I’m in a Napa vineyard this morning, helping my cousin Kent with his harvest, as I do most years. Normally I wear rubber kitchen gloves out here, and the field hands look at me funny and say what I’m sure are bemused things about me in Spanish. However, sorting grapes is extremely sticky business – literally. And the reason grapes are picked at the crack of dawn is that it’s best if the fruit is still cool when it arrives at the crush pad. At daybreak, during the pick, the grapes — little juice bombs that they are — are actually cold. It’s a lot like having your hands in a half-ton bin of ice cubes all morning. So today, not having any rubber gloves on standby, I decided to sacrifice a pair of woolies to the cause.
These are plain old stockinette tubes with thumbholes, knitted about a year ago out of some trusty, hardworking Cascade 220. Thanks to wool’s warm-even-when-wet properties, they’re doing me a real, albeit fatal, service. They may happen to be purple, but the insidious pinot juice will destroy them in the end.