A sommelier’s busman’s holiday

A busman’s holiday = a vacation or form of recreation that involves doing the same thing that one does at work.

A sommelier is one VERY knowledgeable about wine.

Daughter Holly is a sommelier by profession. She works for one of the largest wine distributors in the United States. So, what did she and her friend Michelle from work do on a recent weekend? Yep, you got it – they helped with the wine harvest. Michelle wrote up this account of their efforts for their fellow workers.

Holly and I went to Joseph Swan (vineyard) to help with Harvest.  One of us worked harder than the other…. 

Holly not working too hard

Michelle working hard crushing the grapes

Holly and I went expecting to work alongside the Interns and provide harvest support hoping to jump in a few places to help where we could.  We quickly realized that this was not the case.  There were no interns (except us).  It was the Rodfather and Cody to do it all and they were thrilled for any and all help.  It has been a few years since I jumped on top of a tank for hand punch downs and my arms are still screaming.  Holly was the pressure washer and sorting queen. 

I can honestly say the Syrah and many of the Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs have our actual sweat in them.  In addition to punch downs 3 times a day for each tank and bin (6 large ones and 6 smaller ones), they had just picked the Syrah from their estate (Trenton) early that morning and pulled in the Viognier later that morning as well.  We pressed off the Viognier first putting the tiny amount (5 bins) into a tank.  It was tasting great.  Rod decided to leave the Viognier skins inside the tank post press and sent the Syrah directly in after.  This will be their Syrah Rosé. 

After pressing off the Syrah it was time for cleaning up, pressure washing and of course more punch downs.  We left around 8 pm after enjoying some 2018 Rose in bottle and a rare taste of their Cabernet Sauvignon (only 20 cases made from a super small parcel within Trenton).  I have a whole new respect for Joseph Swan, Rod Berglund (Rodfather), Cody Sapieka and the entire staff that was hosting tasters as we worked around them.  Standing at the sorting table with the Rodfather, hearing his stories or his winemaking decisions or thoughts as it was happening was priceless. 

I am not sure Holly knew what she was getting into (just confirmed, she did not) when I asked if she wanted to join me, but she was a champ and impressive at every task.  Her love of power washing is unparalleled, and one might even say borderline obsessive.”

Holly crushing

Grapes just off the vine

Michelle power washing