As our small team bottled around 200 cases of Rousanne and Rose this morning, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a question posed by my Geography professor last semester: “Why haven’t humans been replaced by machines?” Mostly, I was trying to figure out why we voluntarily squeezed into Caleb’s truck of bottling gadgets for five hours, knees stiffening and shoulders tensing, on such a beautiful Berkeley weekend morning. My professor’s overarching lesson had been that machines are inanimate, unintelligent, and susceptible to breaking down. Though I couldn’t help but feel like a simple cog in the wheel as I systematically wiped off capped bottles and moved them down to the labeling station, I did feel like our team effort and rhythm was much more efficient than any machine. Although, I must admit that Caleb’s rotating pourer and high-pressure capping machines that complemented our human assembly line did have a somewhat fascinating Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory appeal to them.
Our hands-on role in the bottling process also allowed us to personally say goodbye and gain some closure with our baby wines before sending them off to the real world. And I must say, the golden Rousanne and blushing Rose both look quite handsome. After the day’s work was finished, we tasted their love child–the mix that was created in the pump as we transitioned from Rousanne to Rose. And the punchy result was surprisingly palatable. Perhaps we accidentally stumbled upon a new blend possibility?