Moonbeam and the Slug
'The Slug' - the Moonlight Sparkling Wine
Wine Lore from 'The Shed'
Paris:- Saturday, 26. October 2002:- Several readers have written to winemaker Allan Pangborn about Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine, but he hasn't told me how many cases have been sold and shipped yet.
I think he is still in the process of setting up an account with UPS. The delivery firm is concerned about the craters in the street in front of Allan's place. He says that since a city crew started tearing up the waterworks too, his street is not in good shape.
UPS need not worry. Besides having a forklift truck named 'Moonbeam,' Allan also has a more serious hauling truck that he calls 'The Slug.' If any UPS truck falls into a water-filled crater, Allan can get it out and on the road to you in a jiffy.UPS does not deliver the new bottles to 'The Shed.'
Other wine fanciers live in states where Allan cannot legally ship because of weird state laws. A few of these wine fans have written to Allan, outlining their planned 'work-arounds' involving having the wine shipped to willing helpers in 'legal' states.
For reasons that will be familiar to federal, state and local prosecutors, Allan cannot admit he receives these emails and he declines to make suggestions about how to do the work-arounds. He thinks Americans are resourceful and can figure things out for themselves.Don't bother looking for this label - email or phone Allan instead.
Meanwhile, small wine producers throughout the United States continue their energetic campaign to make their wines available to all, in every state - much to the disgust of the incredibly well-heeled and connected distributors who are doing their level best with lawsuits to prevent Americans from choosing wonderful sparkling wines like 'Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc.'What This Is About
If you have just dropped in, last week's issue introduced the new sparkling wine Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc here for almost the first time in history. It make a brief appearance in a prototype form last December in New York, but it 'came out' officially last week.
To get up to speed with this, please take a look at last week's announcement. If you do this I can avoid repeating it all, and get on to new news in this issue.
This Issue's New Wine News
Moonlightô and Café Metropoleô
by Allan Pangborn
Kennewick:- The Moonlight Sparkling Wine Cellar truck was used to haul the monster lathe that I bought on a whim in California in 1996 because it was a beautiful tool. The truck officially is a White Compact. I learned to drive on one like it when I took a class in college to get my California Class One truck driving license.
This truck was a two-axle tractor, used for pulling semi-trailers. It was lengthened and a 20 foot steel bed installed, to deliver steel for a local business. It is a kind of strong truck.
My name for it is 'The Slug' based on its top speed on the highway. On flat roads 55 mph is its maximum speed and it climbs hills at a turtle-like 11 mph. I spend most of the time while driving looking behind me to stay out of the way of faster trucks.
I talked to a guy at the steel supplier's several years after the trip to bring back the lathe and he was amazed that I had made it to California and back in the truck. Around Kennewick it is fine and I can haul lumber and other stuff.These may be riddling racks but if I'm wrong Allan will make a correction in a coming issue.
The Moonlight Sparkling Wine Cellar forklift makes the truck easy to unload. Because 'Moonlight Sparkling Wine Cellar forklift' is such a long name, I'll call the forklift 'Moonbeam' in the future.
The tank on 'The Slug's' freight deck is a 600 gallon dairy tank. It has a mixer that would continually stir the milk to keep it below 55 degrees F.
I use it to keep the yeast mixed during bottling. The tank is kept on the truck's deck so I can gravity flow the wine into the filler and not have to pump it. This is better for the wine.
Yes, I have to pump the wine into the tank but it fills up in about ten minutes. It takes about four hours to bottle 600 gallons and the wine would be stirred by the pump a lot longer if I had to pump it to the filler instead of letting gravity do it gently.
Oh yes, I should point out that the building in the background of Moonbeam's photo [below] is the winery. I refer to the winery building as the 'shed' out of habit. All my shop buildings have been called sheds. This one is 450 square meters.Other Moonlight Lore
'Moonlighting' is a term for a second job or maybe less than legal evening activity in the spirit of 'Midnight Auto Parts.' But I chose the name because I lived on Moonlight Way in Santa Rosa for many years and I had a shed there that I thought might be used for a winery. My father always said to name something after a place instead of a person as it makes it easier to sell later on.
Last week I wrote that this area gets 90 minutes more sunlight than Napa. This extra sunlight is per day, not per year. It gets light earlier and stays light later because it is further north.And here is 'Moonbeam,' ready to lift UPS trucks out of craters. 'The Shed' is in the background.
The 90 minutes is an approximation but I know when I talk to folks in California in the evening it can be dark there and still light here. The light lets the grapes grow more each day so they can mature faster even though they start three weeks later.
The equipment for making wine is pretty much the same worldwide. It is easier to buy a French-designed machine than design and build something new. The 'Eyrle' mentioned last week is a bottle filler. The filter I have is a Della Toffola, made in Italy.
There will be a wine competition and tasting on Saturday, 3. November. I'm entering Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc and will pour it at the tasting that night. It will be good exposure and I'll see if sparkling wine connoisseurs like it. There will be 1500 people at the tasting. It sells out every year.Before bottles get anything in them, grapes like these get squeezed.
If you intend to visit 'The Shed,' please contact me prior to your visit. The laws controlling alcohol, tobacco and firearms probably account for 3/4ths of all the laws ever written in the USA. The fact that I must be notified before your visit is one of them!
Allan Pangborn, Winemaker
Note:- Allan says that the pricing for Café Metropole Blanc de Blancô sparkling wine should be set in time for the publication of the next issue of Metropole Paris.
Most photos © Allan Pangborn 2002
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