One of Kevin Vogt’s latest blogs (the one talking about reverse osmosis and spinning cones) got me thinking about the technology we use around the winery. We’re pretty low-tech around Pinot Prison. It’s not that we eschew technology; we just don’t have a lot of it. We do have a crusher-destemmer, a press, a couple of forklifts and a pump. But there are two marvels of modern science that we simply couldn’t make wine without: the 5-gallon white plastic bucket and the 16-ounce plastic cup.
The 5-gallon white plastic bucket seems to have 1,001 uses around the winery. We use the buckets to measure and convey water to fermentors when adjusting Brix levels. Since 5 gallons of water weigh about 40 pounds, a bucket is manageable even when full. It’s relatively easy to estimate 1-, 2-, 3- or 4-gallon additions by eyeball. We use the buckets when rehydrating yeast and ML bacteria. They’re handy for mixing up some water and SO2 when you need to sterilize things. They’re great for collecting and cleaning bungs when doing barrel work. You can use them to catch wine from the end of a hose you’re emptying. And in a pinch, an upside-down one makes a handy stepstool or seat.
The 16-ounce plastic cup is nearly as versatile. We use the cups to measure out SO2 additions for our trashcan-size containers of water, tartaric acid additions to the fermentors and yeast and yeast nutrients. We use 1 cup per fermentor each day during the cold soak period to take a sample for Brix and pH readings. We then use the cups sitting in the fermentors to mark which ones have and haven’t received additions. Each year, we go through a ton of them as spit cups during barrel tastings and blending trials. And we occasionally even use them as the manufacturer had intended--to hold a tasty beverage.
I’m not sure what we’d have used 100 years ago. I know there were equivalent items in those times, but I bet they were a lot heavier and more difficult to obtain. These inexpensive plastic marvels sure make life around the winery easier.
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — December 19, 2006 5:47pm ET
Apj Powers — Dallas, TX — December 21, 2006 4:33am ET
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — December 21, 2006 1:51pm ET
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