Back to the barrel story. As usual here at Domaine de la Gramière, things are never as easy as they seem to be in theory. In theory getting two 500L barrels is great! Then, though, you have to figure out how to get them to your house, and then you have to find a place to put them! Well, thanks to our friend Peter Till, getting them wasn't that difficult. Peter has a small Nissan pick-up truck, that without, I don't think we would ever have been able to make wine at all! It has delivered sand and cement, transported grapes, and now 2 barrels. I borowed Peter's truck and drove the 45 minutes to Roc d'Anglade to pick them up. Remy has a small fork lift that we used to load the barrels, and luckily, Peter had stowed behind the seat two cargo straps with clamps on the end that you can use to tighten them down. Once Remy got them all strapped down and we were "pretty sure" they would stay, I set off back home. Slowly. My worst thought was that one of them would fall out onto the road and hit another car and cause a big accident! You can imagine, especially when I was all alone, Matt was away on business, oh my! What would I have done.... Anyway, after almost an hour of winding my way slowly around the curves of the small country roads I made it home and Peter came to help me unload the barrels. We left them outside of the winery for the night since it was already dark.
A couple of days later Matt was back, so we called Peter for some help to get the barrels into place. Because, of course, they weren't going to stay on the ground floor, we had to get them up onto the top of the old vats in the winery, which are at least 10 feet high, and the barrels are super heavy and most of all unweildy. Hmmm. Could we try to push it up the ladder? No. Peter to the rescue! He had a winch and some rope in his truck which we rigged to the roof beam, then there was the problem of attaching the barrel to one of the straps. Matt had the brilliant idea of tying a string around a heavy duty chisel and then inserting it into the hole in the barrel. (The string was so that we didn't drop the chisel into the barrel.) Once the chisel was barred across the interior of the hole, it created something to hook the winch rope onto so that we could hoist it up! Phew! We did it. What a team. It's amazing what you can do when you are determined to find a way!