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Day 43 of Clare Valley Vintage - Going stir crazy

Published:  23 July, 2008

G'day Folks. The Easter bunny was very good to KT last weekend.

I have the extra kilos to show for it I also have some brand new French oak barrels now filled, some Riesling ferments happily bubbling away and lots of exciting plans lined up for the glasses in front of my nose.

Whilst I wasn't sent a fairy god cellarhand to help me with all my work, a morning sleep in or a day without something grape derived, I now have a great sense of achievement that all my precious babies are taking the next step towards winehood.

The problem with a change in vintage momentum when all grapes are harvested, is that you realize just exactly how exhausted you are - mentally and physically. I'm a mess. There is still plenty to do so don't get me wrong, but there is not the same level of energy or panic. I now have more time to realise that everything hurts and well that just hurts!

If you are ever offered the experience of working a vintage you should jump at the chance for all of the wonder and beauty that is winemaking but please be prepared for the following;

1. Your hands will swell, ache, dry up and remind you of your grandfathers.

2. A bad hair day will be one of the better ones.

3. Your appetite will scare you. You'll crave carbohydrates and there will be nothing complex about them.

4. You have a great excuse for not paying bills, getting to meetings or even worse - remembering dates. Grapes are a great scapegoat.

5. You get away with doing the craziest of things. I kissed my fermenting Riesling tanks good night and it seemed quite normal.

6. You do and can wear the same clothes for days on end. (I at least change my undies and socks I promise)

7. Your feet are always wet when working in a cellar - in fact everything seems to be wet and covered in sticky juice, wine or grapes.

8. Any cut on your finger will somehow attract acid, caustic or yeast infections very quickly and it really hurts. See point 1.

9. Social interaction is a new experience - you either miss it all together or are there in body and not really in mind. Vague is the new black during vintage.

10. I can't remember anything else. See point 9.

You will of course build memories of a lifetime, challenge yourself and your constitution, learn lots along the way and realise that we are all little pieces of one great big puzzle. It really is lots of fun. So despite my exhaustion I wouldn't change a thing except for maybe point 4 oops.

Kerri Thompson is winemaker/director of KT & The Falcon