Fall crush, part two – October 21, 2011

21 Oct

It was a pretty big international news day and I’m a bit of a news junkie. So you know if I’m going to disconnect from most of my news sources for any length of time to run off and do something else, that something else has to be pretty fantastic.

And it was.

I caught a little of the news this morning before heading out to the heart of Oregon’s wine country to meet my Twitter/Timbers friend Dave. Dave is the general manager at Vista Hills in Dayton, Oregon, and was kind enough to agree when I invited myself out for a behind-the-scenes look at the wide world of wine.

He’s a good sport, that Dave.

Today’s work was being done at Panther Creek, where we were to process six tons of grapes that had been picked this morning. But when I got there, things had already apparently gone awry. Dave and his crew were in semi-scramble mode, trying to fix the destemmer. The lesson learned today is that, when you unplug something, you should always pull the plug, not the cord. Pulling the cord for the destemmer had loosened some of the electrical connections which, thankfully, was a much easier fix than trying to find another motor to swap out (which was the other possible oops being considered).

Back on track, we got started sorting the fruit, looking for anything that shouldn’t be in the mix. “You’re a Timbers fan,” one of the other wine guys told me. “Just pretend you’re looking for Roger Levesque and when you find him, get him out of here.”

Dave had warned me that it would be sticky work. Nearly twelve hours later, I’m still sticky, but I can’t imagine many things I’d trade the experience for. A few hours in wine country, shoulder to shoulder with the winemakers, a shared meal and grape schmutz in my hair. That’s a win in my book. I can’t wait to go back.

Did I mention that we listened to Rush at very high volumes for an extended period of time? Double win.

These sorts of things are what we’ve moved away from in our automated, industrial, commercialized world. We don’t get our hands dirty. We drink wine we buy in a grocery store, knowing nothing of the land or people that produced it. The same can be said for pretty much everything else we consume.

It might be cheaper to run down to the store for a bottle of Two Buck Chuck, but there’s better out there. Make the effort to find it. Think locally, buy locally. Get involved locally. Grow something. Make something. Or, at the very least, make a friend who does. And then invite yourself to his vineyard.

Happy October, people. And thanks again, Dave.

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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in October 2011


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