Well, here we are neck-deep in fruit and barrels and stacks of fruit bins 20 feet high. Our only way of knocking down the bin towers to the ground is sorting each cluster one at a time. Slow and steady is the only way out. The harvest interns and I are busy scrubbing buckets, triple rinsing hoses, and chasing bungs around the cellar. Monotonous activities as such could make even the most passionate wine lover question, “What’s the point?”
Late last night, after the last of the equipment was polished and put away and all the fermenters were tucked in for the night, I spoke with an old winemaking friend for a bit. We have both made wine together under the same roof for five years. Last month he moved into his facility in Los Olivos and is sharing equipment with other neighboring winemakers. He brought up how he missed the attention to detail, our cleanliness, and the idea that at Levo, we run all of our equipment at the slowest, most gentle settings. We take all day to process fruit that might take another winery one hour.
I genuinely believe that when crafting world-class wines, the devil is in the details. Great wine is not about being an artist, or a viticulturist, or an enology major. Great wine is about rolling up your sleeves, gritting your teeth, and being willing to put in the work. To clean the wine press better the 12th time than the 1st time. To walk across the winery and clean a bung found lying on the cellar floor. Jamming yourself into a wet tank on a cold autumn morning and scrubbing it down. These aren’t romantic activities. But they are essential in raising the needle in quality. Today we are glad to know that Jeb Dunnuck’s taste buds detected the tremendous effort and work we put into our craft.
All the 22 Tango wines are tasting great right now with a two-hour decant, especially as we move into the beautiful fall evenings. I think all the wines are elevated with a hunk of protein or a nice meal, and of course, friends and family.
Enjoy, and looking forward to hanging with you all in the tasting room once the dust settles.