam dunk contest. I briefly felt really smug after hearing that awful report, until the gas station attendant made fun of me for having no idea about some big rugby match that happened last weekend. Oops. Think I'll at least learn the rules of that sport so I can know what people are talking about. That and cricket.

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