Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Pick, Stomp, Breathe

By Jessica Yadegaran
Monday, October 23rd, 2006 at 11:47 am in Uncategorized.

I got to work a harvest this month. Sort of. Clos Du Val, one of Napa’s best examples of superior winemaking at reasonable prices, had a little event for its wine club members and Jenny and I got to participate. If, like me, you’ve always wondered what it’s like, here’s a glimpse:

We wore gloves and clipped the grapes off the vines and dumped them in a big tray. When the trays were full, we carried them into a big bucket, making sure to take out the leaves. Then, I got to stomp the grapes. Yes, with my feet, I Love Lucy style. Winemaker Bernard Portet insisted he did it the same way with his brother Dominique (now of Domaine Portet in the Yarra Valley of Australia), some 30 years ago, but that the juice is not drinkable.

Apparently, one SF woman didn’t hear him. She was sipping the  stuff from a glass, all mauve-y and Jolly Rancher-looking with floating skins and stems. Odd. We used it to tie-dye our T-shirts. While the experience was more of a contest, competing with other winemakers, it gave me an idea of how difficult vineyard work is, and how critical it is to be thorough at the beginning of the wine making process.

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