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The Three Ton Refrigerator

Today was an eventful day and I was kept busy from seven to five. One of the marvellous pieces of equipment that Deerfield uses to make wine is an enormous refrigeration unit that we refer simply as "The Chiller". It is an extremely important and useful machine but its designers were apparently unconcerned with its aesthetic qualities. In fact, I'm pretty sure that they were entirely unaware of the concept of aesthetics. The Chiller is ugly. It does the job but it doesn't look good doing it. And that's a problem. Especially because the device was the first thing you saw when you drive up to the winery. We tried to gussy it up a bit and make it a little less obtrusive by putting a big white tent on it. But the white tent got very dirty so it was a little bit like throwing soiled bed sheets on a hippo and trying to pretend it's not there: It just doesn't quite work out. Did I mention that this was an extremely noisy hippo? I think by now you get the idea that it would be a good thing if it was moved. And so it was.

I understood from Robert that this is the fourth time it's been moved. You might be wondering how one goes about moving a three ton fridge. Well first you make a phone call and then a nice man named Gabe arrives with a very large truck with a very large crane attached to it. The Chiller has big steel I-beams welded to the bottom so it was actually very easy to attach it to the boom and hoist it precariously onto the bed of the truck. The hard part was that the Chiller had been sitting in that spot for years and in that time developed a new functionality. It had become a fully operational and quite powerful junk magnet and all sorts of odds and ends had amassed around it. So I spent the entire day moving things away from the Chiller so we could transport it and then putting 3 years worth of various building materials and tools and trash in their proper places. It was actually really satisfying when it was all done though because it really made the entrance to the winery look much nicer.

I think it's pretty obvious what exactly the Chiller does but you might not know what exactly we use it for. Often it's necessary to work with wine outside of the controlled climate of the cave and it can get very hot out there on the crush pad in Sonoma Valley. So we use the Chiller to cool every single one of the tanks on the Pad and in the Barn. It's pretty impressive the volume of wine it's able to keep cold and how it's able to make massive stainless steel tanks, sitting in the sun, that would normally be burning hot, cool to the touch.

Of course there are pictures of everything and they will be posted as soon as I can but I also have some exciting news! I will be adding a Video section on the website soon and there is footage of the Chiller being lowered into its new home! So keep your eyes peeled. I also should mention here that I added a new sidebar to the site so you can see recent updates so that you no longer have to rescan every single post to see if there's been an update. Hope you find that more convenient.

In other news I'm going to be at the San Rafael Wine Festival on Saturday (August 15th), pouring Deerfield wine! So come on by and check it out. It's a really fun event in a beautiful spot. I'm really excited about it and I'm sure I'll have some fun stories to share Sunday! Tomorrow I get the day off. I'm going to spend it catching up on some sleep, working on my tent (which I'll move into this weekend), and working on my report for the Deerfield Staff Meeting (which I'll tell you more about later). Ciao for now!