Have you ever toured a winery?
Several years back I toured a popular Niagara winery and found the experience more educational than I could ever possibly imagine.
In fact, what I learned has stayed with me to this day, especially when a new wine is introduced.
What struck me first were the enormous silver silos of wine.
As I looked up, I guessed it must be several stories high.
The tour guide explained to us that every two to three weeks a wine taster would come and dispense a small sample of wine for tasting. This was done to ensure that this year’s batch of a particular label, like for example Hochtaler, was identical in taste to last year’s Hochtaler.
I politely raised my hand to ask a question.
“What happens if the taster realizes that this years wine is nothing like last year’s version? What do you do… dump it?”
The tour guides face went pale as she shook her head no.
“Oh no, we can’t do that. That would be illegal because the wine being discarded would be considered a toxic waste.”
“Okay,” I said and decided to push further.
Certainly this has happened in the past, especially if they are as committed to perfection as they continually claimed to be.
Not only that, these silos are so monstrous, each one must represent a cash crop worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Still, I was quite curious and wanted to know what they did with this toxic waste.
I asked again.
“What do you do with the wine?”
Her eyes began to dart back and forth like someone who was caught in a difficult position.
Was this a trade secret?
After a moment’s thought her face brightened.
“Well, I’m not suppose to tell you, but whenever we discover that one of our batches is not turning out, we just slap a new label on it and announce it as an exclusive vintage available for this year only.
Dandy, I thought. Something that cannot be dumped because it is environmentally unfriendly, so what do we do with it?
We drink it!
Yet another example of live and learn…