Harvest season in the wine industry is hot, thirsty work.
The vines are covered with a summer’s worth of dust, and inhabited by black widow spiders and other crawling, climbing, biting insects. Workers who peel back the bird netting draped over the vines have the pleasure of removing dead birds, squirrels and possums entangled in the net. Driving the tractors which tow the picking bins up and down the rows is hot work too, and bees follow the picking bins in swarms, lying thick on top of the sweet, sticky grapes.
When you criticize a winemaker’s wine, you are, in essence, criticizing his cooking. Nearly all winemakers are intensely interested in food: fresh ingredients, gentle techniques, attractive presentation. The same things that go into making wine. Cellars are generally tidy places. The wines move in routine and carefully planned stages through pressing, tanks, barrels, adjustments, bottling. Winemakers shuffle around in the cellar tasting the wines as if they were pasta sauces, waiting a little longer on some, blending here and there, time to finish up on others.
Filtration makes a wine brighter and clearer by removing excess sediment and haze. Some wineries may decide not to filter their wines because they feel that the unfiltered wines taste better and have superior mouthfeel. There is no single correct answer; winemakers decide for themselves what is right for their product. Some red wines are filtered; some are not.
In a British Columbia article titled “Where’s the Organic Wine?” the author says:
Conventional wine may also be produced naturally, or may include more than a dozen additives, such as synthetic yeasts, sulphite preservatives and taste and appearance enhancers. Natural, organic methods rely on cultured, not genetically modified yeast for initial fermentation.
“Do your wines contain sulfites? My friend is very allergic and she’ll go into shock if she drinks wine containing sulfites.”
That’s enough to scare me silly. All I need is to have a gasping, cyanotic customer on the floor. “Well, uh,” I stammer, “then perhaps she’d better not have any, just in case.” And I pull the glass back.
He hangs on to the glass. “So your wines do have sulfites, then?”