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