Harvest 2013 – The Humiliation Continues

“The Lord will smite you…with bewilderment of heart” and soggy underpants. And though my heart is humble, my knickers are drenched. While I am grateful for this Bruliam gig, I am tested daily by my own stupidity. If there is a cord, I will trip over it. If there is tank fitting, I will bump into it. And if there is a hose, I will be doused. By now, my predilection for self -ablution is legendary. Woe is the Sonoma winemaker who is not privy to my 2009 antics, when I sprayed myself in the face with the hose nozzle- twice. The intern dangling from the wine press laughed so hard he nearly lost his grip and tumbled to the concrete below. Even today, my wet streak retains its splash. I’m still tiptoeing on eggshells at our new facility. I’m quick to clean up messes and establish myself as a team player. When I can help, I’m on it. In fact, I jumped at the chance to hose down a sticky, half-ton grape -picking bin. When we sort fruit, we’re in a rhythm, like we’re dancing. The forklift driver dumps the fruit through the hopper, and when the bin is empty, someone rushes to hose it down, so he can swap it out for a full one. One day last week we’d finished sorting, and the forklift driver was transporting the last bin of the morning. He’d rotated the bin, requiring a hose down from a different spigot. I was idling nearby and eager to weasel my way into his heart. So I shoved the intern out of the way and snatched the hose first, ready to spray & wash on his command. Only the hose wasn’t attached to the spray nozzle. The nozzle was resting on top of the spigot. “Quick-connects,” I thought. “I know how to do this. The parts just snap together.” If this were a scary movie, the audience would be screaming “Nooooooooo! Don’t travel alone down the dark path to the zombie filled Forest of Doom.” But I did.

I grabbed the hose with my left hand and the nozzle with my right. But I’m not strong enough to loosen the connection with one hand. So I put the hose between my legs. I will repeat this, so you can re-imagine the action shot in slow motion. I put the hose between my legs so I could use both hands to snap the nozzle in place. I turned on the hot water and felt it coursing through the full length of the 100 foot hose. And then the nozzle flew off like a rocket as a geyser of hot water leaked down my jeans and shot up my shirt. “You have to hear it click first,” explained the forklift driver, helpfully. He couldn’t stifle his laughter.

I was humiliated. I’d doused my crotch. And it was only my second week. I laughed it off and uncuffed my jeans, as a small river trickled into my squishy socks. They offered me lunch as consolation. I was too proud to drive home and change into dry clothes. For three hours I slogged around town in sopping clothes. I dropped juice samples at the lab and left a trail of wet footprint on their linoleum. I wiped down my bin, dripping more water inside than I mopped out. And I topped my new fruit with dry ice, which sizzled on contact with my damp heaviness. Minutes before lunch, the forklift driver looked me up and down. I was a bedraggled mess of unkempt hair and dank duds. “Are you still wet?” he wondered aloud, stupefied. I’d never been so happy to slink home and change into a bulky wool sweater. At least my fermentation curve looks pretty good.

Torrey Hill Fermentation Curve 2013

Torrey Hill Ferment2