June 28, 2011
Many people do not realize how much of making wine is actually spent cleaning the equipment, floors, and about everything else. As the intern, I have had the wonderful experience of cleaning quite a bit of Galena Cellars in the past few days. But, I’m jumping ahead of myself.
Let’s start with last Thursday. We bottled Rhubarb in the afternoon. The nice thing about bottling fruit wines is that they don’t require a capsule because they use a colored cork. Since my previous job (capsule placer) was not needed, I dumped on bottles. The bottling line at Galena Cellars goes a lot slower than the line that I am used to working on. It was nice to go at a slow pace. However, as much of a pain as it is to keep up with a line that is running fast, I do miss being able to bottle 500 gallons in 45 minutes instead of 2 hours. When a delivery of wine came and Pedro (the worker that was taking the bottles off the line) had to go unload the truck, I was able to run the line all by myself .Thank you years of fast bottling. The only trouble I had started about 10 minutes in when the corker became jammed and decided to not cork about 2 cases of bottles. The bottling isn’t bad at all.
They have plastic conveyor belts which help to soften the noise of the bottles being dumped on the line. I will be bottling the remainder of the Rhubarb tomorrow along with some Cranberry. After bottling, we started cleaning the back of the bottling room.
On Friday, I cleaned out the entire bottling room while everyone else helped get ready for the Top of Illinois Wine Festival that was happening the next day. I spent a good 6 hours on that room. I cleaned everything from the windows to the mounds of dirt under the machines to the conveyor belts. It was a lot of work and I was covered in dirt by the end of the day but it was worth it. The bottling room looks spectacular! Almost everyone has commented on how clean it is. I got off work early on Friday and drove to northern Indiana to spend my weekend there.
Chris and I cleaned out the back room of the barrel cellar on Monday morning. This room had just a little bit of everything in it. I probably found about 40 bunches of plastic grapes that we decided to save for decoration. We found old wine, magazines, bottles (some were shaped like Christmas trees), and a pump among other things. After lunch, Chris put me in charge of relabeling all of the tanks and then taking a SO2 reading on all of them. I started the SO2s around 2pm on Monday and finished at 1pm on Tuesday. I did 23 SO2s and I now feel like I am the SO2 pro! I also took a pH of all the wines and determined the recommended SO2 level for .8ppm SO2. Tomorrow, I will be adding SO2 to most of the tanks. Luckily, Chris does an excellent job of topping all of the
tanks off so we don’t have to worry too much about oxidation although it’s always good to play it on the safe side. We mixed the tanks up by bubbling nitrogen through the wine. This allows the SO2 to be fully incorporated into the wine without oxidizing the wine by pumping it.
After lunch today, Britt and I helped Chris mix up some Sangria for this weekend and then we spent 2 hours out in the vineyard suckering and cutting back the vines so the weeds can be sprayed later this week.
I’m loving my time in Galena this summer and I am learning so much! I can’t wait to learn more in the coming weeks.