50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns (Plus link to 50 openings for 2010)

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Mary Baker
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50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns (Plus link to 50 openings for 2010)

#1 Post by Mary Baker » March 5th, 2010, 10:37 am

Edited to add this link to Venjobs at UC Davis. The site has over 50 openings for harvest, cellar and lab internships for the 2010 harvest.

Including ... a spot at Kosta Browne! Any takers????

pepsi

--------------------------------------------------------------

I am compiling a list 0f 50 tips, but I got stuck at #28. Got any suggestions to add to the list?

[thankyou.gif]


1. If you don’t work cellar all year, work out with weights and jog for three months before harvest.
2. Your job description is ‘whatever it takes’ and your hours are ‘until it is done and clean.’ It is never ‘someone else’s job’ no matter how menial the task. If you enjoy winemaking, then you enjoy every gritty moment.
3. Don’t just accept a morning assignment and totter off to do it half-asleep. Make sure you are alert and fully involved in the morning wine movement review. You should always know what the rest of the staff is doing or about to do. There can be major task shifts when equipment breaks down, an employee is injured or absent, or the assistant winemaker’s wife is having a baby. If you are suddenly shifted to another job with little notice or instruction, you’ll need to have an accurate and current mental map of the wine movement and tasks.
4. Don’t let tedium or exhaustion make you brain dead. Stop at every stage in your work and review your movements. Ask yourself, “did I open valve A? And did I open valve B? Is the pump turned on in the right direction?” Walk through and review your preparation for each task before turning equipment on.
5. Unless you are expecting calls from growers or technicians, leave your cellphone in your vehicle. Not only is it liable to get crushed or soaked if left on the crushpad or in your pocket, there is absolutely no need to field calls from your dates and friends all day when you should be attending to winemaking tasks.
6. Instead of lifting a hose over your head to drain it, just make a loop in the hose and roll it away from you.
7. Use a new or thorougly cleaned 50-gallon rubber trash can filled with water and sanitizing solution to soak and clean tall implements like scoops, brooms, wands and punchdown tools. Tape a sign on the can so others don’t throw their lunch trash in it.
8. When washing staged barrels, instead of walking back and forth between the barrel and the hose valves, install valves on the equipment end of the hose to eliminate trips.
9. There’s no point in having a clean and sanitized crush pad and cellar if you don’t take out the garbage every day. Those pizza boxes and empty beer bottles are just as attractive to bees and flies as the grapes. Use trash can liners so you don’t end up washing the cans every day.
10. Telling a winemaker how another winemaker does things is like telling your martial arts instructor you know a better way to kick his ass.
11. Name-dropping and bragging about previous harvests at other wineries is a dead giveaway that you don’t know what you’re doing—you’ll be relegated to the grunt tasks like punchdowns and bin washing for the duration of harvest.
12. Creative profanity is a playful art—not to be over-used, or used in front of customers, growers, or the winemaker’s wife and children.
13. If you have forklift privileges, always park it somewhere dry when not in use (not near the power-washing stations) and always, always lower the forks immediately after using them in a raised position. Do NOT drive around or park with raised forks. Once again. Forks. Down.
14. Always turn off the lift when dismounting. Roll aways are very dangerous, and can result in injury as well as damage.
15. Never assume that the people around you are aware of the forklift. Don’t run over the dogs.
16. Do not use the forklift as a diving board, stepladder or bumper car. The forklift will not beep before you back over a dog, so always look behind you.
17. Everything has its place. Tools, bin straps, fittings and gaskets … clean them and put them away. Continually scour your work area for abandoned items and rescue them. The winemaker is not your mommy. Continually misplacing or abandoning expensive tools and fittings is considered infantile and irresponsible. Tools and fittings are expensive and deserve the same care that the larger equipment enjoys. And if you put everything where it belongs, you won’t have to search for it later!
18. During harvest, dedicate a door shelf in the cellar refrigerator to vitamins and nutrients. Vitamin B is water-soluble and leached from the body by coffee and alcohol. It provides a steady source of energy and assists in the assimilation of other nutrients. Vitamin C also assists in nutrient absorption and staves off colds and stress-related illness. Royal bee jelly provides a high-octane source of natural energy. Liquid chlorophyll aids in quick toxin cleansing. Activated charcoal provides amazingly fast relief for those burrito bloated pains and hangover runs.
19. Assemble your own first aid kit in a bright red or yellow flight bag and keep it in your vehicle. Stock it with hydrogen peroxide, fluid bandaid, large sport bandaids, gauze pads and duct tape (works better than first aid tape in wet conditions). Disposable latex gloves to protect bandaged hands, eye wash, antibacterial ointment and tweezers (for removing splinters). Washable Ace bandages for sprains. Write your name on the kit because it will get ‘borrowed’ frequently.
20. Women are not impressed by black, rough, cracked hands. Unless you say you make wine. And that lasts for about one date.
21. Wear disposable latex gloves when working with tannic musts and cleaning solutions. Mechanics wear them to protect their hands, so it’s not a girly-girl thing.
22. If your hands are cracked and stained from tannins, try this at home: slather a good-quality yogurt like Mountain High on your hands and wait for 5 minutes, then rinse. Rub a cold-pressed peanut oil or almond oil into your hands. The enzymes in the yogurt leach the tannins out of your skin, and the oil helps heal chapped skin and cracks.
23. Always keep a duffle bag in your vehicle with a full change of dry work clothes, socks, hat, sunscreen, and dry shoes. If your cellar boasts a shower, you can add flip flops, a bar-hopping shirt, and toiletries.
24. Buy good work boots.
25. Always check your pockets before you go home. If you’re asleep in bed with the forklift key or the bolts to the crusher pan in your shorts, the morning crew is going to be significantly unhappy.
26. Never disrespect the tasting room or office staff. If they think you are charming, you will have allies. If you can pull off ‘adorably helpless’ you may score all kinds of goodies.
27. If you speak fluent Spanish, feel free to talk smack to your Spanish-speaking cohorts. If you don’t speak Spanish, remember that a) your co-workers know far more about winemaking than they let on and b) they are bilingual, and you’re not.
28. If you think you have nothing to do, you’re wrong. Find something to clean. And then clean it.
Last edited by Mary Baker on April 12th, 2010, 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#2 Post by Roberto Rogness » March 5th, 2010, 11:29 am

