I felt like a kid in a candy shop (or my grown up self with expendable income in the same candy shop) when we checked on the previous batch of Chard that had been fermenting in barrel for a week.
It was sheer magic shining torches into the barrels and watching the mesmerising streams of effervescence bubbling away. Fermentation! It’s incredulous that something so simple can bring such a huge grin to my face.
By now I was well practiced in the art of not being able to lift a lug box higher than my boobs. I helped transfer a few of the lower boxes into the crusher...before being asked to stack the empty boxes instead!
So I stacked, and watched as the crushed grapes snaked their way through the pump (I can’t let go of the way it looks like an anaconda on a vegan diet of green mush) and into the press. I expected to taste a massive difference in the Chard compared to the Chenin. But...my cheeky finger dips into the press juice tasted much the same as the Chenin...still deliciously sweet, cold apple juice. And still the strange kiwi skin scent.
We pumped from press to tank, which filled up remarkably quickly. In fact, we quickly ran out of space. That’s always a good thing when you produce more juice than anticipated. So the extra juice was used to top up the fermenting Chard downstairs in the deliciously cool barrel room. A much needed and refreshing 15º C.
Some of them only sealed by resting a bung upside down over the barrel hole (we ran out of bubblers)...I felt like a bit of a nunu because I got halfway through the task before being reminded not to push the bungs all the way in. Obviously! Fermentation...CO2...explosion...duh! It really is so strange being in a working winery where you’re constantly trying to interpret a textbook into real life actions.
Lessons learned this day:
- It turns out that SO2 is not my friend. There was a coughing fit when we rinsed the sealed barrels with SO2 after spilling some must whilst topping them up.
- It also turns out that I’m really bad at pouring from a bucket into a barrel.
- Am I really only good for cleaning crates?
All in all, a pretty serene day at the winery. So I was surprised to see that I’d tracked 14 987 steps.