It’s oh so quiet.

October 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized

The phenomenon of noise during harvest time is not really something that I have considered too much before, or at least until today when we turned off some of our noisy equipment and peace was finally restored in the bodega.

It’s fair to say that the grape picking itself is not a particularly noisy exercise (unless you include tractors buzzing around the vineyards), but then once the fruit enters the bodega, then that’s a different story…..
By far the noisiest piece of kit is the pneumatic press, not quite on the same level as a pneumatic drill, but not too far behind at times. The constant drone and whirring of this huge machine reverberates around the bodega for the duration of the picking – a very familiar noise that is uniquely synonymous with the harvest, and yet at the same time, somehow strangely comforting (reminiscent of the hum of your mother’s vacuum cleaner when you were a small child).

The refridgeration unit of our cooling system is also permanently buzzing away in the background, sometimes assaulting your ears as you step from your car first thing in the morning – the fans and extractors for this system are immediately adjacent to our car park.

Finally, there are the cellar extractors that generate quite a lot of noise, but without which we might all die (I exaggerate not). Don’t forget that one of the main by-products of the alcoholic fermentation is gas, in the form of carbon dioxide. Without a system to remove this, the cellar would soon become a very dangerous place as a deadly blanket of this practically odourless killer would form at ground level. On the odd occassion when you momentarily forget this and put your face too near the top of a fermenting tank, you are very quickly reminded as the CO2 simply takes your breath away – not something you do too often!

I should also make mention that once the fermentation was under way, we then had to turn our attention to a bit of bottling – to catch up with our backlog of orders. Even when wearing a pair of ear defenders the constant clanking of bottles for hours on end still manages to rattle your brain. Not really a harvest related sound, but very noisy nonetheless.
The point of my story is really to say that the fermentations (and bottlings) are all now finished, and for the first time since the 2009 campaign started, the extractors have been turned off, and the bodega has fallen silent once again.

If only I could get Angela to fall silent for a day or two (those of you who know her will of course realise that this is just wishful thinking)!

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