One down, six to go

Precious drops of 2009 syrah dribble toward destinyLast night we pressed the Syrah, sending it barreling toward French oak and malolactic fermentation. It was the first red to finish this year, and the first real test of our reconditioned wine press, so we weren’t totally sure what would come out the other end.

Luckily, what emerged was an inky purple blacksmith of a wine, burly but agile, if not kryptonite for any white garments or pearly teeth nearby. As we loaded it into the press, it filled the basement with an enthralling animal, dark-berry fragrance, and as it cascaded off the trough into the bucket, it tasted full and juicy through the mid and beyond. Wow.

(All images for this post courtesy of our guest photographer, Layla Grice)
Arty shot of the wine press ratchet, ready for business
Our shiny, re-fabbed wine press stands ready for battle.

This summer, I disassembled the press, powder-coated all the rusty metal, and reconditioned the skungy staves. I’ll post more about that later, but my wife dubbed the result “the IKEA wine press” — appliance-white metal and blonde wood (before the syrah hit it, that is). That means we can’t call it a “wine press” anymore, but have to come up with some odd Scando name like Blørt or Skippi or something equally unhelpful in communicating what the heck the thing actually is. Luckily, Norwegian Garagistes outnumber Swedes, so while staying in Scandinavia, I’m going no-nonsense Norskie for the name:

Klem Lager. The squeeze maker.

Holding the ratchet
The mighty hands of the photographer’s father hold the ratchet in place as Roger moves to counterbalance.

When press and grapes near their endgame, it gets harder and harder to ratchet the press. And in fact, you often move the whole press (versus the gearing), since there’s less resistance between press and floor than press and grapes. That’s when Garagistes throw personal safety to the wind and climb aboard, weighing the press down as they grab the ratchet to keep it from moving, rocking back and forth in counterpoint to the lever. It’s a herky, would-you-like-to-touch-my-monkey kind of dance, but it gets the job done.

Our shiny re-fabbed wine press towers over the Syrah
The momentarily pristine wine press towering over the Syrah. I think Layla has an eye for machinery, don’t you think? But where could she have gotten that?

1 comment

1 Comment so far

  1. hillary October 15th, 2009 9:10 am

    Wow, what great pictures! Layla for Photo Editress!