I’m sure the line, “The Tanks are Coming”, is uttered in German in the movie, “Patton”, by those in the direct onslaught of the American General. However, in this case, even though the tanks are Italian from Prospero and Co., the phrase will remain in English, “The Tanks are Coming” and as I write this, the tense has changed to “are Here!” Yes, three container ship semis arrived last week at Forty-Five North and the contents, tanks, destemmers, and punch down tanks have now been set in the production building. Again, my naivete is genuine, there now comes the actual set up with electrical hook-up, pumps, hoses, glycol cooling, and a control panel computer to co-ordinate all this.
Our winemaker, general manager, etc, Shawn Walters is embroiled as we speak sorting through metropolitan phone book sized manuals individualizing each system. Since it’s his baby, he will arrange as per his own desires and wishes, but he has promised some fabulous wines, he feels that this is state of the art and will enhance red wine quality with these special punch down tanks. So, since his plate doesn’t seem full enough, the oak barrels will be arriving soon, followed by the labeller bottler line. And, by the way, we will be including on the bottling line, counter pressure and hence a sparkling wine capability and also a screw cap closure system. Now wait all you wine aficionados, before you jump all over me concerning screw caps thinking that wine purists must have cork, the screw cap has some distinct advantages, first and foremost, less corkage loss. Also, a half opened bottle of wine, which seems a subset oxymoron, can more easily be saved especially with inert gas cartridges now available. So, to all my fellow baby boomers who grew up with Bali Hai, Annie Green Springs, Boone’s Farm bottles with screw caps, you are associating those roaring hangovers with that counter-clockwise wrist twist of the screw cap with “wine”, and you’ll just have to get over it. While in Napa tasting with Maynard, Barb, Eric and the Australian vintners , I noticed that approximately 60-70% of the wines, including some triple digit price tagged ones, had screw top closures, so there, get over it, you’ll live through it.
The first order of business will be some fruit wines and Doug our cherry farmer ag expert, says this is an especially good crop, and he and Shawn are concocting some ripe ideas about a special blend of the many varieties of both the sweet and tart cherries for a very special cherry wine, moderately drier than norm. There, much to my surprise, are almost 100 different varieties of sweet cherries and lesser amounts of tart varieties grown in Leelanau County. I’ll be ready with glass in hand. Stay tuned for some ideas on a tasting room for next year, and a new blog on wine as a health drink. Unlike many popular ideas now surfacing in this country, I want to remain scientific and will preface all opinions just as that. Have fun!