Ummmm....You had BETTER like BEER!
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Paul Romero
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#3 Post by Paul Romero » March 5th, 2010, 11:37 am

This is the outline I go over with Interns:

Clothing
Shoes/Boots
Pants/Shorts
Shirts/Replacements
Scarves and Hats

The Heat
50/10 Rule
Get in the Shade – Sit Down
Cover Up
Sweating
Water – Sodium – Hydration
Working Alone

Safety
See Above for #1 issues
Animals
Dogs
Snakes
Big Animals
Ticks
Check In
Stay on the Trail
Poison Oak
Don’t go where you can’t stand.
Equipment Use

Things you’ll need or want
Gloves
Water – Gatorade
Snacks – Lay’s are your friend.
Tool Belt
Getting Things

Spraying and Pesticides
Entry – Reentry
STOP – Call – It’s the law
Reporting and commenting

In the winery.
Wet Room Procedures
Dry Room Rules
Equipment
ABC and TTB rules

The Plant
Trunk
Cane
Spur
Shoot
Leafs – Basal and new growth
Laterals
Bunches
Flowering
Suckers

The Trellis
End Post
Center Posts
Support Posts
Drip System
Drip Wire
Cordon Wire – Fruiting Wire
Growth/Catch Wires
1st Set
2nd Set

Repair Issues

Between the rows, Under the Rows

Gophers
Rocks in the vineyard


Sites – Access – Parking

Personally my rule for interns is "touch the forklift - find another job"
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#4 Post by Mark Y » March 5th, 2010, 11:50 am

how do you deal with Gophers?
Y.e.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#5 Post by Paul Romero » March 5th, 2010, 12:42 pm

That's how I now someone has moved past the 'romance' stage and is in deep:

"how do you deal with gophers?"

