12 May 2010

barrels and other glamorous undertakings

Today I got the start of my short internship here. Tim McNeil, head winemaker at Kilikanoon, apologized for giving me a "non-glamorous job"--I'm just so happy to be here!

My first task is to wash out barrels. I imagine that the 28 barrels we have out in the warehouse are from the new vintage of the Duke Grenache, as it is in the process of going into the bottle.

The contraption used has a long arm and then a nozzle that turns, shooting hot water out in every direction to get the entire barrel clean. It takes 3 minutes for each barrel, so I was equipped with a stopwatch so there was enough time to get the barrels clean but not waste precious water. Yep, that's really me--stopwatch, barrel gloves, and "gumboots".

You spin a barrel around so the hole for the stopper (or bung) goes from the top to the bottom, draining a little wine. Then turn a bit more so the nozzle can fit in, then straight down and turn on the water. After 3 minutes, angle up to get the nozzle out and then back down one more time for the rest of the water to drain out. Those gloves became important in a hurry!

It smelled rich and sweet as the first bit of wine came out of the barrel, and then the hot water took over--I had my very own steam facial going on!

Good news--after I finish washing 28 barrels, I get to TASTE some Duke--yes, I will work for wine!

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