On a cold day such as this one in California, I can’t help but think about Burgundy. The wine. The weather. The food. It just keeps going in and out of my thoughts. With such a big change coming up with the move(s), I’ve tried to pull back my excitement and let some time pass. As with most things, time has decided against this plan.
With just a few weeks until we are back in Burgundy, moving the wine (Full wine barrels!) to Nuits-Saint-Georges I have been focusing on a technical issue. Put simply, my full barrels of wine need to be placed below the house in the vaulted cave. The punchline? The only access to the cave is going down 10 stairs. This may seem like such a small detail, however, the prospect of dropping a full barrel of wine gives me the instant hollowing sensation in my stomach.
Traditionally, wine barrels were able to be moved down stairs using a rope and hook system which was anchored by two huge holes bored into the top of the stairs in the entry of a cave. There used to be a name for people that provided this service. It seems clear that others have figured out that no matter who is manning the rope system, its a potentially financially painful situation. Keeping this in mind, I’ve decided to take a different approach.
I will place an empty barrel in the cave and siphon (using gravity)a full barrel at the top of the stairs, in the cave entrance. Moving an empty barrel down to replace the now full barrel in the cave as the next to be filled. This seems to be the most practical way of doing this. Next harvest, I will simply fill the barrels in the cave using gravity and bypass the whole barrel siphoning step. I will also be filling the cave with gravel over the existing dirt. Should be fun.