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Internship – Take 2!

Posted by Kerith , September 16, 2010

I am soft, soft like Twinkie filling or a limp pillow that leaves you with a torticollis hangover in the morning.  My first week of internship, I famously passed out in the OR, retractor in hand.  The scrub nurse revived me with orange juice and Jell-O.  After it happened twice more, she told my attending she was sure I was pregnant.  Only I wasn’t.  I was just debilitatingly anxious, exhausted, feeble…and soft.  Now as a stay at home mom, I can snack when I chose and even indulge in an afternoon nap with my brood.  I am a crummy dieter and deny myself nothing.  Because I am soft.  Nothing I’ve accomplished in the last 10 years has prepared to be an intern…again.  But that’s just what I have volunteered to do.

Now that I have completed my online enology classes, I’m preparing to learn something practical for change.  I know everything about virtual winemaking but am useless in an actual winery.  I had to beg Clay Mauritson to “hire” me, to work for free, cleaning stuff.  That pretty well informs my liability rating- “Kerith Overstreet, UC Davis winemaking graduate, more hazardous in the winery than Tony Soprano at ‘The Bada Bing!’”  Finally, after incessant begging and two chocolate zucchini cake bribes, Clay offered me a coveted spot on the intern home team (albeit second string).  This fall I’ll get to spend two full weeks as a harvest intern, the one old mare among the young bucks hired to work notoriously long hours, on their feet, all day.  I’ll be doing hard manual labor, scut work like sorting grapes, punching caps at 2 am, and disinfecting the winery floor with a Q-tip.  (OK, I made that last one up, but as the lowest sap on the totem pole I probably will be the go-to cleaner-upper).  Even worse, this time around there won’t be any awesome nurses to make me coffee.

Actually, I am pretty excited to finally couple my theoretic knowledge with a practical application.  Plus I’m more confident and grown up than my first internship.  This time around I plan to ask Clay’s assistant for ample snack and bathroom breaks.  It’s a bitch taking orders from a college kid who thinks neon Flashdance sweatshirts are a novel trend.  But then on the other hand, at least I can’t kill anyone.  Of course I will keep you up to date on my winery mishaps and failures.  It’s no Grey’s Anatomy, but it beats yeast biochemistry.

Harvest is still a few weeks away.  Sugar levels on the grapes from Wildcat Mountain are in the 18-19 °Brix range while our Santa Lucia Highlands fruit is topping out at 21.5.  I’ll wait for more sugar and less acid before I pack my No-Doz and Emergen-C.

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