A recent poll of NASA employees indicated that 75% of them would accept a one way ticket to Mars.  That bears repeating: 75%.  These people would give up all of the comforts of everything that they know and love to be pioneers in populating a new planet.  While the fame and intrigue would be impressive, I would imagine the deprivation to be even more so.

It is therefore with trepidation that I begin today’s lament.  The list of activities mutually exclusive to winemaking is short and, in retrospect, not particularly brutal.  It does, however, exist.


Winemakers can’t wear lipstick- at least not if you are actively working.  I’m at peace with this.

Perfume, many deodorants and perfumed lotions also fall in the category of being so smelly that you can’t smell for a living.  Unfortunately, practically all lotions are perfumed in some capacity and even more unfortunately, if you’re elbow deep in acidic alcohol and sanitizing solutions, lotion would be nice.

We can’t make yogurt because lactobacillus is generated in great quantities. Lactobacillus is not something many of us strive to have in our wines.

We can’t make any bathtub beer using a brettanomyces yeast.  It makes things smell like horse sweat, bandaid and gym socks and is totally uncontrollable.  In a fit of pure genius, we named our dog Brett for these reasons.  She has since fulfilled this prophecy in abundance.


And we can’t clean our houses with chlorinated bleach.  Bleach plus many things in the winery turn into tricholoroanisole (TCA).  TCA is housed in porous oak barrels, spread throughout pumps and hoses and survive in floor drains.  It smells like wet dog or mushrooms or just strips the aromas out of the wine completely.  TCA brought much of California to its knees in the late ‘90s.  Once they stopped sanitizing with bleach, things got better, but not without some legendarily expensive overhaul.

Last, we can’t eat spicy foods or drink coffee when writing tasting notes or pressing off a bin.  Doing so affects our ability to sense the texture of tannins and to smell the whole profile of a wine.  Pressing determines the tannin structure of that wine for the rest of its life.  This deprivation is especially hard to handle on a crisp fall morning when the press is taking its sweet time, the wind is whipping past your down coat and you have nothing but time on your hands.  How good does a cup of coffee sound then?  Really damn great.  But it probably not as great as oxygen, water, family, never again eating another chocolate cake or gravity.

I hope you had a great weekend, Ashley