A Sip of WineSpirit #182
By Don Corson
Free Run…A Thanksgiving Offering
We are a small winery but at last count we had 21 fermentations on the tasting room blackboard; now we were down to the last three for pressing. A couple of months of travel, squashing grapes, pumping over tanks, pressing and barreling new wine had all come down to these last couple of days, especially now.
“Free run” is the wine in a tank of fermenting grapes that comes out like Noah’s flood as you open the valve near the bottom of the tank. Off it goes into another tank via a hose and in another day or so I will get it into oak barrels for aging.
But this was special. End of the harvest! The last three fermentations and I was going to get them all flowing at the same time. I got all the tanks in place and double-checked the seals and clamps. I got a bottle of an older vintage, a sibling of the same varieties I was going to press. It’s a proprietary blend called “Triomphe” (seemed appropriate). I called my wife for her to come too. I opened the wine and poured us a couple of glasses.
Then, one… two… three… we opened the valves as closely together as we could. The rush of hundreds of gallons of wine surging at the same time and splashing into tanks was thunderous. Splosh, whoosh, stallions stampeding, name the metaphor… it was all there.
After a few minutes things quieted a bit. The wine was over the valve in the new tank and wine was swirling and fizzing in the tank. I climbed a ladder looked in at the spectacle and soaked in the scene of new wine released and transformed from its grapey origins just days ago. Heady aromas of new wine, alcohol, sparkly CO2 and fresh stone fruit preserves captured me. I smiled. All was well.
This is my thirtieth vintage. Moments like these are never old. I can’t imagine delegating this much fun and wonder. This is my job.
In the comparative quiet of still filling tanks I offered a whispered “thank you”. An answer came back. Not in words but in understanding. “You’re welcome”.
I think Elijah had the same experience in a way. It was not in the storm and the wind that God came to him but in the “still small voice”.
As Thanksgiving comes and fills the commercial void between Halloween and end-of-the-year festivities I am going to enjoy the memory of rushing newly released wine and celebrate the harvest now complete. But, I am also alert again to the need for even a whispered genuine “thank you” and the answer that had been there even before I said anything. “You’re welcome”.
REFLECTION QUESTIONS FOR SIPPIN’:
1. What is your noisy place and how do you find silence and the small voices of Spirit?
2. “I soaked in the scene of new wine released and transformed from its grapey origins just days ago. Heady aromas of new wine, alcohol, sparkly CO2 and fresh stone fruit preserves captured me”. What seasonal or culminating activity engages and enlivens your passion and your appreciation for life’s ways and miracles?
3. What energy do you connect with in a heartfelt exchange of Thank You/You’re Welcome?
4. (Raise your own question… as you are invited to do in Sippin’ on Top of the World)