While driving to work this morning I passed a number of wineries, all seeming to be in the midst of a deep winter slumber. The vibe is certainly different from the frenzy of harvest time; but underneath this perception of inactivity, I know much is going on. A talk with Evelyn should clarify things.
Mike T: Many people believe that after harvest, the wine gently matures during the winter months, while the winemakers (and their staff) spend their time in Hawaii (or shopping at the mall). True?
Evelyn W: Yeah, right. Actually there is more than enough to do.
Mike T: Like?
Evelyn W: Let’s start with house cleaning. Equipment gets used over and over again during harvest. We finally have the time to clean, repair and store the equipment properly. Then there is the ongoing task of topping wine barrels of older vintages; finishing malolactic fermentation in the new red wines; heat and cold stabilizing the new whites in preparation for bottling; blending wines in preparation for spring bottling; preparing the bottling line and refurbishing the bottling room.
Mike T: Wow!
Evelyn W: I’m only getting started. One of the most difficult tasks is the scheduling of our spring and summer bottling. Our own wine takes precedence in the schedule, but we bottle dozens of wines for clients, and it’s no easy task creating a workable schedule.
Mike T: How about winemaking?
Evelyn W: That where the fun begins. We have been doing lab analyses on the new wines and we are starting to come to grips with the qualities of the 2010 wines.
Mike T: First reactions to any of the wines?
Evelyn W: We’ve taken a good look at each lot of the 2010 Chardonnays, and I’m quite pleased with what I see. The wines fermented completely dry, and the acid levels are good.
Mike T: So Waikiki (or even Codding Town) is not in your plans?
Evelyn W: Just as soon as I finish my “To Do” list.