You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, “Once in a blue moon“, indicating something that doesn’t happen often. A “Blue Moon” is the astronomical term for that rare month in which two full moons can be seen (about once every 2-3 years). Oddly, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual color of the moon.
But there’s no phrase that describes the occurrence of two full moons in a single night. And I think we need one. At least, we will when Australian winemaker Mike Hayes adopts his latest plans to harvest by the light of the full moon, sans clothing. And we’re weeks away from harvest in the Southern Hemisphere, so astronomers will have to work quickly. I implore all such star gazers to put down your pens and the Times Crossword, gather ’round the water cooler and get to work.
Harvesting in the nude by the light of a full moon may seem like a thinly disguised stunt designed to gain visibility for his winery, Symphony Hill (a notion I’ve not yet written off!). But the winery already enjoys considerable fame without resorting to cheap tricks – they’ve won armloads of gold medals and were recently listed as one of Australia’s 5-star wineries by the nation’s top guru, James Halliday. Still, un-oaked Chardonnay enjoyed a bump in sales, presumably, after adopting the generic term “naked Chardonnay”, so who’s to deny the path to success?
Hayes says the idea was just part of the knowledge he brought home after studying ancient winemaking techniques while studying on his Churchill Scholarship. The scholarship funds global travels so Hayes can study old world winemaking techniques and obscure grape varietals. I want to get me one of them scholarships.
Hayes says the ancient tradition of nude winemaking made sense. Clothes made from animal hides were not easily washed, and quickly hosted numerous strains of bacteria. Many of these microscopic bugs would have no affect on the wine, but a few did, and therefore wine was traditionally crushed by the feet of workers wearing nothing but their birthday suits.
Odd, that. I’d have thought the wine’s alcohol would have killed just about any unwanted bacteria. But hey, who am I to put logic in the path of a good story?