And thus begins my year of never-ending winter. It was so lovely to have a month of sunshine upon my return to San Francisco from South America, but today the rain has arrived, reminding me that I missed summer entirely this year and am now in for two more months of winter. Sigh. Last night I went to Angelo Garro's forge in SoMa and helped Angelo and Jeff bottle wine. Helping to make wine is fun! Although I worked at wineries for years (Roshambo, Iron Horse Vineyards, and Michel-Schlumberger), it was always as a tastron, an events coordinator, or a tour guide--never in the cellars.
We bottled 50 cases of the 2005 Pinot Noir, drinking plenty of it as we went along, and finished the evening with a lovely dinner of homemade Penne (Angelo's nephew, Giatano, was cranking it out of an ancient machine as I arrived) with a sauce Angelo made with tomatoes from Jeff's parents' house in Healdsburg and sausage made by a friend of theirs whose name I've forgotten but is supposedly a famous sausage-maker. We also had a tomato salad (just fresh heirlooms with olive oil and vinegar and dried oregano that was hanging from the ceiling in bunches, from Angelo and Jeff's plot in one of the city's community gardens), and lots of songs (Hope from the Lincart gallery pulled out a guitar and proved she's got a set of pipes as soulful as Gillian Welch) and laughter. It amazes me how Angelo can have such a slow-food, Sicilian lifestyle right in the middle of San Francisco. Having been introduced to a group of people to whom simplicity and friendship is so important to is inspiring.
After bottling the pinot (two barrels), we punched down the grapes we'd picked last Wednesday. My hands are completely stained purple (although I managed to escape with my clothing free of wine-stains), and I have to wait tables tonight. I'll just wear them like a badge of honor, shrugging casually and saying, "Oh, you know how it goes during crush! I haven't had a day off in weeks and everything's covered in various stages of wine. But, you gotta do what you gotta do!" like a seasoned pro.