Friday, June 25, 2010

WineBoy Thought I Was Joking!

Oh the fun I have as the wife of a man obsessed with wine-making...

So today he E-mails me to tell me about this guy who gets a wide variety of California vinifera delivered to Durham. We’re literally talking about TONS of grapes. So Robbie and I are E-mailing back and forth, and I tell him we should get a half of ton.

He thought I was kidding. The thing is, I love the idea of making a large batch of wine from good quality grapes. I think it would be a great learning experience for us, and more selfishly, I think it would be some tasty wine. The thought of hundreds of bottles of homemade zinfandel just makes me warm and happy.

But upon further thought, a half of ton of grapes is A LOT of grapes. So much so that the amount of additional wine storage containers that we would have to purchase makes it a bit out of our budget for this year. Upon further discussion, we’re thinking maybe .25 tons. That would still be a large batch (I think about 180 bottles) and we could reasonable get everything we needed.

This whole idea led to a discussion over dinner (in which I enjoyed a nice glass of Ravenswood Zinfandel) about the remodeling we need for our wine-making space. We currently make wine in our basement. It’s a nice large unfinished space. But unfortunately it’s also the land of misfit household items and yard supplies. We have an area that is somewhat sequestered for winemaking, but it’s sadly disorganized, and is not the sterile environment that it really should be.

The most dysfunctional part of the space is that there is no sink. Additionally, we don’t have enough appropriate shelving for carboys, or for finished wine. The carboys are on nice metal shelves, but it’s also impossible to effectively rack wine because there isn’t enough space above them. We have a nice work bench, but it’s always cluttered due to the lack of storage.

We bought an additional rack for bottle storage from Wine Enthusiast not too long ago. But when we took it out of the box to put it together, it was missing a piece. Robbie has made several calls and they have not been helpful thus far. So now we have the pieces for an additional wine rack that can’t get built cluttering the space.

On the opposite end of our “cellar” we have double doors to the outside. There is a spigot right outside the door which makes it easy for cleaning large equipment like the crusher and de-stemmer, but the area outside the door is dirt and grass which means we have mud if we’re out there working for more than five minutes.

So prior to getting our ginormous shipment of grapes, we are going to try to get our space better organized. I need to go down and take some before photos, so that we can share the progress. Priority one on for “Operation Wine Space” is the sink. We may not get it all complete by August, but I’m sure we can make some great progress.

For any of you winemakers out there, if you have some solutions that have worked for you when organizing your wine space, we’d love to hear them. In the meantime, we’ll be off to the drawing board!