A firsthand account of Knox Clendenen’s inaugural harvest with au bon climat
This has been my first harvest at ABC, and to say the least it has been an amalgamation of chaos and education. Since I started fresh out of college (graduated in August), I was not in the best of shape. After foot stomping grapes, doing punch-downs, moving bins, climbing barrels and everything in between, harvest has chipped away at my sloppy physique. I have learned a great deal in a very short amount of time, especially the qualities and philosophies that make Au Bon Climat unique.
A normal day for me was starting the morning with punch-downs, then processing any reds that came in, cleaning the equipment afterwards, doing a second round of punch downs, and cleaning out fermenters that were being pressed. Harvest is not about doing a single job continuously; instead, it is about adapting and moving from one objective to another. Constantly changing the task made harvest seem a lot less repetitive than I had anticipated.
The worst part about harvest is the state of my hands and fingernails. No matter how hard you scrub and clean you cannot remove the grime underneath your nails. Anytime I go to a store and people see my hands they think I am a troglodyte that knows not of the modern standards of cleanliness. Other than that, I have no real complaints, harvest is harvest, it’s never easy and that is to be expected. The real beauty of harvest is the people you bond with through the grueling labor. People who share the same passion and curiosity in winemaking. To be able to create something so elegant through what could be seen as a very crude process is what truly inspires and encourages me to work, and more importantly, learn. ▲
– Knox Alexander Clendenen