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Chardonnay,Education,Wine,Wine Education,Wine Making

Fermentation 101, the easiest way to get people to understand it

Why I’d Like to Be Reborn as a Yeast on a Chardonnay Grape is how I explained Fermentation 101.

My stint at Robert Mondavi Winery as a wine educator was one of the quickest jobs I’ve ever had, while it was also the most intriguing… Within five months I got a break as a Director of PR for Ironstone Vineyards, and off I went to work for a Calaveras County winery.

Mondavi was filled with a masterful cast of characters, all amazingly accomplished. I even wondered, more than once, what I was doing to their bell curve…

That said, I definitely knew I had finally found a simpatico peer group, like no other working unit in my life. This group was just tightly knit, and with a high level of emotional intelligence. That’s a rare find within any large group, but it’s also a reflection of the man himself, who was still very much around, Mr. Robert Mondavi. There was virtually no rivalry, because each person on that team was playing a starring role in an interdependent performance of Stephen Covey’s book [and strategically choreographed, btw], the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. All of this was being played out at the winery, and we were nurtured by the flow.

Oh, we had our bit of mischief on the job occasionally; but there was a code, and we did that job with passion, each turn around the building. I had taken a Viticulture 101 course as part of a wine marketing and degree program. My final paper, pre-approved report was entitled, “Why I want to be Reborn as a Yeast…” I’ll just give you the short of it, because this is just the abbreviated version….

Why I Want to be Born Reborn as a Yeast on a Chardonnay Grape ~ Fermentation 101

Think about it… As a yeast, the grape that you’ve been resting on was just plucked from its very foundations, its rachis. This is where you and your grape had quietly been hanging for about four to five months… The grape was plumping out, filling with hydration and sucrose, and basking in the sun. It was ripe and filled with nectar. As this process happened, there was a slight tear in the skin, and the juice surrounding me (the yeast) caused me to become activated from my sleepy slumber. Yawningly I realize, this stuff is goooood! Baby, oh baby.

I’ve been moved into some very pricey French real estate. French Oak, yes! It’s a rather small unit, about 60 gallons, but it just feels right.

I get to inhale the scents of forests in France, where timber is valued, and it makes such a beautiful, natural home. In this process, there’s some heat being given off as I eat all this sucrose. One part of my world is changing sugar into alcohol (as a byproduct). The other thing that’s happening is that I’m also giving off a bit of carbon dioxide gas (oh, dear).

But things still seem to be okay. People are moving things around inside my home a couple of times a day, and anytime it seems to be getting a bit too warm, someone really nice chills things down just a tad in the huge outer room where I’m living.

Now, for the next eight days, all I have to do is eat sugar. Sugar!

  • No weight gain.
  • No cavities.
  • No diabetes.
  • No hypertension.

This is the life, Man! Just eating nothing but sugar for eight days… Then… I’ve made so much alcohol, that I asphyxiate and die…. But… I didn’t really care.

Life was short, but sweet.

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