Some weeks, I can’t decide which of several topics to write about, while at other times I struggle to find a topic for a blog post. Such was the case this week, so I decided to pay Marco DiGiulio a visit to see what was happening in the winemaking world and see if he had any ideas for me. Here’s what he had to say.
“You know, the one thing that rarely gets mentioned in winemaking is the necessity of doing nothing. Sometimes, in the winemaking process, you just need to kick back and wait. You need to have the discipline to not do anything and let things happen.”
Marco was right. We’re always so busy documenting all the things that we do in a winery that we often forget about the time we spend doing nothing. Which brought our conversation to Seinfeld. It’s been about 12 years since the last episode of Seinfeld aired, but the show that was about nothing continues to have a profound impact, even in the wine industry. It reminds us of the value of nothing and that doing nothing is actually doing something.
It takes a conscious effort to do nothing instead of doing things that simply occupy our time, or even worse, takes away from the wine. We often have to resist the urge to do more pumpovers, or rack the wine again, or top off the wine one more time, because at some point, our actions have diminishing returns and could actually be detrimental to the wine. Each time we touch the wine, we expose it to more oxygen and increase the chance of introducing harmful bacteria. We have to remind ourselves to just let the processes happen…and wait.
A big part of winemaking is waiting—waiting for fruit to ripen, waiting for juice to ferment, waiting for wine to develop in a barrel, waiting for wine in the bottles to be ready for release—lots of time waiting and resisting the temptation to try and hurry it along. Great wine takes time. But don’t get me wrong, even though we’re waiting and doing nothing to the wine, there’s plenty of other tasks to be done. And that’s what I’ll write about in future articles. In the meantime, isn’t it amazing that I just wrote an entire article about nothing?
As I walked out of his Marco’s office, he said, ”See, I’m good for nothing.”
P.S. Have a great Memorial Day weekend and I hope you get a chance to do nothing.