Harvest Intern

Thought of the day: I am working with the greatest harvest wine crew ever…seriously, these folks rock!!

Note: excuse tired intern spelling mistakes

A week has past and things are still churning away at Tendril Wine Cellars. We brought in our last fruit today, 4 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Oregon side of Walla Walla. The fruit was clean which made our jobs pretty easy on the sorting line. And guess what? No bee stings!  And with the end of fruit comes shorter days. WooT! Well, maybe…. ask me in a couple of weeks if this holds true.

sorting line

Tendril sorting line where the Cab freely flows…


Every morning we start the day by taking temperatures of the cap and must, along with samples of the juice. This information is one component which tells us where things are at, giving us a clue into what the must might need to keep it happy and alive until fermentation completes its cycle.


Yeast, like people, have climates they prefer.  People love warm, sunny days. Yeast has a preference as well. When temperatures dip around 40° F, yeast begins to shut down. And when it gets too warm (reaching 100° F) yeast is not happy–and at this point, you never know what to expect, but undesirable results are sure to follow.  So with this in mind, we need to keep the yeast happy by keeping it in its comfort zone. Doing so will create a wonderful wine with complexity and flavors that Tony and Sam aim for–in the picture above, Sam takes temps of the fermenting juice.

wine ferment samples

 After we read the temps, we collect samples of each fermenting vessel


Then we run the numbers to see where the must/juice is at…Here is Dre, running numbers on the samples I pulled…


Right now it seems like eternity before we finally complete fermentation and move the juice to barrels…patience is a virtue!!!

What I learned today: One can spend an eternity learning about winemaking through classroom study and exams, but until you apply the knowledge in real world settings, you know nothing.

Tomorrow:  More fermentation…and pressing. Stay tuned!

…poll for readers–what is your favorite winery workplace boot? I need to purchase a good pair of women’s boots that will take me from sorting to pressing to cleanup!