Cold machineLast week the bodega was closed for a short break before our busiest time of year. At this stage there is little that can be done in the vineyards, and so we take advantage to give our team a chance to re-charge their batteries before the main event – our harvest! Or at least that is the theory….. the reality is that most of our team were working.

It’s a bit of a convoluted story, and revolves around one very important piece of bodega equipment. Our ‘cold machine’. I suppose I should really call it our refrigeration unit, but in our daily conversations it is simply known as the cold machine. This super important piece of kit actually does two jobs: This is the machine that we use to chill the wine to below freezing for cold stabilisation (to prevent the formation of tartrate crystals in the finished wine), and most importantly (at this time of year), it forms the very heart of our temperature control system, without which the fermentation would simply career out of control. So, how does this relate to our holidays I hear you ask? Let me quickly explain.

In the period leading up to the harvest we have all our equipment serviced, including of course, the cold machine, and whilst we have refrigeration engineers here in Galicia, none of them really specialise in wine equipment. Probably the best company in Spain is based in Barcelona, and they are so highly sought after in the wine business that you don’t tell them when they should come, they tell you when they’re available. On this occasion the only time that they could come to Galicia was during our scheduled closure, and this left us with no choice – consequently many of our team have been working to accommodate them.

It transpires that we needed much, much more than a simple service. Many of the component parts and systems had been ‘cobbled together’ by different engineers over the years, so much so that our beloved machine was almost an accident waiting to happen! The result is that more than a week later the engineers are still here, and by the time they leave, we will almost have a completely new machine. Heaven only knows what all this will cost, but suffice to say that this piece of equipment is so central to our entire wine making process, that it is a simply a price that we have to pay.

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