Saw Bruce at the Lafond Winery in the Santa Rita Hills today. There is not much going on now that all the wine is in barrels, there are 541 60gal. barrels stacked four high and an almost equal number in our barrel room at Santa Barbara Winery. Topping is once a month, but Winemaker Bruce McGuire is here on bung and leakage patrol. At this point the bungs are fairly loose to permit CO2, from malolactic fermentation, to escape and sometimes they just pop off.
The other concern is leakage caused by a bore called Lead Cable Borer which makes its home in the vineyard and in oak trees. Invariably, during harvest, some barrels are left outside which will attract the bores and leakage is not always evident when the barrels are filled. Bruce has a simple oak wood cone, made especially for this purpose, which he will hammer into the bore hole. The difficult part, however, is finding the bore hole.