wax on

by crushed & stirred

Am I getting lazy already, do you wonder? Settling in to the possibility of indefinite employment? Slacking off on this blog, which is part-travelogue, part industry-whinge, part winemaking how-to, part letters-from-camp?

Well, I’m not. As the dust settles from harvest we are chasing after our last few batches of wine finishing malolactic ferment. And with Thanksgiving came The End of the Interns, so I’m now doing a lot of the chasing with my own tiny little hands.

Also, remember how we bottled before harvest? In those crazy days of would-we-wouldn’t-we panic over whether we could empty tanks of finished wine fast enough to fill them with fruit? Well I could hardly remember it – the blur of that week. Indeed, we did bring in Perli pinot noir while bottling, but just eked through in time. It was thousands of cases of wine, out the door, figuratively.

Because then we stacked it a million high in the warehouse and tried to forget about it until harvest was over and we could put the Donelan stamp on it and start shipping it. And this is what that looks like:


we use black wax on pinot and syrah cuvees


we melt the wax with paraffin to give it a gloss


melting, melting


dip, hang, twist




repeat by the pallet, for two straight days, occasionally barking orders and swapping pallets


until your tables look like this


and your shoes look like this

I’ll be back with wine-related updates over Christmas. We got good stuff coming up in 2014. Strap in.