“I bet you get to drink wine all day every day!” is something I hear almost weekly regarding my job with the Wine Trail. No, I don’t get to drink wine all day, but I do get to experience some pretty neat stuff when I’m not diligently working at my office. And admittedly, I do drink wine on the clock…. occasionally.
One of my favorite things so far was getting to help a winery write their wine descriptions. It was a ‘right place at the right time’ moment that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I stood at the tasting counter with the wine maker, the owner, the tasting room manager, myself and a fellow coworker with three or four different bottles of freshly bottled vintages in front of us. We were all poured the same type of wine and asked to sniff and taste away! We jotted down our different findings and chatted amongst ourselves on what we discovered. Oftentimes, you need to hear someone else’s opinion before you’re able to detect that particular scent or taste yourself. Sometimes we were deep on conversation trying to pinpoint exactly what it was that we were all tasting. I’m more of a dry red drinker now than I was when I did this a few years ago, but I found that I excelled in describing the dry reds. The theory was that it was because I wasn’t too busy enjoying it! But also, since I didn’t drink it all the time, I was able to recognize new tastes.
Not all the fun things I get to do involve wine. As a member of our local chamber of commerce, we also sometimes get a sneak peek into new businesses. I was recently invited to go on one of the Seneca White Deer tours in the old Army Depot here in Romulus, NY. I’ll confess, I’ve seen white deer a million times driving by the depot, but was curious to see how the tours would run, and have always had some curiosity about the depot itself. The tour did not disappoint! Dennis Money, the President of Seneca White Deer, Inc. was our tour guide. He’s been working to preserve the white deer for close to 20 years, and with the help of Earl Martin, a local man who recently purchased the Depot, his hard work is paying off. Deer Haven Park is a sanctuary-like area of the Depot that the non-profit group has cordoned off to help with the preservation. As we traveled through the park, we were shown fields of corn and other edibles that have been planted for the deer to nibble on.
We were warned that we may not see any deer, since they’re on their own agenda, but we did spot a handful. The most interesting part of this tour was seeing the old remnants of the Depot itself. I left this tour feeling great pride in this organization for trying to preserve our local history, and honored that I was invited to experience it. The tours had only been opened for 10 days
prior to that, and we were told they already had 1,000 paying customers! I urge you to check out their website and consider going on a tour. (senecawhitedeer.org)
As you can tell, I really enjoyed myself there, but back to wine! Participating in our Vintner Vacation program is at the top of the list for job perks. Although I haven’t done the overnight portion, I’m still there for the personal vineyard tours and lessons, which are unique to each vineyard. The highlight of this program is the all-day boat tour with Water to Wine Tours. We board the boat on what has always been a beautiful early summer morning, and cruise across the lake to the other side. There we get to do a vertical tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon from Long Point. Four or five different vintages of the same wine are lined up, and we sample newest to oldest. Tasting and smelling the difference the years make in the barrel really help you appreciate the wine you’re drinking. I even took home a bottle of the oldest vintage!
This is just a small look into the awesome non-office things I get to do on the job. I’ve been given private tours of winery production centers, had wine lunches with heads of many organizations and learned so much about wine that I can’t even put it into words! It certainly makes up for the days I’m stuck at my desk.
Katherine Chase is the events coordinator for the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, America’s First. Taste a bit of history. To learn more, visit cayugawinetrail.com.