Spent a day on the bottling line at Domaine des Enfants this week and decided to go back to being a photographer.
If you’ve ever thought “I’m going to go off and buy some vineyards and make wine”, try a day of bottling first. It’s a sure-fire cure for romantic fantasy disease.
But sometimes friendship wins out and Marcel thought he needed another pair of hands so I volunteered.
Today’s Starting Lineup
brought to you by Domaine des Enfants:
“When the kids get you down, reach for another bottle.”
Sabrina and Delphine Boxes
Marcel and Carrie Filling Boxes
“I started out on burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff”, B. Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, actually I started on capsules which sounds like a drug confession but isn’t. After the bottles are filled and corked by machine, a capsule is placed over the top before moving on for sealing. Sounds simple, here are the details: the capsules are a very thin plastic that is easily crushed. Once crushed, they are useless, and they come nested in a row of about 50 and tend to stick together out of the box. It takes a gentle hand to separate them without crushing and the meat on the ends of my arms is not the perfect instrument. Now the bottles are moving by at a rate that’s approximately twice as fast as I’d like to see, I can keep up until I reach the end of a stack when the crinkles in the last few and the motion of picking up a new stack and loosening them gets me behind. I’m thinking soon I’ll get into the rhythm of this, it will become automatic, a meditative experience. Didn’t happen. Marcel decides I’d be better suited to another task and sends me off to help Sabrina make boxes, replacing me with Delphine.
Sabrina assigned me to check off the varietal on the outside of the carton and write “10” next to it to signify the vintage. There’s no reason to think of this as a demotion, I prefer to think that Sabrina was falling a bit behind and Marcel, knowing of my literary skills thought I’d be perfect for the job. But Sabrina, being the trusted employee she is, was way ahead and wondering what I was doing there. So after checking the right box and writing 10 about 100 times, without error I might add, I was sent back to capsules to back up Delphine.
Now Delphine was clearly faster than I was – she has smaller fingers – but every once in a while she’d miss one and I was there to pick her up– when suddenly our eyes met over the rhythmic motion of the bottling line and we knew – sorry, that’s a different book.
After lunch I had even less to do because the guy from the bottling service decided he liked standing next to Delphine and placing a capsule every now and then.
When we reached the café, I asked Marcel if he needed me tomorrow. He apologized, said he really didn’t, and bought me another drink. Seemed fair to me.