Well another week of ups and downs in the wine trade. The 3 days of
expected 90 degree weather turned into 5 days of heat, and the sugar
levels in the grapes soared. Happy days were here again, but then the
weather report called for a chance of rain showers, and the mood turned
to doom and gloom. The rain showers never materialized, and wine makers
and vineyard owners were all happy again. This is really hard on the
nervous system, ya know?
We are really getting slammed, and are getting fewer vineyard samples in
the lab, but more cellar samples. Lots of 10 - 12 hour days, trying to
get the grapes in as fast as we can make space for them. We need
nitrogen levels on the juice, because ammonia, and alpha amino acids are
the basic nutrients of the yeast. Sugar determines their ripeness.
Potassium determines weather the vines are going dormant. Volatile
acidity (vinegar) determines how well the wine is being treated. Malic
acid tells stability. These and other measurements are needed for the
wine, and to cover our own asses.
I am, more or less, in charge of the lab on Sundays. The lab director is
half my age, and if he wasn't so awesome, it would be humiliating. This
Sunday was my first time with my new Sunday partner, a Spanish/Biology
major at the University of Nevada Reno. No one told me that she was a
hot-shot with a pipette, and I was trying to ease her in to the flow of
the lab. She did her first test to intimidating perfection. I still did
a 12 hour day. We'll do better next time.
And so it goes.
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