Who can take a sunrise, Sprinkle it with dew, Cover it in Cabernet, And a miracle or two… The Harvest Intern can, The Harvest Intern can…
So, now that I have you humming “The CandyMan” for the rest of the day, I wanted to use this post to acknowledge this year’s interns. “A miracle or two” might be stretching it a bit, but our interns really are an integral part of the winery and vineyards during harvest. They start showing up just prior to harvest and are a big help with pre-season events and pulling grape samples. During the harvest, they do most of the grunt work- shoveling tanks, steaming barrels, etc. and tedious lab work that is geared more toward those with younger eyes- none of the squinting that comes from eyes that have over 4 decades of use on them. All of this in the glorious tradition of starting at the bottom, and working your way up to the top. Believe me, Derek started this way, too and has more than ten years of this type of menial work under his belt- and he is more than happy to pass that torch to the next generation.
Last harvest was a staffing dream at Naggiar. We had two interns from Italy, Claudio and Silvia, who focused almost 100% of their time at Naggiar Vineyards. We also had local gal and UC Davis student, Marnie McDowell on board as well. Not only were we well-staffed, but harvest was short and we crushed about 80 tons of grapes. This year, we have one less intern, still a short harvest, but crushing 120 tons of grapes. Marnie, thankfully, came back to help this year, but wanted an upgrade from intern status… i.e. she wanted to get paid- and she is.
Marnie performing punch-downs
Our one new intern this year is also from Italy. Lorenzo Dara is from Empoli, a town between Florence and Pisa, and is studying Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florence, specializing in viticulture. Like most interns, he is doing this internship to gain work-experience, particularly in respect to working in different wine regions. He is an only child whose family has no connections to wineries or vineyards- this is just his personal passion. Lorenzo would like to eventually become a winemaker for an important winery or a winemaking consultant, as well as getting his sommelier certification (this boy likes to aim high!). And if all that doesn’t sound Italian enough for you, he lists his hobbies as being soccer and cooking. He is a welcome addition to Naggiar-now if we can just get him to realize he is driving in rural California- not Italy…
Lorenzo adding nutrients to the fermenting juice
All of this begs the question (well, for me it does) just how do we find these people willing to work seven days a week for a few months without pay? Well, believe it or not, the company we use to find our interns every year, has around a hundred applications per harvest. Matura Consulting is an international wine consulting company, and one of their services is to help find students interested in practical experience in winemaking and viticulture, internships at wineries in the various wine regions world-wide. Derek’s contact there selects 10 or so applicants that might be a match for Naggiar and Derek looks through the applications and tries to match their needs with our needs. We get some help with harvest and they gain valuable experience in the wine industry. Everyone wins! So, anyone out there in the market for labor-intensive job, 7 days a week for several weeks for only room, board, and use of a car but invaluable experience in the wine industry, there may be a spot for you in next year’s harvest…[jetpack_subscription_form]