There is a lovely, sweet scent in the air, and I’m not quite sure if I’m feeling dizzy because I definitely haven’t eaten enough this morning or because I don’t only smell wine, I inhale it aswell.
Work often has this kind of grave atmosphere, but while I’m running from the last machine to the cellar, I hear everyone chatting around me. Even though we fill about 1800 bottles in a couple of hours and it’s as busy as i imagine it to be inside a bee stock, it doesn’t quite feel like it.
I carry 6 bottles at a time in a tiny basket and every once in a while I bump against something in the narrow cellar, my heart stops for a second and starts beating again once I realize that no bottle fell out. I hand the baskets to an older woman, the mother of the owner, that carefully searches for the exact right place for the bottles that have their own mysterious pattern of being laid inside huge boxes. Throughout our working day she has to move to 4 boxes that we all manage to fill.
The guy that hands me the baskets, corks the winebottles. It makes a funny sound every time the cork enters the tight neck of the bottle.
After about one and a half hours we take a break. I don’t really know why or what’s happening until I see the other ones (that have done all this before) taking apart one of the machines. Not because it has some failure, it’s a part of the job. The machine filters the red wine, that runs through tiny tubes like blood through artilleries. It leads to the machine where the bottles are filled. One man is busy putting bottles under the 4 tabs and making sure they’re neither too full or too empty. If one is too full, it will be emptied out a bit into a small bucket. I don’t really see a difference between most too full and just full enough bottles.
At some point i get to cork the bottles and it turns out to be a whole lot of fun. I’m a tad slow though, so we change back and I’m back to running around, yeay. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about working out today.
Everyone does their small bit of work. Most of the time it’s only a movement or two. I catch myself a couple of times falling asleep for seconds while i wait for new baskets of wine.
Although everyone only plays a small part summed up we are working very fast. It takes us about 5 hours to fill 1200 litres into a bit less then 1800 wine bottles.
In the end we all shake hands. You can see that everyone is proud of what they’ve got done today. I like to work with my hands. It makes me happy.
I get to take 6 bottles of wine with me. But before I’m asked what wine I like. I gasp. “None” would be the most truefull answer, so I try to be as polite as I can and respond “Oh, i hardly drink wine, but i suppose I’d like sweet wine the most.” The owner smiles, and tells me he’ll put a basket together for me. I get 4 different wines, all declared as sweet on the etiquette.
I would be lying if i said I’m not terribly excited to try them.
All in all, I’m thankfull for the wee bit of experience I got today.
Thinking about this, the scent of wine is suddenly in my head again. It’s a sweet, fruity scent that makes you gloomy. It makes you smile a bit and it gives you a completely new relationship to wine.