Friday, August 20, 2010

Wine bottling at Abacela

A while back, I put myself on a "to call" list for helping out at a vineyard. This particular vineyard is an hour and a half south, but it's one of our FAVORITES, so it was well worth any driving effort.

There was a bottling opportunity for yesterday (their 2008 Syrah), and I got a slot!
I traded off between filling bottles with nitrogen gas (to keep the wine from being exposed to oxygen during bottling) and unloading empty bottles off of pallets for filling. I also got to help bottle some magnums and learn how the various machinery worked. I worked from 9am to 3pm, with a half hour lunch.

We all sat down at the table after bottling and enjoyed a bottle of the 08 Syrah. Now that was darn good, even though the bottle was going through some bottling shock (the wine usually simmers down after a while in the bottle).

And, I discovered I have a good nose for wine! Someone at the winery had a scent set. It's about 28 bottles of various specific scents, and you have to identify what you're smelling. "lemon", "bell pepper", "licorice", and "clove" went around the table, and I guessed right! Pretty exciting. Though, bell pepper was difficult. It reminded me of lettuce... which, in real life, it DOES sort of smell like crunched lettuce. Fun nonetheless.

Now, I did not really understand how I would be paid. I figured that if I came away with a bottle of the 08 Syrah and some experience, that would be a good day. And I did get a bottle. Then, I was told I had to go fill out a timesheet. HUH? I guess for records?

Then, I found out that they would pay me a certain amount per hour in cash, OR that would be doubled and I could spend it on wine.

Um, I was already told to come home with Abacela wine, so wine, yes please!

So, in the end, I got over $120 worth of free wine. Fan freakin' fantastic!

I splurged a little bit. B and I normally buy $20 and under wine, with the occasional exception. Since this was "free wine", I opted to get a very pricey bottle of Tempranillo (triple gold ribbon winner) and an semi-pricey bottle of 2006 (great year for reds here in Oregon) bottle of Syrah. I got a couple other not as expensive bottles.

I figure that if I get this job (long interview on Tuesday, with presentations, etc), that bottle of Tempranillo will be cracked open in celebration.


  1. I hope the interview went well! And great choice on the Tempranillo. What a fun opportunity to work at a vineyard for a day!

  2. I kind of like that system of payment! We are trying to figure out how to work that with our "workers" who are only working for the potential of future wine right now! Sounds like a fun day!

  3. You’re so lucky to get that slot, Jessika! For a wine lover like me, watching a wine being bottled is a priceless feeling. When I first witnessed the process, I became fascinated with the machines they use and how each of them work. Probably my favorite was the capping equipment.