Saturday, April 26, 2008

Winemaker: Dream Job?

I've decided I have information overload. I was thinking about a survey I read recently, and for my readers I wanted to quote the source. After scouring my usual list of reading, I can't find it anywhere--so here goes a completely unsubstantiated post!

Recently I read that winemaker ranks second to movie producer as a dream job. This surprised me--but not completely. Although I can't talk about life as a movie producer, I know enough winemakers to have insight into their job. I think winemakers have similar joys and hassles that the rest of us have. First of all, winemaking can be a very physical position. At the winery you can be dragging hoses, shoveling out tanks, sanitizing the cellar and moving barrels, often times in very chilly conditions. I always joke that winemakers have a uniform: Fleece pullover, polo shirt, jeans and sturdy work shoes--with rubber boots when needed. Not everyone would like to be hauling heavy stuff around a cold cellar day in and day out.

Then there are the marketing requirements for many winemakers. "Meet the Winemaker" dinners, wine tasting events, winery dinners and tours. Often times winemakers want to make the wine, not go on the road to meet and greet their customers. Every winemaker is different, and some love the marketing side of the job, but there are many who don't, and have to be cajoled into going on the road. Eating wonderful meals at fancy restaurants would seem exciting, but after enough of them, you just want to get home and relax.

Along with these "complaints" there are the usual day to day hassles we all face. Technology upgrades don't go well, suppliers need to be paid, employees have issues, the winery owners are difficult, you have to head out to the vineyard in the rain and mud, and yes, possibly, the wine has gone bad.

The upside for many winemaker positions is getting to do something you really enjoy. Being involved in the transformation of grape juice into wine can be very magical. Carrying out all the steps and being able to put your art into the finished product can be very satisfying. Educating your palate by sampling wines from around the world is very important, and enjoyable. Heading out into the vineyard on a beautiful spring day or early summer morning can be a spiritual experience. These are all huge positives to the job.

So go ahead and dream. It can be fun and give you something to hope for. But although the grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence, or the wine better if you were able to make it, there could be some negatives to that dream job for you to consider.

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