Thursday, August 5, 2010

How is a winery like a hospital?

If you’re not a wine lover, this post may not be for you…but you never know until you read it...

Last weekend I stopped in to my favorite winery, Burrell School Vineyards (that's them, in the old red school house). My wife and I have been members of their wine club for years, and I appreciate their “futures” tastings.

For you non-wine-nerds, “futures” are young wines that aren’t quite ready to drink or even release, that the winery will sell you at a discount for you to pick up months later…and cool wineries like Burrell School will let you taste from the barrel to get an idea how the wine is shaping up.

I was with just one other couple, and the wine maker/owner Dave Moulton, who answered a question the other couple had of him: Why do some wineries produce better wines than others?

“If a winery gets too big, it’s hard to take an individual approach to every barrel, every bottle”, Dave explained. “Here? It’s just me. No one else.” Pointing to the racks of barrels behind him, Dave said “I know every patient here.”

“Dave, did you say ‘patient’? Are you comparing your winery to a hospital?” I asked.

“In a manner of speaking, yes”, he said. “I monitor the health of each barrel, make sure the ‘patients’ are comfortable, quiet, and at the right temperature. I monitor their vital signs all day, every day.”

He went on. “Just like a hostpital, we are meticulous about cleanliness and infection control, and if infection does happen, and we catch it right away, we can cure it. And, none of my patients gets discharged until they are healthy enough, and if I’ve done my job, each bottle will stay healthy for years, even decades to come.”

Sounds like Valley Medical Center to me! That’s why it should be no surprise that, for the fourth year running, Burrell School is the wine sponsor of the VMC Foundation’s annual Gala. If you are attending “Luxury by the Lake”, you will be enjoying the result of Dave’s (and of his wife Ann, and their great team) efforts.

If you’re not yet attending our gala on October 2, there may be just a few tickets left available…for more info, call Judy at the VMC Foundation: 408-885-5205.

And, if you’re up on Summit Road in Los Gatos this weekend, stop by Burrell School and taste for yourself. If you love wine, you’ll be glad you did.

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