Hello beautiful people. This blog will be quick because my life is getting a little topsy-turvy now, but I wanted to write something regardless.
Harvest ended last Wednesday (10/30) when we got the last of the fruit in, as seen below. Overall, 730 tons of grapes came through the facility, which is a lot for Walla Walla. I may have helped sort approximately 12 of those tons, but no matter. I avoided the sorting table like nothing else due to its being repetitious, mundane, and unfriendly to my back. I was quite successful too, I might add.
The last 5 bins of grapes to be sorted for this year.
Things are definitely winding down at work and half the cellar interns are now gone. It's much quieter, less frantic, cold (temperature-wise), and kind of sad. Harvest took over my life (well, everyone's), especially since it's what I moved here to do, and it's jarring for it to suddenly be empty. There's still work to be done though, particularly pressing, barrel downs, all the cleaning you could imagine, and pump overs. There's also topping, filling kegs, racking, and more cleaning.
This infernal creature is known as the Waukesha. I don't care what its actual name is (Waukesha is the brand), but this beast weighs 680 lbs and usually has a long pump over list. We have a hate/hate/like/hate/love relationship. It's complicated.
I etched a Waukesha into a pumpkin. Marissa, one of my coworkers, etched the #sumpkin to go along with the #sumplife we live.
The big question with work ending is, what next? I couldn't think about it until recently as my entire existence revolved around harvest (a state of being I've learned I find overwhelming and entirely unpleasant) and it's anxiety-producing to say the least. Needless to say, I've decided I'm moving to Seattle! I'm excited to spend time in the Emerald City and Pacific Northwest as it really is beautiful out here. What am I going to do in Seattle? Be awesome. Really. To steal words of wisdom from a kindergartner my mom recently met, one, I'm feisty, and two, I've got nothin'.
Really, it's a leap of faith. But then again, wasn't this whole experience? I'll elaborate in later posts (I've got a backlog of things I want to write about!), but I'm becoming more flexible with myself. I'll always be an adventurer, though it will hopefully not always be as literal (and wild) as this particular shot-in-the-dark was. I don't want to make wine, that dream is no longer mine, but I chased it. I've grown and learned so much, made new friends, and have an amazing story to tell about the time I ran away to work a harvest. It's been an honor and a privilege not only to have this experience, but to be able to share parts of it with you all.
The job isn't over for a couple more weeks, and I'll still be seeing my friends here, but in my current transitional state, it felt like a good time to begin saying goodbye. Change is difficult for me, so I've already started preparing. Or bracing myself for the transition that's barreling towards me, both are accurate. I'll continue this blog, of course, and there will be more updates about wine, but for now, here's where I'm at. Onwards and upwards.
sorting - when grapes come in to be processed they are sometimes sorted to pick out bad grapes, unwanted clusters, leaves, bugs, dead mice, sandwiches, and anything that doesn't belong in a bin of grapes.
Check out that
Finally had the experience of climbing inside a tank to dig out the grapes. These are Nebbiolo and Barbera, two Italian grapes.
The view from a client's tasting room. When I first arrived I thought the area was brown and ugly, but it's grown on me and really is beautiful.
I went poking around the rest of the warehouse and successfully found how to get on the roof. I also stumbled across this surreal and creepy scene. It honestly felt like I was in The Matrix or something.