Two Bees Wine

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Thomas characteristic

Two days before pressing. It proves difficult to ignore the blockade of bins next to the TV. We have brix on the brain. Is the juice warmer? Is it gurgling underneath the dry cap of skins? I insert a thermometer at mid-day, cheating, pleased as I ring Anthony with news that they’ve reached nearly 70 degrees.

In the afternoon, I swish the batches around one at a time, then decide as documentarian to grab the camera for a daylight shot. I remove all 3 lids at once and admire the majestic purple.

Suddenly, I witness my little kitten Thomas leap from the hardwood floor up to the top of bin 1. Only this time there’s no lid.

A chain of events unfolds in what must have been microseconds. Thomas disappears into the darkness of the vat, sucked in like a meteor. Juice and solids spray out, and the surface flattens again, empty. I lunge forward, feeling instantly sickened and panicked, not wanting to believe, to thrust my arms into the murky depths to find him. Everything seems to be happening simultaneously. Out of the black muck, Thomas flings himself, like a spawning salmon, almost into my face, and I grab the air for the wriggling, clawing, inky, unrecognizable life form. He’s not just wet from liquid, as he might be if caught in a wine spill – he’s coated in blue-black grape skins, soaked so that the bits stick to his bones and scrawny body, his entire head, inner ears, nose, tail, legs – everything – thickly masked. The horror!

My mind thinks only of saving Thomas, of getting him to the kitchen sink to free him of this shell of must and alcohol. I blast on the water, trying to adjust the warmth, while holding him in place and checking to make sure he’s not choking or going into shock. He’s disturbingly still and quiet as I douse his skinny body. I realize as the muck washes into the drain – stems, seeds, skins – that I need to soak his head, too, which he takes without protest, trusting my hands.

When his orangey color finally emerges under the faucet, and I see him starting to shiver, I pull him to me, still sopping, and shuttle him to the bathroom to swaddle him in a red bath sheet. He’s brave, and doesn’t bite, yowl, or fidget. He just looks up at me, puzzled, trembling from the chill.

I hold him like a baby, both of us in trauma, as I call Anthony who just finished work. I reassure him, and perhaps myself, about Thomas and the wine, though I survey the room and the fallout with dismay.

It’s a crime scene. Red coagulated spatters of juice leak down most of the sliding glass door next to Bin 1. There’s a dense trail of it from the living room all the way to the kitchen on the blonde wood floors and streaks flung onto the cabinets. Random purple speckles stain the white stucco walls, even 10 feet away from the immediate vicinity. As Thomas licks at his clumpy fur, I mop up the mess and restore order.

As for the zinfandel, we wonder what character Thomas will impart. A certain je ne sais quois that will mark vintage 2006. Posted by Picasa


  • Oh my gosh. I cannot even imagine going through all that. That would be scary. While reading this, I could not help but think of my own little kitten back home and worry about him getting into things all the time. I'm just glad Thomas was alright. Shame for the wine, though, I suppose...

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 10:34 AM  

  • Sorry about the kitty, but too funny!

    By Anonymous Lisa Pavageau, at 10:31 AM  

  • Thomas has fully recouperated and continues to hurl himself toward unknown spaces. Now and then, we notice him sniffing into the rim of our wine glasses intently but tentatively, perhaps with a sense of deja vu...

    By Blogger GirlBee, at 5:37 PM  

  • Too bad you're not making Sauvignon Blanc, for which of course "cat pee" is a well-worn descriptor.

    By Anonymous johng, at 3:04 PM  

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