A Day in the Life of An Intern
It is 6:29 am on Tuesday, September 1st, and everyone starts to pull into the gravel parking lot. They filter out of their vehicles and head into the winery. The next stop is the break room to clock in and drop off their lunch. You are a harvest winemaking intern at Adelaida, and this is a day in your life.
You start the day by collecting the pumps around the winery and sanitizing them. As that is going on, there is a morning cap management list on the cellar desk to complete. Cap management is the process of keeping the cap (grape solids) wet throughout the fermentation process. These practices aid in the extraction of color, tannin, and flavor, and ensure yeast is spread throughout the fermentation evenly. Some tanks need pump overs, while others may need a punch down. Once the pumps are sanitized, you begin your playlist or podcast and start the 10 to 25-minute pump overs/punch downs on the dozen tanks still fermenting. The ferments are smelling good, and you are starting to sweat because the day's temperatures and activities are warming up!
At some point, a crew member from the vineyard arrives with some grape samples of Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfect timing. You crush these vineyard samples to measure Brix (sugar), pH, and TA (tartaric acid) for each block and record your results in the Grape Maturity Report for 2022. Afterward, you head outside to find the fruit being sorted and processed, and the bladder press is finishing up its cycle of pressing Grenache Blanc. The Cellar Master assigns you to clean the press, which means getting a little wet, but at this point, it is after noon and almost 100 degrees, and that sounds pretty good. Once the press is clean, you find the Assistant Winemaker to get more work orders to complete. Around the same time, some of the Syrah that was processed throughout the day is put into the two concrete tanks. You get a sample in a plastic beaker and start what is called an initial juice analysis. The juice analysis involves measuring Brix, pH, and TA. That data is recorded in the fermentation log. This log includes all information relevant to that fermentation including, the blend ID or name, the pick date, the tons/gallons in the tank, the vineyard block, and all the analysis that you just ran.
At this point, it is 3:00 pm, and there are afternoon pump overs and punch downs to complete. You pick up where you left off on that podcast and get the afternoon cap management done. Once this task is complete, you do an evening juice analysis, as fermentations often move along rather quickly. After this, you walk outside to the crush pad and begin assisting your team in cleaning the sorter and sweeping up the day's messes.
It is now 5:00 pm, and you are asked to shut down the lab. It is your favorite job because you know the long day is almost over. Shutting down the lab entails final data entry, cleaning counters, and safely storing sensitive equipment. Now that the lab is secured, you start rolling up hoses around the winery; this can only mean one thing... another day of harvest is complete. Another 20 tons of fruit tomorrow.