The grapes were all in by lunchtime Saturday, which meant the harvest festival on Sunday really did celebrate the end of harvest. The last fruit was beautiful Carignan, some of which will go into Red Socks 2016. All the ferments that need to have started have started, and quite a few have finished. The pickers have all gone back to their normal lives, but we winemakers still have a lot to do. Twice daily remontages on the last of the tanks of red, constant cleaning and checking of tanks, making sure the barrels are ready.
We get to the winery at 8, instead of before 7. We might take a little longer over coffee. Why not? There aren't any grapes coming in. Like chefs finished their shift, we perform a deep clean of every piece of equipment. Even the comports, the red ones and the fucking bastard ones, get soaked in caustic soda and then pressure washed.
It's easy to get complacent at this time. Without the adrenaline rush and urgency of processing fruit, and the exhaustion that comes in the wake of it, it's times like this that mistakes can be made. A hat not cleaned, a valve not tightened. Even just simple things like paying attention going down a ladder - remembering to watch where you step. All it takes is a little bit of carelessness to undo a month's; a year's worth of work. So there's a bit of walking on egg shells right now.
But for the most part it's good. There's a sense we've done it right. The wines are tasting good. It's just a matter of continuing to do our jobs and see it through until the very end.
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