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10.16.2005

Get Out From Behind That Desk and Into The Fields

wi_reporter.jpgI'm sure every one of my readers who's a winemaker or works at a winery will shake their heads in wonder, but I know a lot of people who fantasize about owning vineyards and harvesting grapes to make their own wine. Some of them even dream of "breaking in" to the wine industry by dropping their corporate job and beginning life at the bottom rung of the winemaking business. But what does that bottom rung actually look like?

Thanks to the masochism and keen observations of one of our local wine writers, W. Blake Gray, we now have an answer. Blake spent a day working both as a picker and as a cellar rat for Seghesio vineyards last month, and on Thursday he published a piece describing his experience. It's well written and a lot of fun to read.

My favorite part is when, with his limited Spanish comprehension, he overhears his fellow veteran grape pickers explaining his presence as a bumbling newbie in the field to each other: "He's a writer. He must need to pick grapes to earn some extra money."

Check out the full story. Be sure to check out the lovely accompanying illustrations by Bill Russell.

Comments (3)

Jeff wrote:
10.18.05 at 8:23 PM

"Some of them even dream of "breaking in" to the wine industry by dropping their corporate job and beginning life at the bottom rung of the winemaking business. But what does that bottom rung actually look like?"

I actually did this three weeks ago.. (Quit my job and become a cellar boy, I mean.) The author got it just about right, but he worked only about two-thirds a normal crush-time cellar day. And truly, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Highly recommended for anyone serious about wine. Really. Now excuse me- I have to go to bed...

Jeff

Alder wrote:
10.21.05 at 10:48 AM

Jeff,

Thanks for the comments! If you have time, come back and share some more of your experiences (once you're done scrubbing those tanks..)

Rick wrote:
10.26.05 at 10:35 AM

I left a job on Wall Street for the wine industry 17 years ago. Wanted to do something i loved, and was willing to walk away from a lot of money.

Now manage a luxury winery in Napa.

Could not be happier.

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