Introduction to winemaking basics (Dodon Farms: part 2)

If you haven’t read the first part, you’re missing half the story.

The truck pulls into the driveway; Tom, Polly, and I are greeted by the old dog,

who is still reluctant to accept the barely painted house.

I’m invited for lunch, but politely refuse, not wanting to overstay my welcome.

However, the flow of convo doesn’t lead toward leaving,

and instead, we’re winding down a hill to the backyard,

sharing our interest in the same wine books.

From Vines to Wines

The Making of a Great Wine

Around the corner,

the press…Presses Grapes

…used for the experimental vineyards’ grapes,

who’s juice is fermenting just inside the basement door…

In this small (8x8ish) lab (basement) Tom directs my attention to a carboy filled with pinkish colored wine…


A 5 gallon carboy

“A rosé?” I almost blurted out…

But no…

Pink was not the desired outcome.

He explains…

White grapes are extremely sensitive to oxygen (even before fermentation), and the traditional crusher (seen further above) has a tendency to oxidize the juice during the crushing, which can create a pinkish color over time.

Future correction: use a more sophisticated crusher.

He points out a few other things,

but, what Tom showed last awed me the most…

Smiling as though he knows I’m about to be excited, Tom reaches below the workstation, and pulls out something that looks like this…

Oak Block

Approx. 6″ long

“Oak”, he tells me.

From the farm.

Without hesitation, I ask if they’ve thought about using the oak to make barrels.

They have, and a basic experiment is in the making.

I can almost feel the buttons of my plaid button-up bursting with excitement!

…this is the kind of thing I’ve been dreaming of.

With the lab tour concluded,

we step outside into beautiful weather

and conversation leads us to discussing the future…

First thing: Work a couple weekends around the farm. (Dec.)

Next thing: A few weeks of pruning  (Feb.)

…and if all goes well…

A full-time job beginning in spring. (Spring 2010 – …)

Conversation begins to wind down, until I notice the pizza oven!

…and with new ardor, conversation commences,

until Polly interrupts

to invite me once again for lunch.

This time, an offer I can’t refuse.


About ANewVine

Developing the art of making fine Maryland wine. View all posts by ANewVine

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