The Final Countdown

By Hilary Berg

September is here, and in wine country, that means the final countdown — insert bad ’80s hair band reference here.

The days leading up to picking thousands of acres leaves many in the industry scurrying to accomplish the to-do list that’s been taunting them all summer.

In my world, painting the house is on the docket. The bare cedar — we’ve been power washing and sanding it for months — is begging for a coat before the rains begin and harvest takes us over. 

My husband has been spending as much time as possible with our 3-year-old son. As a winemaker, he knows too well his days of quality time with Theo will soon be limited to late-late evening wrest
ling and maybe a book or two before we all nod off to sleep. 

Over at the winery, staff is abuzz with bottling, clearing barrels and tanks for the coming vintage. They have been busy preparing for fermentation, dusting off — power washing — the sorting line and press, as well as cleaning and organizing all other crush necessities. Then there’s finding reliable harvest help for both the winery and vineyard. The list continues.

The grapes have it the easiest. Like teenagers, they just get to hang out and mature — some earlier than others. Of course, they don’t realize how soon they’ll be cut off and sent away — it’s for their own good. 

When the fruit arrives, all former preparations — accomplished or not — will seem like distant memories as the rhythm of harvest moves with a life of its own.

Which reminds me of another item on my list: Make a soundtrack for the crew. Maybe I should include some power ballads to make the power-washing more bearable?

“Here I Go Again,” by Whitesnake seems appropriate...

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