Today I took a PTO day from my day job. I actually try and do that as little as possible since I need all of those days at harvest time. Today though was a have to day off.
The EPA decided for some reason unknown to absolutely everyone but themselves to declare that Sulfur Dioxide Gas used to disinfect barrels is now a Restricted Use Chemical. This has lead to general chaos in the wine industry as everyone has to now go out and get a license and pass a test that most have never had to do before. To make things worse no one in state or local government seems to know what we’re supposed to do to take the test or prepare for it.
Bill Cooper from Cooper Garrod though stepped up and worked with the Wine Institute to put together a list of requirements and set up a training class for local winemakers today from 8am – 1pm. There were 15 of us, Jeffery Patterson from Mount Eden, Bradley Brown from Big Basin, Bill Cooper and Jan Garrod from Cooper Garrod, plus winemakers from Woodside, Bonny Doon and 1/2 dozen other wineries.
One thing we quickly established was that each of us had been told something different by our county Ag Office and the instructor from Sacramento said that Santa Clara had it the most wrong, followed by Santa Cruz, with San Mateo, ‘About 70% right”. I won’t bore you too much with the details, but we went through the study guide and sample test and it turns out only 4 of the 105 questions we’ll get have anything at all to do with using SO2 in Wine Barrels, even though this permit is just for using SO2 in wine barrels.
I scored 104/105 on the sample test and thanked Bill for putting everything together then headed off for the winery. I had to start mixing the Bentonite for fining tomorrow and do a few other minor tasks at the winery. In all I spent about 90 minutes there before heading down the hill to visit the Harrisons. We put a small Syrah vineyard in for them two years ago, and they wanted to expand it on their own.
I purchased the vines for them. Since I buy vines regularly I get a good rate from the nursery, about 50% of what they’d pay to order 75 vines, so I added their vines to my order. I spent a few minutes showing them how to plant the vines and also explained how to sucker and when to start tying up the young vines.
It was 4PM before I headed home. A full day of work on my day off. I didn’t mind at all though, it’s all fun work for me to do, and I enjoy the pretty rare chance to catch up with all the other local winemakers.
Stefania said to add it’s Friday night, we’re watching the Giants game, cooking ribs and having a margarita.