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The Best Job in the Wine Industry

You know, I'm far from a total wine expert. Sure I know a lot more than your average person about wine, and I drink a lot more of it than most, but every once in a while it will become clear how little I do know. Take the wine production and packaging process, for instance. I was pretty sure I knew how the basic process unfolded. I've seen my share of bottling lines, and wines crated up by the pallet load. Pretty straightforward, right?

But then I was lucky enough to be having dinner the other night with wine writer Eric Asimov from the New York Times, and in the course of our conversation he happened to talk about his experiences watching wine bottling, and how much he enjoyed watching the work of the cork soakers. I nearly missed it, as he moved on to other aspects of the wine bottling process, but I eventually had to stop him and ask him to explain himself.

And that's how I learned about one of the best jobs in the wine industry. Like many industry jobs, it's not one I'd really want to do, but I can see how many people might find it very rewarding.

Eric said he first learned about the cork soakers on TV, which completely explains why I didn't know about it. Ruth and I don't watch TV and haven't for years.

Cork soakers. Go figure. It's things like this that fuel my passion for wine. There's always something new to learn.

Comments (17)

Lenn wrote:
08.07.06 at 4:30 AM

You got to meet Asimov and have dinner with him? That's pretty cool...I hope we get to hear more about this meal.

Randy Sloan wrote:
08.07.06 at 7:50 AM

Man, I am NOT getting my money's worth from our bottling line!

brett wrote:
08.07.06 at 8:48 AM

Maybe I'm just not having enough fun in my life, but I don't consider a stupid sexual pun worthy of either a 5-minute comedy sketch or a post by you.

Sorry--in general I find your blog of high quality, but not here.

Alder wrote:
08.07.06 at 8:49 AM

Nothing particularly bloggable about the meal. I wouldn't have even mentioned it had I not needed to give him credit for turning me on to cork soaking. Just invited the guy out for dinner and we chatted about wine, wine blogging, etc. We had dinner in Napa and drank a couple of French wines.

St.Vini wrote:
08.07.06 at 9:00 AM

Brett - You got it right in the first line....


Andrew wrote:
08.07.06 at 10:49 AM

Ummm, wine bottling lines - not the most exciting things in the world but beats another row of stainless steel tanks and day - at least something happens occasionally!

Eric wrote:
08.07.06 at 12:28 PM

Alder, well crafted set up leading to punch line. It took me a second to get in on the joke. That sketch is watchable only because of the talent trying to pull it off (no pun intended). :)


Alder wrote:
08.07.06 at 10:23 PM


I think there are far too few stupid sexual puns in the wine world. Had to take advantage of this one when I had the chance. Besides, it came highly recommended from a fellow wine journalist who for understandable reasons can't exactly squeak such material past the editorial board. SOMEONE had to write about it, and it certainly wasn't going to be the Wine Spectator !

Jason wrote:
08.07.06 at 11:25 PM

Anybody remember the Michael Keaton movie "Johnny Dangerously"? That's what I thought this post was about at first -- the awesomeness of the Roman Moronie character. Check it out:


Winer wrote:
08.08.06 at 6:52 PM

I saw that skit on SNL when it originally aired and thought it was very funny. Didn't realize there really were cork soakers. Too funny!

Elise wrote:
08.09.06 at 3:17 PM

That was hilarious. Didn't catch that one on SNL. Thanks for posting the link.

Jean-Louis wrote:
08.10.06 at 12:20 AM

Indeed, there are so few puns in the wine industry that one has to uncork them for sure. What world would we leave in without puns?

08.13.06 at 7:08 PM

As a longtime admirer of Mr Alder’s blog, I must concur with his opinion. From my lofty post as world-renown, award-winning wine journalist and opinion maker I say unto you: more sex, fun and deviancy is exactly what the cobwebbed and über-precious wine world needs. Go forth, then, and soak corks, all ye who gather here.

a cork soaker wrote:
08.14.06 at 6:20 AM

Absolutely hilarious.

I love your colomn Alder, even more so for blogs like this.

Stephanie wrote:
08.14.06 at 11:53 AM

I love it! I, too, saw that when it aired but I did not think it was a actual job. :)

Alder wrote:
08.14.06 at 11:57 AM

I think it takes a special sort of person to enjoy soaking corks all day.

10.27.14 at 8:28 AM

Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting
a new project in a community in the same niche.
Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done
a marvellous job!

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