Despite the distinct absence of a Polar Vortex here at EnRoute, it is most definitely winter. The harvest is a fast receding memory, the 2013 wines are put to bed, and the only sounds in the cellar are coming from Jack, the winery dog. Well, mostly.
Unlike our Cabernet-steeped siblings at Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel, we here in Pinot Land don’t spend the entire winter racking wine back and forth, blending and barreling down again. On the contrary, to maintain EnRoute’s signature aromatics and complexity, we leave the wines in barrel until bottling, the summer following vintage, disturbing them only for topping. This means we spend our non-topping hours cleaning, organizing, running lab analysis, planning (already!) for the 2014 vintage—and, of course, playing with the dog.
It could be said that Jack—Winemaker Andrew Delos’ 82-pound black lab—is EnRoute’s most active team member at the moment. With the human contingent either sitting at desks or leisurely performing cellar work, Jack darts down barrel rows and bounds across tank pads, often in search of his favorite toys in the world: retired barrel bungs. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t repeatedly chase a thrown or kicked bung, bouncing erratically like an on-side kick. In fact, he is so demanding of us in this regard that we have developed sore arms and legs. So much for all that harvest stamina!
Chasing bungs is hard work, though, so Jack can only take so much in a day. When not careening around the cellar, he enjoys being the center of attention in the winery office. This involves begging for food in the break room, rifling through trashcans, and—his favorite office job—sleeping on the couch.
So it goes at EnRoute this winter. When spring arrives (which looks to be in short order this year!), we will begin our evaluation of the 2013 wines, head into the vineyards to assess the nascent 2014 crop, and continue to play bung fetch with a certain winery dog. Stay tuned for news of the 2013 vintage, as well as the growing EnRoute team!
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