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.