Whew... What a day! It's 11:00 and I can barely move my fingers to type this. I have a lot to report on my encouraging and exhausting first day, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow. Also - New pictures of the Camp Deerfield project and photos of my first day. Stay tuned!
Okay, It's 11:30 this time but as promised I'll tell you about my first day on the job. I also posted all of the photos from yesterday and today as well as more progress on Camp Deerfield. It took three hours, three computers, and more than a little ingenuity but they're there to see so enjoy!
Well, I had really good first day! The head winemaker has me shadowing one of the crew members for a week while I get the hang of things. Aron is a really nice guy and a really efficient Cellar Rat. He's been working for Deerfield for just over a year now but has many more years of experience in the industry. His English isn't perfect and neither is my Spanish so it was a bit hard to communicate and that makes learning a challenge. I can see that learning Spanish is going to be absolutely requisite on my quest to become a winemaker.
We got two big projects done during the day: In the morning we racked about 15 barrels. Racking is the proccess of moving wine from the barrel to a intermediary tank and then into new or different barrels. The purpose is take the wine off of its lees (remnants of the fermentation process) and later just to improve preserve the fresh berry taste. A lot of people don't know it but the barrel really acts like a filter: Removing some of the bad tastes that doesn't belong in a fine wine. And when that filter is used up wine sitting in the barrel will start to taste funky. The barrels can be washed and reused but not for long (depending on the standards of the winery). We threw away about half of the barrels when we were done. And that's crazy considering they go for about $500 a pop!
In the afternoon we cleaned the ceiling of the huge tent on the crush pad with a pressure washer. Yes. The ceiling. Wineries are probably more sterile than hospitals. I hopped on a forklift so I could get up close and personal with the canvas.
Even though I was completely exhausted, I felt so good at the end of the day. I think it's because I knew it was the first of many eventful and interesting days, and because I knew that finally I'm where I am supposed to be. Anyway... Enough for now. It's gonna be a busy week but before the weekend I'll let you all know how the first week went!
Sandra was nice enough to inform me that the price of barrels has increased dramatically since last I worked at the winery. Barrels now run from $800 to $1200! Ouch!