It's taken forty-one years, but I have finally found my dream job! As of August 27, 2008 I will be working at an estate vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. This blog will journal my adventures, from seed to vine to wine and back again. Pull up a stool and I'll pour you a story.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Without going down too much of a long and whining road, I have discovered that the vineyard owners' definition of their request that I "be flexible" translates to "never plan anything on your own time in case we need you to do something at the vineyard."
I was subjected to a hostile and very unprofessional session of berating and nastiness when I informed them that I would be unable to work a nighttime event due to having tickets to a show (which, incidentally, I had purchased over a year ago, and which will be my only outing with my husband this year). This verbal flagellation occurred in the presence of another employee, who tried her best but failed to vanish into a crack in the floor from sheer embarrassment.
In addition to this, I found an email (on our company email list, which my job requires me to utilize and read) from the boss to a former employee, informing her that my schedule would be switched around to accommodate her wish to come back and work for a few days. None of this had been discussed with me, and when the boss came to me at the end of a workday to inform me of a schedule change less than twelve hours in advance, I was, as you may imagine, less than inclined to "be flexible".
Not to leave you on a sour note, here are some neat photos I took in and around the vineyard recently...
For some reason it's not so much the house itself
as the contents of the front porch that make
this one seem so haunted...
uber-creepy upper window...
really made it eerie. I took these just as the
sun was going down.
the courage to get close enough to take
some really good shots.
Don't even try to tell me you don't
know there's something living under there
in that big black hole at the base of
the bay windows...
Monday, October 20, 2008
It was a dark and stormy day...
Last week, we had a dreary, cloud-filled day that prompted me to take some pictures. I find that gloomy weather puts more feeling into photographs, gives them that little "Sleepy Hollow" sentiment. It can turn a picture of an old rocking chair into a ghost story.
Up in the loft, I had a little impromptu photo shoot. I hadn't realized the views from up there were so interesting before, perhaps because the brilliant sunshine made it hard to see out the windows.
This building was originally constructed in the 1880's and has been refurbished in the original style. Note the mortise and tenon construction - using tension to hold the puzzle pieces together, rather than nails and screws.
What is it about barrels that make them so photogenic, I wonder? Is it the beauty of things that are still hand crafted by artisans? Is it the perfect shape, the geometric lines of wood grain, or the steely strength of metal bands holding things together? Or the thought of the wine that has slept inside, dreaming of the bottles to come?
The vineyard also has a garden, and these are the end of season beauties I found there. Golden cherry tomatoes and brightly colored lettuces.
The vines are shedding their leaves fast now, even though all of the fruit has not been harvested yet. The Sauvignon Blanc was harvested two weeks ago, and we are now in the midst of our Merlot harvest. Next come the Petit Verdot and Malbec grapes, and the last to be harvested will be the Cabernet Sauvignon.
times a day, as we keep all our office supplies, paper towels for the
bathroom, flyers, pamphlets, and magazines up there.
She showed me how to clip the grapes from the vine, and what to look for. Surprisingly, the grapes at harvest are not the round, shiny, beautiful grapes usually depicted in artwork or photography. Grapes properly ripened for wine are rather ugly. They must be left on the vine until they begin to "raisin", or shrivel up a bit, which concentrates the sugars and intensifies the flavors.
The grapes ready to harvest are a bit dusty and wrinkly looking, as I mentioned, and before pitching a bunch into the bin, any grapes with "betritis" (a green mold) must be removed. Moldy grapes occur naturally, as Long Island tends to have heavy morning dews. If a bunch of grapes has one or two offenders, a flick of the hand clippers can remove them, but if there are quite a few bad ones a good hard shake will send them flying, while the healthy grapes remain attached to their stems.