26 Nov “So what do you do outside of vintage??”
When winemakers resurface from the hard toils of the vintage period, friends inevitably pose the same question: “what the hell do you guys do for the rest of the year?”
Firstly, we don’t just sit around tasting wine all day (that job’s for sommeliers). Wine needs a lot of help to get into a state ready for bottling which requires a lot of attention and work.
Here’s the insider low-down on what really happens:
- White wines need to be made cold and heat stable (so nasty ‘floaties’ don’t appear in your bottles);
- Barrels have to stirred and topped;
- Wines are racked off their ‘gross’ lees;
- Lab analysis has to be undertaken to determine appropriate acid and sulphur adjustments;
- Blending trials/operations;
- Fining trials/ operations;
- Bottling and packaging;
- Cellar preparation for the next vintage (clearing and scrubbing the decks);
- Trade events, wine shows and sales/promotion
Sorry to dispel any myths you may have heard about winemakers lying around playing ping-pong just waiting for wines to “mature”, no time for that!