Midnight nears. I have not packed for our trip. My wine rests in thirty bottles but they need closure, literally and figuratively.
Because I saved bottles, this vignoles venture will not see me experimenting with screw-caps. Although, I really really want to (because screw-caps provide a better seal…more on that later). Nonetheless, the remaining, sterile corks from my first wine kits can be forced into these variant necks.
Finally finished, I hide my bottles in a cold, dark corner of the apartment and go to bed.
A month from vine to bottle is rushing it. I had little choice with our vacation. I couldn’t leave my baby unsupervised.
But wine deserves time to settle. Especially after fools like me upend it with chemicals and fining agents. I doubted my poor temperature controls, oxygen removal and cleanliness. Technology makes these concerns secondary for wineries that can afford it. Being cheap and poor, I had to move quickly.
The French creatively call a winemaker an éleveur. This name derives from élevage: to raise or bring up. Although hastily done, guiding my vignoles from the Finger Lakes to finish required the daily attentions of an obsessed parent.
Sure, I yelled when it sloshed during our road trips. Granted, I overdosed it with medicine, making it vomit on the floor. I then attempted a vegetarian diet on it with mixed results. Try as I might, I struggled to keep it cool and collected. Even a last ditch attempt to filter out bad influences may damage it forever
In the end, it probably could have raised itself. But without me, this vignoles would not reach its potential. Nor would it last. So I kept it away from bad influences. Like Chiron, this surrogate father showed Achilles his better self.
Now dad goes on vacation, trusting he has done enough and that his kid won’t wreck the carpet again.