Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pre-Harvest trauma

As you may know if you read our blog regularly we are constantly improving and updating our wine-making facilities here at the Bodega. A short while ago we spent a considerable amount of money on improvements to our temperature control machinery, but unfortunately we later discovered that it still did not work quite as efficiently as it should. The required solution? To upgrade all the pipework, tubing and pumps supplying the refridgerated solution to the cooling jackets of the tanks.

After waiting months for the specialist refridgeration company to come and complete the job, they finally turned up a week or two ago (only a few weeks before the start of the harvest, where temperature control of the tanks plays a critical role in the wine-making).

Finally, the moment came to test the upgraded system........ Bang! Bang! Bang! Disaster!

The loud banging noise that reverberated around the cellar was caused by the empty tanks imploding on themselves. I cannot beginning to explain what actually caused the problem, but suffice to say that a vacuum that built up in the cooling system was sufficiently strong to collapse the stainless steel walls of the tanks!

The above photograph is taken looking upwards at a tank that was formerly a perfect cylinder shape, and it is very easy to see the damage. We are told that these distortions can be repaired, albeit that not every tank will be perfect - unfortunately, time to involve lawyers and insurance companies.

In the meantime we have been assured that the system will be up and running before we start picking (probably next week), and that there will be no detremental effect to the quality our wine.

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