Thursday, December 18, 2014

White Roses and Red Wine

As harvest rolled around, we had the opportunity to get the hands on experience, just like the real vinos. I was able to do my harvest at White Rose Estate Winery and Vineyard.  It is a high class vineyard and the uniforms reflect that; white long sleeve shirts, tan pants and suspenders, they're pretty classy.

I got the exciting job of pump overs and cleaning the tanks. I learned that even if drops of wine were on the tanks, they attract fruit flies, and fruit flies can cause problems to the fermenting grapes (and who wants flies in their wine anyways?).

The pump overs were tedious, but I learned a lot while doing them. This is because during the 30 minutes that I held the hose for the pump overs, I had the opportunity to talk with Jesus, the head wine maker.  He told me his whole story about how he came to the states to work in the vineyards and do labor work, and now is one of the most prestigious wine makers in the Willamette Valley. He was extremely inspiring to talk to and taught me a lot about the wine. He also told me that if you lean over the tanks for too long, you could pass out due to the carbon dioxide, so I tried not to do that or else I'd fall off the ladder. I also tasted some of the fermenting wine, that was definitely a new experience. I tasted wine that had been fermenting for 10, 13 and 20 days. It was extremely sweet in the new stages, and was more and more bitter the longer it sat and you could taste the alcohol in the later stages as well. You can tell the changes in just the short days that it set. It was intriguing and was an experience I will always remember.

I unfortunately did not get to do a lot of the labor work, due to an injury. The time I did get to spend was great and I learned a lot from Jesus. White Rose was a great place to have this experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

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