House Dolan | Sigil White tank bursting at seams on a crimson field | Words Make it fit
If you are a Game of Thrones fan you will understand the previous statements. For the rest of you it represents how some of us view the looming three months otherwise known as “vintage”.
To be perfectly honest most of the time you are excited about the prospect of vintage and getting right in amongst it. Other times you find yourself staring at a map of the tank farm wondering “where is it all going to fit”?
Unlike most other industries, all our produce (grapes) comes in at one specific time of year and we have to make a year worth of wine in 3 months. The rest of the year we just sit around playing table tennis and tending chickens! (Refer previous blogs and Facebook posts).
During pre-vintage we are busy bringing out all the equipment that we only get to use once a year (e.g. presses, crushers) and getting them serviced, cleaned up and giving them a test run. In reality wine making is 60% cleaning and 40% moving heavy stuff around.
We visit all our growers’ vineyards to check out their vines and see how the grapes are progressing. We also bottle last year’s wines to empty out tanks and barrels to make room for the upcoming vintage. Space is at a premium.
2015 is shaping up to be a great vintage. I am going to say it is the vintage of the Millennium… there I said it! We have had the perfect growing season, certainly the best one I have had the privilege of witnessing. A mild spring and summer with some significant rainfall events to give vines a much needed drink was followed by a dry January and warmer weather in February to help complete the ripening phase.
During vintage we are working long shifts, 7 days a week to process the grapes quickly and also with as much tender loving care as possible to produce some absolute cracking wines. There is lots of physical work to be done such as hand plunging open pots digging out fermenters, carrying heavy stuff around and of course cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.
The grapes are due on our doorstep at any moment, so off to work we go. See you in 3 months!