|Pumping wine from tank to barrels|
|Laura and I with our tanquette of rose|
To celebrate the end of Harvest, we had a huge dinner with everyone from the production staff and vineyard office. It was so great to look back on the hundreds of hours of hard work and say "we did it"! The winemaker gave Laura and I a very nice toast, and made us feel really appreciated. Now that the hardest part is over, I will still be here for one more month to continue the winemaking process.
I also got to add a new assignment to my lab work; measuring the level of alcohol in our wines. I thought this was really interesting because I have always been curious as a consumer about the mysterious "14%" or "13.5%" on my wine bottles. At Hanzell, which has the second oldest lab still in use in the entire country, we use an ebulliometer.
First I ignite a wick at the bottom of the contraption and place my sample in and cover it with a thermometer, filling the small chamber with cold distilled water. I let the sample heat until I have its boiling point. The first sample I run is with water, because I need the boiling point of H2O in order to calculate and converge the boiling point of wine into the percentage of alcohol. This must be done several times in between wine samples because the boiling point of water is constantly changing due to atmospheric changes. This has soon become my favorite lab work, earning me the title of "Alcohol Queen"!
Winemaking is truly a juggling act. When one difficult task such as harvesting grapes is complete, there are 10 more things that need to be added to your plate. It is a job that encompasses chemistry, mathematics, people skills, physical labor, agriculture, sensory analysis and so much more. Take a moment and let your mind wonder what hard work went into your next glass of wine. Cheers!
|Tasting through 24 tanks of fermenting Pinot Noir|