Does CVS Sell Rose Colored Glasses?
It was barely dawn. My eyes felt wonky from chlorinated pool water and crimped, Speedo goggle-vision. I was distracted; it was harvest. I was half-reading my iPhone, half-loading my minivan, and halfway depressing my ignition button. I can cite many excuses, but the outcome remains unchanged. I called Brian to share the news. “Mark just texted. He’s sending us 18 boxes of Soberanes Vineyard pinot.”
The very idea of more fruit, more premium Santa Lucia Highlands pinot was cause for elation (cue evil laugh). Certainly after the depressing yields of 2015, 9 tons (18 boxes) was more than I’d expected. But hey, only a fool smacks that kind of gift horse in the ass.
But my CFO (a.k.a Brian) is just that sort of fool, a number-crunching pragmatist. I knew he would be rattled. After all, we’ d budgeted 6 tons, I’d purchased barrels for 6 tons, and re-confirmed that 6 tons with Grapewagon the previous evening. I’d wrestled for dibs on a 5-ton open top tank, despite a false start, delaying my pick date by a few days. During harvest, an empty tank is money burning. But this time I was certain. On 9/21/16, 6:37 am, Mark texted me the numbers. My 18 half-ton boxes of pinot already were barreling north in a refrigerated truck. The hitch: 9 tons won’t fit in one 5-ton open top tank. Now I needed two tanks. And Grapewagon was already at capacity.
Just to be cagey and fake nonchalance, I texted Colin, rather than cop to the extra tonnage in person.
“We’ll just have to stuff it all in,” he texted back. “And stick the overage in bins." Unkind, angry emoji faces followed.
I replayed his frustration in my head. A brittle truce barely averted harvest intern mutiny. And now, after lunch, I’d need all hands on deck, sorting my 18 boxes. This included two interns removing an unabated assault of green grape stem “jacks” with kitchen tongs. It would be a long, sticky day.
As the zen of my morning swim workout evaporated, I struggled to assemble a new 9 ton fermentation plan. I’d need more of everything- tank space, yeast, barrels, and yes, human beings to sort that unanticipated fruit. If we sort one half ton bin every 15 minutes, with two interns on jacks…
When I arrived at the winery, slightly panicked and definitively frazzled, I accosted Kerry to round up more bodies for sorting duty.
‘Kerry, I have 18 boxes coming after lunch. Can we rally the B team to sort today?” I snapped.
“Can you believe what Mark texted me this morning? 18 boxes,” I reiterated. I slapped my phone on her desk and pointed to the text bubble.
Kerry squinted. She picked up the phone to scrutinize the font more carefully. Then she put down the phone and looked me in the eye.
“Kerith, that’s a 3, not an 8. You’re getting 13 bins, not 18.”
And since that day, I have endured a derisive, unyielding volley of “old” jokes from my kids. On the bright side, well, there is no bright side. At least a glass of Soberanes Vineyard pinot still makes me feel better.
But as for my new drugstore reading glasses, not so much.