Monday, November 17, 2014

Dream Jobs Really Do Come True!

In my previous lifetime as an event planner for a lobbying organization in Washington, DC, I had a great budget to work with and bosses with scrupulous taste and excellent palates. This was how I was introduced to Flowers Wines and fell in love with their range of wines that relay a sense of what the French call “Terroir”: a sense of place reflecting the natural environment in which the wine is produced. Fast forward 6 years, Roel and I are riding around North America and decide to give ourselves an opportunity to work with extremely high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and learn about Biodynamic Wine Making… at Flowers Vineyard & Winery. We put a lot of effort into getting hired at this top-end winery, visiting last year on our way down to Southern California to introduce ourselves to the wine making team, applying like the other 200+ applicants, answering a questionnaire the likes of which I am familiar with from my post-bach days applying for jobs with high-level DC consulting firms, arranging Skype interviews from Australia, and then finally, we got the good news from Dave Keatley, Flowers head winemaker… We were hired!

Sometimes, dream jobs really do come true :)

We spent the first weekend at the house getting to know our new housemates, shopping for supplies as “town” was about an hour-and-a-half away, and of course, wine tasting at local wineries, greatly appreciating the complimentary and expansive “industry tastings” that were offered wherever we visited.

Our first week at the winery was meant to be comprised of introductions, various trainings (safety, processes, equipment, etc.) and getting to know the Flowers portfolio…

followed by another week of 8am - 5pm lax days, giving us plenty of time to get settled, or in my case, catch up on neglected blogging after our mad dash to make it to Sonoma. (Oops :? ) While we did manage to cram in the above-mentioned wine-related “tasks” in in the first week, we also added bottling the most of the 2012 vintage wines, cleaning and prepping equipment and tanks, and sampling 74 acres of vineyards to determine when
the first pick would be…

No, this photo is not crooked... the rows have planted on that steep of a hill

Our resident enologist explaining how Flowers would like us to sample the vineyard

The results of a morning spent sampling at Sea View Ridge Vineyard

...which ultimately came two weeks earlier than anticipated… By the beginning of our second week at Flowers, we were picking Chardonnay for sparkling base.

Sunrise Chardonnay Pick for Sparkling Wine Base

Roel picking Chardonnay for Flowers Sparkling Wine Base

Let the fun begin!!

And it did not stop from there. We did have some lovely evenings in the hot tub and some fun “family” dinners accompanied by a stockpile of Flowers wines (ranging from their ‘entry level’ Sonoma Coast wine @ $60/bottle to their single block selection Estate wines at $120+/bottle). But in short order, the fun at home and late nights gave way to very early mornings and 12-14 hour days.

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