This week was a whole lot of hard work, a lot of going through the motions and not a lot of sleep. Still, there’s beauty in the fact that I’m starting to gain a routine around here! My days usually go like this: Wake up before the sun. Grab some breakfast. Hop in the truck to work. Fermentation checks. Yeast additions. Software updates. Lunch. Fruit processing. More fruit processing. 2nd lunch. More fruit processing. Drive home. Eat dinner. Clean up. Sleep. Repeat.
Luckily, my long week made it the perfect weekend to have no plans; The first restful one since I’ve been here! I ended up doing local things around Chimbarongo (the pizza place down the street knows my name now, so you can officially call me Chileano) & enjoying the good weather before it gets cooler. The fall is starting to settle in and I’m having to layer up a bit more in the mornings. Sad to see it go, but it wasn’t the only goodbye this week. My housemate, Emil, is in a student exchange program out here in Chile and left to his new house Friday. Although the plan was to join in on the celebration of his leaving, I ended up working until midnight and had to say my quick goodbyes when I got back. He was my first friend out here, so it was definitely sad. He ended up gifting me a book highlighting his hometown in Germany that I definitely plan on using when I make it out there one day. We both have plans to visit each other in the future!
He will be missed, but it got me thinking: It won’t be too long before I’m heading out, as well. Our house mom, Pilar, was so sad to see him go and we’ve all grown such a bond out here. I know that will be hard on both of us when the time rolls around for me, too. She has become such a special part of this experience and shown me so much kindness; I will never forget it. I’ll be sad to leave her. I’m trying to spend as much time as I can with her before I go. She has been teaching me how to cook some incredible dishes, but sometimes doesn’t even allow me in the kitchen! Haha Luckily, she let me cook hamburguesas for the house this week and I received some positive reviews. I actually plan on spending my long weekend coming up with her and some friends. We have Friday off again in honor of Good Friday, and this time, I get to visit the beach! Many pictures to come of how it compares. Overall, I’m definitely soaking up these last few weeks, but I really am missing home.
Luckily, work is keeping me plenty busy! This is my favorite time of year because of how exciting it is to nurture a wine through the beginning of elevage. This is a formative event in the life of a wine, like watching your child walk for the first time after fostering each little grape to maturity. There is so much work involved, but with compassion and attention, the return on investment can be greater than anything you could imagine. Something to be proud of.
By the time I made it to the weekend, I was exhausted from nearly 100 + tons of fruit within a 2-week span. We’re hitting points in harvest where grapes are ripening so fast, we have to pull multiple 15-hour days, working before the sunrise into the late night to ensure everything is done to the high standards we keep for ourselves. It can be maddening at times, but when you’re surrounded by a solid crew that keeps you grounded and laughing, you find purpose through the work. As winemakers, we dedicate our lives to this craft in hopes to capture the essence of passion in the bottle. In this new environment, I’m learning the wine style is distinguished, but the attitude and hospitality feel like home.
Talk to ya next week!