Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hate to see it end but love to see it over

          At my final week at Oregon Barrel works I learned how they put the final rings on the barrels before they are wrapped for shipping. They use a huge hydraulic press that presses the final rings onto the barrels. The steel rings that we used for shaping the barrels finally come off and more attractive galvanized steel ones are put on. Once the hydraulic ram pushes the rings on then they are lightly sanded again and a rivet is put into the ring and the side of the barrel keeping them from coming loose and moving. This was my job, using the rivet gun to put in the final rivets. I learned so much over the course of this internship it is hard to put ever detail into a blog post but I hope I have captured the essence of it for you. In my estimate I think it takes approximately 40 man hours for each barrel to be completed and a lot of back breaking work. So next time you go to fill a barrel with wine know that there was a lot blood and sweat and tears that went into it. The tears were probably mostly mine though.

How much wood could a wood chuck chuck

          This week I spent most of my time at Oregon Barrel Works packaging oak chips. This was an interesting process because one guy will sit outside with a hydraulic wood slitter splitting oak pieces into small manageable pieces then they are ground up in a wood chipper, then from there there are loaded into a giant drying drum where they spin and heat is added to dry the chips. Then after they cool I would bag them into 40 pound bags and put them on a pallet. They are put in a kind of sock looking then and tied off before going into the bag so the wineries can just throw the whole sock in without chips going everywhere.

My arms might fall off

          This next week was non the less as interesting as all the rest of them have been. Once the barrels are pretty much finished at this point now comes the sanding. Using a circular sander I got the pleasant opportunity of sanding between each ring on the barrel. This takes a couple times around each space between the rings and as you can imagine holding a vibrating sander for hours at a time doing a repetitive motion can be extremely tiring. I couldn't believe how smooth the barrels turned out though when I was done. This was a painful week but ill be back next week expecting to learn more.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

That's All Folks

Well, last post of the year. How can I possibly sum up the experiences, people, and wines that I have encountered in the past 12 months? While the words are hard to find, I know that I am so very thankful to have had this opportunity. I have met 7 of Linfield's finest scholars and traveled halfway around the world with them. We saw each other grow in the program, as people, and as passionate wine consumers. I could not have asked for a better group! Also, I wanted to give a special thank you to our French speakers...without you ladies I would probably still be in France trying to figure out how to order food! I also want to thank the group as a whole. You all made the van rides, vineyard work, and winery tours memorable and hilarious. I am excited to see where each of our path's lead, and hope that they will all cross again in the future (preferably at a place where they serve a whole lot of wine).

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It's the End!

    I just finished my last reflection paper, my final presentation is pretty much done and finals are in a little over a week!
Wow, I cannot believe the OWIE is basically over. What a year it has been. Full of new flavors, friends and experiences this program is something I will remember for the rest of my life. I started it without ever having drank wine because of being underage and now I can buy and enjoy a bottle while understand the time and passion that goes into it.

I want to thank everyone that help made this such a memorable, learning experience. It truly has been the best vintage to date. I look forward using the skills and information I learned later on in life, whether that is in a career in the wine industry or just being able to enjoy and share a bottle of wine with people.

Cheers to a great year everyone!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Count Down Begins

These last few weeks have been hectic, both at my internship and in school. The internship at Duck Pond Cellars has been going phenomenal and I can't believe that I only have a week or so left. In the last few week, I have been helping set up emails for the bands that are going to be preforming in the summer concerts at the vineyard. I sent the emails with waivers and such, and then had to organize and double check that I was receiving all the ones that I needed to receive. I am still continuing to help revamp the tasting room. I helped frame some big pictures and rearrange some of the gift shop items. It is also very exciting because Duck Pond is going to be releasing a Pinot Noir Blanc in the near future. I was lucky enough to taste it because I attended the Taste Dundee event with my mom a few weekends ago. There was a very successful turnout there and it was so much fun. I cannot wait to see how the event does in the future, since it was just the first one. It has been an exciting time working on my projects at Duck Pond and I cannot wait to wrap it up and graduate in a few short weeks.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Finishing everything up!

I can't believe we are nearing the end of this experience. I only have two more weekends at Dominio IV and I started as a Guest Relations Associate at Archery Summit. The past two weekends at Dominio have been exactly the same; I've just been working in the tasting room.

My training for Archery Summit has also started, and I love it so much! I am pretty excited for graduation and this new chapter in my life.

That's all I have to report today,

Conclusion: Inconclusive

As the end of another school year comes about, it is difficult to believe that I have been in this internship for a year now. It has really been quite the journey--aside from changes and growth in my own personal life, my academic and professionals lives have developed into a place where I have much to hope for and look forward to. This internship was the incentive for me to return to my academic career and I have much to be thankful for because of it. Though I have decided to transfer due to changes in academic goals and a fatigue in commuting, I will still look back at this chapter as an epitomes moment in my adult life.

Perhaps, too, this is the best description of my research on Oregon chardonnay--a moment, a chapter, something still to be written. After talking to over 30 winemakers, vineyard managers, sommeliers, and winery owners, after researching articles on the sensory sciences, vineyard management, and historical reviews, and even holding my own tasting to discern anything concrete on the matter, my results are this: inconclusive. And I hope this an acceptable answer to the question, "What is Oregon chardonnay?"

It is a developing sector of the industry--in its infancy, really. Though I can procure 50 years worth of information on the subject, it is really only in the last 5 years that a significant amount of attention has been given to this part of the industry. So how could I come up with a definite answer to such an ambiguous question? Indeed, I admit to a naivety on my part--perhaps even an over-confidence that is quite unattractive for a rookie. I've  been humbled--I've come to believe that I really don't know that much on the subject, or at least anymore than anyone else. And I question what else I could have done, what other questions should I have asked?

Thus, for my presentation I will ask those questions, but only as a way to outline the question and ultimately help us understand and define such a fascinating category. It is a question, a conversation that will take a couple of generations for us to understand and have a better grasp at, but the least I can do is provide a foundation for it and things to think about--things a consumer will ask. There is a much to learn on the subject, which is a good thing.

Perhaps Oregon chardonnay is not so much inconclusive--perhaps it is yet to be made.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Nearing the End!

It's hard to believe we are only three weeks away from graduation! The weeks fly by when you're having fun with wine internships...

Presentation time is approaching. I have all of the information ready to go and have final touches to put on my presentation - thankfully the syllabus says it isn't due until finals week!

Ironically, I was given the opportunity to sit in on a professor's class where accounting for the wine industry is the topic. I will be doing this next week to refine some of my findings and possibly add more topics to my syllabus for the wine course. Needless to say, I am very excited about the week ahead.

All that is left to do is finish up the presentation, prepare for rough practices next Wednesday, and complete the supervisor and self-evaluations (along with compiling that final paper).


Friday, May 1, 2015

Another week down!

Last week was very interesting; I worked with Patrick on ways we could update the Dominio IV website. The process involved going through the website, finding the things we wanted to change, figure out what new pictures we wanted to include, and putting together a document with a list of everything we want to change.

After going through the website myself, I sat down with Patrick to discuss my observations. We collaborated on the changes we wanted to make, and, afterwards, I created the word document with a specific list of all the changes.

I sent that list in to Patrick, he reviewed it, added some pictures, and sent it off to the website company. There will be a scheduled conference where the company talks to Patrick about the changes, but that might not happen for a couple months. The website looks like it will be debuted after about a month or so into the summer.

My Saturday in the tasting room was quite busy; we had a private party of 12 come in at 4 pm, so Heather and I closed the tasting room to the public for this tasting. It was fun!

That's all I have to report for this week,