I can’t remember the last time that I was this physically and intellectually exhausted. Oh, yeah, just a few months ago when I worked in Cote-Rotie last fall. At Sutton Grange, the day starts at 7am, ends at 8-10pm and goes non-stop. When I arrived, the merlot and merlot/rose(young vines) had already been picked and since, we’ve brought in some sangiovese, viognier and more merlot. The day begins with checking the cap temperature, must temperature and density of all the small batch ferments. Next, I calculate the enzyme and sulfur additions to the arriving fruit. We then de-stem or press the grapes in an Italian pneumatic press called the Enoveneta PP26. On the whites and roses we do a cold stabilization to encourage settling and reduce oxidation. I am also checking brix or sugar level to determine potential sugar level. I also calculate density and must temperature as another reference to measure potential alcohol. I reexamine tartaric acid and ph. We are also doing some carbonic maceration on the younger vines. Then it is time to examine the vineyard grapes with the above measurements to determine when we will pick the variety and if so, which specific rows of vineyards. I clean non-stop. I taste non-stop. I’ve handled fourteen to sixteen hour office days when I started in investment banking but winery work compounded by jet lag has me thoroughly exhausted. That said, I am happy to be here and am finding my work extremely rewarding. The dots are connecting. The staff is hard working and kind but importantly, I am making seven varieties of biodynamic wine with a dedicated, artisan winemaker from Burgundy.
I arrived to Australia last Friday, after a thirty plus hour transit including pre-arrival and waiting time. Luckily, I was able to sleep a good portion of the flights so I arrived quite chipper and excited. My Qantas flight was helmed by predominately male flight attendants. While doing some stretching, I had a quick chat with one of the flight attendants about wine. He asked me where I was sitting and a few minutes later, he arrived with duty-free bag that contained an interesting riesling and a very good sangiovese: a good commencing omen for my Australia trip!
The food thus far has been outstanding. I’ve already been to two of the top three restaurants in the area. I am also surprised at how balanced the wines have been. Like anywhere, there is a large variance of quality but there is wide assortment of varietals as the Australians are quite experimental. One of the winery workers is even making his own tempranillo on his pop's(father's) land.
The affects of the well-publicized Australian drought are very apparent at winery. Water levels are low because of the lack of rain. It is about eighty degrees today and the weekend forecast is ninety-eight degrees. It will be a challenge to pick all the fruit at optimum ripeness as the weather pattern has become exaggerated quite quickly. Need to hop(seen many a kangaroo family