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Monday, 17 May 2010

CEO and Bottle-Washer of Vinos Ambiz Justifies his Title

Yes, (as per my bio on LinkedIn), yesterday I dutifully washed, sterilized, rinsed, filled with wine, and corked no less than 96 bottles on Sunday morning, - as one does on Sunday mornings!

Bottling line

Yours truly at the bottle-washing station

Only one victim-helper turned up on this occasion. Very odd – what on earth was everyone else doing of a Sunday morning?

This session was for our first ever shipment abroad (see this previous post); finally all the elements of the shipment had come together: bottles, corks, boxes and labels:

- Bottles. We’ve managed to accumulate over 400 bottles, thanks to our local customers, who not only returned our own bottles but also other wine bottles (hence the all the recent de-labelling activity!).

- Corks. I bought a new sack of 1000 corks. Due to the recent leaks and humidity in the winery, I was a bit worried in case the ones in the bodega had become infected with mould or other nasties.

- Boxes. Our first very own lovely new boxes with our logo printed on them. It was hard work finding a supplier who would make ‘only’ 100 for us, but in the end Cartonajes Hurtado (from Torrejón de Ardoz, just outside Madrid) came through. Much appreciated.

Our very own boxes, with logo

- Labels. Designed by Hola Por Qué, who also made a huge effort to do them quickly, as they have been really busy lately:

Our labels designed by Hola Por Que

Below is a close-up of the ‘bottling process’. Note the tube which has been cunningly sized to reach right down to the bottom of the bottle. This minimizes splashing and oxygenating the wine. In the absence of an inert nitrogen atmosphere in the bottling line, it’s the best I could come up with!

Bottling line!

Gazing upwards at one point (as one does!) I noticed some wasps building a nest in a flower-pot on the roof of the winery. Don’t ask how it got there – I have no idea! (Maybe it was during one of our quality control sessions!)

Wasp nest in flower-pot on roof

And here’s a photo of the ‘spontaneous vine’ growing around the front door of the winery, and that grew from a pip that found a fertile spot one year when we were crushing/pressing the grapes:

Spontaneous vine

To the Vineyard:

Well, after a brief stop for lunch, I carried on washing and bottling till about six, and then went to the vineyard.

I had to move the canes to the edges of the vineyard, as this week we’re going to either cut the grass or plough up a little between rows to aerate the soil (TBD). We had left the canes in little piles in the middle of the rows while we were pruning.

Canes at the edge of the vineyard

More canes at another edge of the vineyard

I took a short video with my mobile of the frost damage to the tips of the young shoots, which I uploaded onto YouTube. And there’s also some photos of the frost-bitten tips on Twitpic too.

Here are some photos of the vineyard, which was looking and smelling really nice:

Monster thistles are invading

Can anyone identify these flowers, in the pic below? We’ve been meaning to have a ‘bio-diversity study’ of the vineyard done for years, but never get round to actively inviting someone to do it!

Red, white and blue flowers

And why is it that wild vines are so much more vigorous than cultivated ones? Spot the difference:

Wild vine

One of the oak trees that we transplanted a few weeks ago (see this earlier post) didn’t survive. I think we didn’t give it enough water.

Poor oak sapling didn't make it

A lone poppy

A clump of poppies

Lastly, a final shot of the vineyard. The grass is really high for this time of year, because of all the rain we’ve been having. We’ll either be cutting it back this week, or lightly ploughing up the topsoil for a bit of aeration.

Vineyard in the evening

I don't know if this photo does it justice, but it was just so beautiful at that time of the evening, when the sun is low and the light is just 'magical'.

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