Everything up to the press is just foreplay.
The grapes come in and are crushed and shunted off to their fermenters. It is there, whether in tank or plastic boxes, that they will polish and preen, showing off for the winemaker, pouting one day – ebullient and triumphant another.
Each day brings a new set of emotional complications. The winemaker pumps over and punches down, adorning the new wine with the gifts of new love. Each day the becoming-wine responds. Sometimes the response is loin-shaking; sometimes the response is obliteration.
The wine and the winemaker eventually make it to the press. Tumultuous – the time before may have been; easy and inevitable sometimes, too. The winemaker has, in the cool of morning and the stupor of afternoon taken the wine in and brought it to all parts of his mouth, gauging its readiness in its unctuous flowering, the sanding of its edges and recalcitrance.
The wine and the winemaker learn each other…the curves, the amplitude; the deep inhalations, and the final…exclamation.
It is pressed, the pact is made, and they are wedded. Once pressed, there is no undoing.