Saturday, November 14, 2009

The brutality

No, not of my coach. She's tough as nails and is helping me get that way too.

The brutal task today was removing wine labels. You see, when you make your own wine you end up investing in glass bottles. I've got about 450 bottles. Once you've drunk the wine, you need to make sure the bottle is clean, inside and out. After all, I like to give away some of my wine and it's just not the same if there is a new label stuck on top of an old label, or horrors, old labels.

The general rule is that the easier the label goes on, the harder it is to get off, though there are some exceptions. The nice ones are like the Australian Verdelho, a self adhesive plastic label that peels off nice. Most labels come off by soaking them in warm water for a little while. Some need a little bit of encouragement to peel off, but come reasonably clean.

Then there is the California Tempranillo. Soaking does nothing but maybe soften up the paper a little bit. I use a square toothed trowel normally used for cementing floor tile to get the worst of the paper off. That leaves the glue. I'm not sure what it is, but it could hold the world together come judgement day. Laundry detergent is good for most label glue residue, but it doesn't touch this. Bleach rolls off it. I have to dig out the Goo Gone and even that takes a bit of doing.

But even then I'm not done. At best it leaves a hazy greasy smear. That has to be scrubbed off with Comet or laundry detergent, or both. About half the time rinsing after that still leaves some faint residue where the water peels off first, leaving a faint indication of the diamond label. So scrub some more. Such is the downside of drinking wine.

That was the activity of my day. Coffee, the morning papers, and mentally cheering for buddies in the Clearwater 70.3 happened in the morning. This evening we're working our way through Rome, an HBO series that is really quite good, especially if you like lots of of people plotting against one another.


  1. So ... enologist and viniculturalist, eh? I myself practice the dark art of zymurgical alchemy-

    O, f*ck these fifty-cent words (seventy-three cents Canadian)! I make beer! Beer! And you make wine.

    Difference is, I no longer waste any time trying to make the outsides of my bottles look clean - I don't even try to remove the labels anymore. I no longer even take the time to indicate on the bottle what type of beer is inside because I like them all and I don't mind being surprised when I open one: "Hmmm ... India Pale Ale is my guess. Could be an English Bitter though ... O, well, whatever. Bottoms up!"

    This drives Teh 'Bride nuts because she's a beer racist: She judges beer not by the content of its character, but by its color alone - the darker the better. So when we bring some of my brews to a local byob restaurant, she'll ask, "Are they dark?" And I'll say, "The bottles are brown. What do I have, MRI-vision?" [Because I don't think x-ray vision would be much help here.] Then I add: "Ya payz yer money, ya takes yer chances."

    Usually the beer is dark enough for her.

    Like I said - what a beer racist!

    Just goes to show you how badly things are all stacked up against the Hard-Working Light-Colored Beer here in Obama's America! White beers don't stand a chance in this zeitgeist! That's why so many of them join militias.

  2. Ever try peanut butter to remove the sticky stuff from labels? We used to use it at the store to remove price tags from picture frames, etc.

  3. Wow, I'd be really bad at that task. I have zero patience. It reminds me of removing wallpaper.


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