Friday, September 9, 2011

Pick a barrel.

Now is the time of year when producers, throughout wine country, are fervently preparing for harvest, although there has been a little bit of breathing room this vintage.
The purchasing of new barrels is a major concern for winemakers, and each winery will have a very individualistic barrel protocol. The winery at which I am gainfully employed purchases a butt-load, (that is a technical term), of new French oak barrels, for Chardonnay and Cabernet sauvignon production, from perhaps as many as a dozen different cooperages. Consequently, quite a large number of barrels have been arriving at the winery for the past few weeks; preceded by a passel of barrel salesmen, eager to secure large contracts, bringing with them promotional materials they each hope will curry favour with the winemaker. These promotional materials often include t-shirts, coffee mugs, wine thieves and...toothpicks, French oak toothpicks no less. It could be worse, The Boswell Company could have offered the winemaker a peg leg, or George Washington's false teeth, as a conciliatory gift.

13 comments:

Cesar Valverde said...

Cool insight (oh to be a wandering barrel-hawker.)

Collective nouns are definitely my favoutrite type of noun. What, pray-tell, is a "passel"?

Thud said...

Cv....Passel an awful American word, apparently vinogirl can't think of a suitable English one.

Thomas said...

Cesar,

"Passel" identifies a group of people, usually in informal language.

I kind of like the word, if only that it makes people go to a dictionary.

As for oak: there's a move on the East Coast to go with local cooperage, and so a number of small coppers have started American oak businesses--you know, locavoaky!

Thomas said...

coppers? you knew what I meant, right?

Vinogirl said...

Cesar: Don't have to be a winemaker to be in the wine industry. There are a lot of periphery businesses that make the wine world go around.

Thud: An American word for American salesmen. If it's in the OED it's fair game.

Thomas: I like the word too, that's why I used it. As for locavoaky...it should be in the OED.
I'm disappointed in your typo...I quite liked the idea of a renegade passel of English bobbies going into the barrel business.

Affer said...

Could you explain something to me? WHY do you have to get barrels from France? Is there something special about the wood? I just can't get my head around shipping all that air!!!

Cesar Valverde said...

Thud- Much as I deplore the wholesale abuse of our language, if them across the pond are going to add to the great rtesevoir* of collective nouns then I'm all for it.

* What do you call a group of collective nouns?

Thud said...

Passel is too ged clampet for me, I'll stick to the Queens English.Sorry to see you go all native Vinogirl.

Thomas said...

A group of collective nuns is a "nunnery."

Oh, you asked "collective nouns?"

Sorry, that's a nounnery.

Craig Justice said...

Dear Vino Girl and Vino Man, I would like to share with you this day a blessing for your vineyard (and your barrels). Cheers. http://winemakersjournal.blogspot.com/2011/09/vintners-pray.html

Craig Justice said...

About the toothpicks, did the barrel hawkers mention the reason for those? To plug up the holes in their barrels! LOL!

About Last Weekend said...

Butt-load is a technical term? How fabulous! Your blog is worth its weight in a pretty passel of top barrels

Vinogirl said...

Affer: Very different characteristics...I'll do a post about it.

Thud: Just so happens 'The Beverly Hillbillies' has always been one of my favourite telly programmes.

Thomas: A nounnery indeed!

Craig: Congrats on your 2011 harvest.

ALW: I shall try to use more technical terms in future posts.