Bottling is sitting down to write a college term paper. Bottling is driving from North Carolina to Manhattan in one stretch. Bottling is doing your tax returns in a day. Bottling is running a marathon. No matter what time you start, it's going to take all day; it's going to be painful; you'll be lucky if you finish before midnight. If bottling is entering a black hole, then what's on the other side?
If there is one piece of advice to share about bottling, follow the example of Tom Sawyer white washing the fence. Bottling is fun. Bottling is celebrating the new wine. Bottling is tasting what you're packaging. Bottling is fellowship and meant to be shared with good friends, not a penitence for sins known and unknown, not a purgatory to be suffered in solitude. As I ran around, methodically performing all of the bottling functions (filler, quality inspector, corker, case stacker, labeler and taster), I put out a distress call to Merlot Mike disguised as an invitation to taste the new wine with free food (I made a Tangier's chicken using fresh Myers Lemons and olives from our property which wasn't half bad). And Merlot Mike, like himself, recovered from yesterday's massive harvest, ascended the winery with friends and family and took up the corker and was faster than old John Henry working that manual machine like lightening and corking those bottles. Owen watched and talked with the dog. Mark stacked the cases and Nancy tasted the wines and food. Light appeared at the end of the tunnel. Their response to my 911 plea rescued me and fulfilled their pledge to the winemaker's creed: thou shalt not rest when they winemaking neighbor is still laboring over the bottles, or the crush pad, or the vines, especially on Labor Day.
|Rainbow landing in Valley Center, CA before|
Palomar Mountain. View from Blue-Merle Vineyard.
We sent them forth to retire for the evening and went back inside the winery to finish bottling the bottom of the barrel when the phone rang and it was Merlot Mike telling me to step outside where, behold, I found out what's on the other side of the bottling black hole: a double rainbow that arched from the vineyard in Valley Center where we pick the Petite Sirah to the sky above our heads landing just behind Merlot Mike's estate.
What's on the other side of your black hole?