We did a crush a couple of weeks ago.  Mid-week ones are harder to staff because most of the people who frequent the winery and get on the helper list have J-O-B’s!

I was busy and volunteered Hubs to go help unload a couple of tons of white grapes.

There was a delay in the pick-up so by the time I had finished what I was up to I’d only missed about an hour of the hard work.

White grapes are more labour intensive than red.  We have to get them out of the bins, de-stemmed and split, into the press where the juice flows quickly to be transferred into a fermentation tank.

We handle the grapes twice, three times if you count unloading the dry skins once all the juice has been extracted.

Fortunately, due to an upgrade in equipment and re-organisation in the winery, Ray was able to bring the bin we were unloading inside where the AC was…


Cool air and no flies!

The first bin went quickly, what’s a ton among friends?

We started filling the press enjoying a free flow taste of delicious juice from the Blanc du Bois grapes used to make Snow on the Prairie.

Once it was packed tightly,


the process slowed down.  We just couldn’t get enough water pressure to inflate the bladder inside the press to squish the grapes effectively.

Our central water system in the city of Weston was experiencing problems.  We were on a boil alert and had been asked to conserve water being diverted to us from another source while we bode our time until new pipes arrived and we could resume pumping from our own well.

We had to wait patiently at home for the toilets to flush…

We had to wait patiently at the winery for the bladder to fill…

We kept a close eye on the splash of juice barely covering the bottom of the 400 gallon tank we were hoping to fill that evening.

The rate we were going it was going to take the rest of the week, except we didn’t have the rest of the week, we had another ton to unload and we had to separate the grapes from their stalks and skins to keep the tannins from building up.

Ray checked the Brix to see where the sugar level was,


declared it satisfactory and we twiddled our thumbs some more.

We were growing restless watching the juice trickle, instead of flow, from the press,

“When you can’t drink the water…drink the wine,” Ray suggested opening one of his unlabelled bottles to raise our spirits and quench our thirsts,

“Salut!” We said clinking glasses


and feeling very French!

“Now is this the Tickled Pink or the Seriously Pink?”  He asked to divert our attention from the nearly empty vat.

We called a halt at about 8pm and went inside for dinner, cooked and served by the wine-maker’s talented wife, Sue.

Nourished and quenched we hung around the winery for another hour listening to the loud plonk of grape juice  as it dripped into the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket…and went home.

The following day we learned that Ray didn’t finish until 2 am (another 5 hours).

“At 10 o’clock last night the water was turned off…” he explained.

“What?” we gasped.

“Yep, the water board thought 10 would be a safe time to turn it off and conserve supplies.  Who’s up taking showers or doing laundry,”

“Or pressing grapes….” we interjected,

“In the middle of the night?” he asked with a touch of sarcasm.

“Well duh!” I said, “doesn’t everyone know the importance of water in the making of wine?”

“I was pissed!” He said pleasantly, “and after a a well phrased call the water was turned back on and I could get on with my job.”

It turned out he almost got his vat filled but the going was slow.

“I have 6 tons coming in next week…” he announced to a captive audience at Pizza Night this week, “so get those vacation requests in, I need all hands on deck!”

“Cheers!” we said raising our frozen beer mugs.

“The water’s all fixed now and the pressure’s up so it shouldn’t take too long.”


Share this:

No comments so far!

Leave a Comment