As September wanes into October, I think all of us at Domaine Serene were thrilled to bring in and process our first fruit of the vintage today, getting underway a harvest we have all been eagerly anticipating. I don’t feel like I'm going too far out on a limb to claim that all of us down in the cellar did not get into the business because of a passionate and insatiable love of cleaning.These past few weeks we have gotten ready for the main event by scrubbing and re-scrubbing every floor, drain, tank, and barrel in the winery, and let me tell you, this place is CLEAN! We might not have loved every minute of the preparation, but it was well worth it all to bring in our first lot of Walla Walla Syrah and see the juice and skins splatter into our fermenters. To us, the aftermath of the first day of crushing in what had been a pristine cellar is kind of like spending all afternoon perfecting a sandcastle on the beach, and then actually enjoying it more as you don a Godzilla grin and tear it apart.
The winery was absolutely filled with a perceptible energy today, smiling faces running about even as the hours piled up and the sun threatened to disappear before we made it outdoors to enjoy the uncommonly seasonable day. Still, in the midst of all the fun, we were reminded that we had an obligation to fulfill: the pre-harvest weigh in. One by one we dutifully took the place normally reserved for picking bins on the scale and heard our weights yelled out by the watchful throng. I learned that I've got to gain a modest 60 pounds to gain the title of biggest guy in the cellar. A prize will be awarded at the end of harvest to the person with the biggest weight differential--higher or lower. Although we'll all be putting in some seriously long hours over the next few months in a physical job, we'll also be enjoying meals prepared by an in-house chef...so its anybody's guess how our bodies will respond.