A Day in the Life of a Winemaker…Musings on a 55 wine morning!

Today was one of those days where you walk in and are greeted by a counter full of 750mL bottles filled with wine.  Not just any wine mind you but young, red wines.  These are the hardest to taste due to their youth and high tannin content.  Each one is a component of a blend (in this particular case it was Chateau St. Jean Merlot and Cabernet).  The plan is to taste in flights of 10 wines each with the last flight with 5 wines.  This is a bit how this goes…

Wine 1-10

Everyone is very serious and focused.  This flight goes fairly quickly with good conversation about the positives and negatives of the flight at the end. Some people get up to help themselves to the cheese, roast beef, and crackers set out to refresh our pallets.

Wine 11-20

Everyone is still focused and now in a groove.  The flight goes even faster than the first one and there is slightly more discussion about the wines at the end. Most everyone has a plate of cheese at this point.

Wine 21-30

As people start to taste there is a bit more chatting during the initial tasting.  A few jokes are thrown around.  The flight takes about as long as the first flight and since there were several wines that needed some help, treatments were discussed during the conversation at the end. Snack plates are refilled.

Wine 31-40

A pre-tasting discussion about the movie “Love Actually” ensues along with quotes and laughing over particularly funny scenes. Recommendations for other similar movies or movies with the same actors follow as we get down to business.  I can’t remember how that conversation started…Anyway…tasting begins.  Once finished with the evaluation the wines are again discussed though in less detail at this point.  More cheese and crackers are consumed and more movies discussed while readying for the next flight.

Wine 41-50

As I taste the 5th wine of the flight I see a man swinging from a tank building apparatus through the window of the winemaker’s conference room and I try not to bust out laughing.  I manage to spit the wine out to explain to the other tasters that it was not the wine but the sight out the window that had me laughing. Apparently the welders building our tanks were having a bit of a break.  Maybe you had to be there but it was funny…  Back to tasting…discussion…more cheese… you get the rhythm at this point.

Wine 51-55

We realize that we only have 15 minutes left in our allotted tasting AND lunch time and we’re not done with the tasting yet.  A quick pour, taste, and discussion of the last 5 wines ensue.  After a bit of clean up, rinsing dirty glasses, throwing away spit cups (Yes we WERE spitting), and wiping up spills, we quickly grabbed lunch and went on to the remainder of our day with our purple teeth and tongues proudly on display.

With this quick breakdown you can only imagine what a 90-100 wine day would be like…I’m glad it was only 55!

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