Wine: Harvest Intern

After a 12-hour day, I am tired yet exhilarated. I decided to take the plunge, eat my own dog food and to get some hands on winemaking experience. Those of you who know me well enough know how strongly I feel about embracing experiences and gaining knowledge in the field that one writes about—it is sort of like an actor studying a part before they go on screen—they live the life of someone they will become before they act in front of a camera. Living a life as in intern will hopefully make me a better writer.

So for the next month, I am working as a harvest intern for Tendril Wine Cellars in the Willamette Valley with two kick butt folks, winemaker/owner Tony Rynders and associate winemaker Samantha Poehlman. Tony happens to be one of my favorite winemakers in Willamette Valley, with a long list of creds which lead to a 10-year venue at Domaine Serene before he started his own gig at Tendril Wine Cellars.

I’ve admired Tendril wines for a while now, so when I had an opportunity to do harvest, I said hell yes. And only one day into it I realize how much I love being part of the winemaking process. It sort of reminds me of the back of the house in restaurants, where no one has anything to prove and they are a tight nit bunch that kicks ass to make a great product. Meet my new harvest homies, Matt, Dre and Courtney. Courtney has a funny nickname, which I can’t remember right now.

my new homies

Today we sorted through some fantastic Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla.


cab franc walla walla2

And here is Mike at the helm of all things de-stemmed….


What I learned today: Whole cluster fermentations are a bastard to punch down!!  And I tasted the best beer in my life after finishing a 12-hour shift.  Here is to the high life and living the dream!

Tomorrow:  Off to Pinot land…stay tuned!