What is your day to day job for the 8-9 months after crush?

Hi everyone,

I’m curious to know what the day to day job is like for winemakers for the 8-9 months other than crush. Blending? Sampling/testing? Paperwork? I hear a lot about crush, but rarely about the rest of the year. Thanks in advance!


Best, Jim

Cellar work (racking, blending, filtering, cleaning, stabilization, bottling) probably takes up only 10 or 15% of my time. The rest is vineyard work -pruning, cane binding, seeding, soil work, planting, constructing trellises, weed control, canopy management, cluster thinning, spraying, raising wire etc. -for me its great. I’d much rather be outside in the sunshine than in the cold, dank cellar.


I take my yacht to the Seychelles and kick it with Beyonce.

Bill’s posts brings up an interesting contrast: that between “wine maker” and “vigneron or wine grower”…

Its just a different model. It is very difficult to establish a new winery in Germany without vineyard land -in fact, legally you can’t label your wines or call yourself a ‘Weingut’ without owning vineyards or controlling them through contracts (usually 20-30 year deals with opt-out clauses every 3 or so) and farming them yourself. Any material (grapes, must, wine) that is purchased must be labelled differently without Weinbau or Weingut anywhere on the packaging (or on your web-site for that matter.) In recent years there has been an emergence of the Cellarmaster position (Kellermeister or Weinküfer), but unless you work at a Co-op or large bottler, you most likely do both jobs (called Winzer.) I really enjoy the change of pace and control which this allows.


Saturday I dug out an old french drain around the crushpad that had eroded over the last 5 years. Stef patched holes in the ceiling from exploding bungs in prep for painting the wine stains off said ceiling. I also checked on gopher killing efforts by walking all the rows. Then we drove to Ranch 99 market to buy 600 chopsticks for the crew putting on bird netting. Had some dim sum for lunch. Then hit the bank, deposited some checks and took out $200 cash to pay that netting crew. Crew chief texted me at 1:30 they were done so we rushed home to meet him there and pay his team. Went over instructions for coming up weekend and logistics on getting 700 feet of netting to the winery that’s in my garage right now.

Worked on some sales collateral for Jaye. She’s going to go out next week and try doing restaurant sales on her own. I answered and sent emails from 5-6 of our better accounts letting them know she was coming and to go easy on her since she’s in training. I was smoking some ribs at the same time for dinner. We were having some vineyard clients over for dinner that night.

After that I jumped in the yacht and partied with Selma Hayak and Heather Graham the rest of the weekend.

A man’s heart is only as big as his dreams.
Yum, ribs.
Best, Jim

Beyonce was busy already so you know, you make due.

Paul could you share some pics of the bird netting secured with chopsticks? Is the 600 for the 700 ft of netting or a much longer run? I’m always looking for a better mousetrap to secure bird netting…Thank you, Gary

Gary - We use the chopsticks on all lengths of runs. We started like everyone else using tie to tie the bottom of the nets together. Stef watched the process and thought it would be easier to use a popsicle stick. You twist the two sides of the net together under the cordon wire and shove the stick through to bind them together instead of using tie. After the first year we figured a longer thinner stick would work better and switched to chop sticks. We’ve found that the completely round ones work best, and they are reusable. When the netting comes off you just pull out the stick and the nets drop loose. Gather all the sticks, place in a box and store with the nets. I’l take some pictures tonight. It probably has cut netting time by 30-40%.

Paul - Thanks for the reply and look forward to the pics…Gary

Gary - http://stefaniawine.com/?p=1781


Numbers numbers numbers

topping topping topping

SO2’ing SO2’ing, SO2’ing

paperwork paperwork paperwork

Blending blending blending blending

bottling bottling bottling

Thank you Paul. That’s how I thought you might be using them. Nice simple low cost idea. I find the C clips are a PITA and they are easily lost when taking them off…Cheers, Gary

Then hit the bank, deposited some checks and took out $200 cash to pay that netting crew. Crew chief texted me at 1:30 they were done so we rushed home to meet him there and pay his team.

So you paid workers comp and SDI right? Good thing nobody got hurt! [wow.gif]

You left out check immigration paperwork.

Hey you guys can pay a crew? That’s not fair…

We do the dreaded Day jobs M-F 7-5pm with commute, tasting two weekends a month which means winery and vineyard work are M-F 5p-7A and weekends as available time with being open, covering events like wine walks and charity pours and dealing with the activities of daily living.