Bugs in your wine.

In Uncategorized on October 7, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Provocative title, eh? Too much? I’m not trying to gross anybody out or put them off wine, I’m really just trying to give people a realistic look at where the things they eat and drink come from. All wine get some bugs in it, I firmly believe this. The harvesting machines bring in crickets, snails, grasshoppers and the like with the grapes, and flies and bees are attracted to the sugar and you can’t help having a few of them end up in the fermenter. Now, all of the wine’s going to go through multiple stages of settling and filtration, so it’s not like you’re likely to find solid evidence of this by the time the wine reaches your glass, I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that there is no such thing as vegan wine. You might now be thinking, ‘but isn’t all wine vegan, not counting the bugs?’ but sometimes wines are fined, a process that helps clarify it by introducing a protein that will attract heavier particles and cause them to settle to the bottom of the barrel, and one of the preferred options for fining is egg whites. Some vegans have objected, saying this adds animal matter to the wine. Now, I’m not trying to step on anybody’s veganism, I’m just saying that if you object to about one egg white per hundred litres of wine, you might just want to skip wine, because egg whites or no, there’s probably been some snails in there too.

So, that being said, check out this picture. We de-cuved inside today, which is more complicated than doing it outside, where the press moves back and forth between the cuves, and it’s really pretty easy. To do it inside, first we had to jimmy-rig the conveyor, hanging from the straps there, so the wine could be shoveled onto it inside the cuve, then carried out. The thing is, then it had about 4 feet to fall from the conveyor to the auger that pushes it outside, so there are 3 buckets, a mess of plastic, and one Moroccan in charge of making sure everything that falls ends up in the auger. They also had a brilliant solution to the sometimes-the-must-is-too-dry-to-move-easily problem. We installed a pump from the cuve that holds the wine coming out of the press, going back into the box with the auger, this way they were able to pump the wine back into the circuit when necessary, making it flow easier. This also made it a lot easier to fill the press, since the more liquidy the must is, the easier it flows into all the hard to reach corners.
Oh, and also today, I got a speeding ticket. Funny thing is, I didn’t drive today. Apparently they do that take a photo of your car and mail you a ticket thing, which eats because I’m pretty sure I could have done the stupid lost American act if I’d actually been pulled over, and gotten out of it. And it’s not even my fault, I was going 99kph in a 90kph zone, which is really pretty good considering the speedometer on the car doesn’t work. Funny thing is, the ticket didn’t actually come to me, since it’s not my car, it came to Nathalie, so now she’s got to send them a photocopy of my driver’s license with a letter saying “I lent my car to this speed-demon American, please don’t deduct points from my license.”

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