The mornings are cold now. And the bins don’t throw off heat anymore either.
Fermentation is practically done; now it’s an exercise in revealing structure, an exercise in extracting all of the purity and all of the grace and all of the goodness that these grapes we’ve picked this year have to give over.
The last day of harvest can never be accurately calendared. Every day we taste through fermenting bins to determine whether the specific box and any of its mates are ready to press off, are ready to move on to the next phase in becoming. There is no end date certain; it’s all about feel and palate and hope and imagination.
In many ways uncertainty is at the heart of great winemaking and great wine. Wine is evolving constantly, sometimes flickering to life – like the Mayfly – only for a moment, and sometimes taking many decades just to awake from its slumber. Wine never remains static. As a winemaker, working to make the best wines in the world, my work is mostly trying to capture that precise moment (as far as blending goes) when this wine has the greatest capacity to change in the most beneficent and delicious way possible. It is never easy, but I’ve learned to live with and celebrate, even, wine’s ephemerality, its relationship to Time that is outside of my true understanding. Once you really know that this thing that you are making and are in love with will not last forever but will die someday, you respect its beauty and mystery that much more.