Usually when we take over a new vineyard, it has to be with poison. I prefer not to use it though and we do a lot of trapping. I've also installed owl boxes in all our vineyards and once the boxes go up, no more chemicals. The number one thing is stay on top of them.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#6 Post by Ray Walker » March 6th, 2010, 9:01 pm

-check clamps before and during use
-make sure destemmer is off before you go clearing the hopper
-when you are unsure ask
-watch what others are doing around you. you may help prevent an accident or learn something
-when moving full barrels, if you are unsure get help
-just because no one is watching doesn't give you carte blanche to screw around or drop work ethic
-have a simple system that works when you are sulfuring to ensure nothing gets double
-if you messed up and no one saw, tell someone asap
-be careful and don;t make yourself a liability
-drink AFTER you are using heavy machinery
-don't come in hungover just because you are producing an alcoholic beverage
-before you top up make sure you have the right wines in play
-don't assume someone else will take care of it
-bottling sounds fun, but prepare for a workout
-quit complaining or walk
-have respect for those with something to teach or they won't teach you
-be a sponge
-be an asset
-this is not 'just a job'
-don't do anything you wouldn't proudly report to your boss
-no palette jack racing until sundown
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#7 Post by john holdredge » March 8th, 2010, 3:57 pm

Death is everywhere.

___ days without a fatality. Woo-hoo!

Do not leave the Racer 5 in the dry ice box for more than three minutes.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#8 Post by Ken Zinns » March 9th, 2010, 7:08 am

Ray Walker wrote:no palette jack racing until sundown
Woo-hoo! Pallet jack races at sundown! After a couple of cold Racer 5s....

Places where I work only have one pallet jack though [cry.gif]
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#9 Post by Ray Walker » March 9th, 2010, 8:35 am

Ken, I hear you. I just have a funny narrow pallet jack (thanks for the proper spelling) and the 50m2 cave isn't much of a track. Freeman has some nice slopes for it though. ;)
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#10 Post by Mary Baker » March 9th, 2010, 10:09 am

You guys are such a bad influence on the young 'uns. [pillow-fight.gif]

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#11 Post by Jud Reis » March 9th, 2010, 10:44 am

If I remember Linda's story correctly when we saw her at Peachy Canyon, intern rule #1 has to do with not comibning toking and driving a fork lift. Needless to say, that intern's stay was short lived.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#12 Post by N Weis » March 9th, 2010, 11:10 am

-write down everything you do on whatever your boss gives you to explain your job (work order, cocktail napkin, legal pads, bar coasters). Barrels, tanks and wine lots are not numbered or serialized for no reason. Blank spaces highlighted on work orders are not highlighted for no reason. They require your input. Gallons, weights, amounts filled, etc.
- read the same pieces of paper closely. i try hard to put every little bit of info you might need on it. if you ask me a question 30 seconds after i hand you a work order that is clearly answered (in bold) on said work order, i will begin to lose patience.
- similarly, have a small notebook with you at all times to write down my pearls of wisdom. no, actually, keep a notebook because you have not learned to think like a winemaker yet (keeping 15 different balls in the air and looking 8 steps ahead). when i ask you to do something, it is because it is part of my stream of consciousness. it may seem trivial and something that i won't remember i asked you to do, but i will, and if it wasn't important i would not have asked you to do it. and if at the end of the day, you've forgotten and haven't done it or we can't do something else because your part of the chain is broken, you will be staying late. until you can juggle many different things at once in your head, i suggest writing them down and crossing them off.
- work hard at doing things right the first time. nothing is more aggravating than having to do everything twice because one member of the team keeps screwing the pooch. if it isn't clear, ask. while i might sometimes seem like i don't want to hear your questions, i would much rather hear them than have to hear you explain why you did something completely retarded because you didn't ask beforehand and were confused.
- if you plug it in, don't point a hose directly at it!!! while silly, i know, not every item in a winery is 100% waterproof. and news flash, water and high voltage do not mix well. if you destroy the controls for the press, guess what, we are in deep shit. take a little bit of care.
- take care of my equipment!! we use these hoses, pumps, forklifts, etc all year long with no problem, but you somehow manage to destroy them all in 2 weeks after you arrive. it takes a lot of my time to fix them (time i should be spending on other things), and it is expensive when i have to call someone else to fix them. not to mention, having them down makes your job more difficult. so be careful with them. yes, i know it is surprising, but you have to unplug things from the wall before you move them around. that sparking you hear? that's the high voltage receptacle you just destroyed arcing.

Some cliches that are applicable:
1. Measure twice, cut once
2. A place for everything and everything in its place
3. Everything I needed to know about working crush, I learned in kindergarten.
4. "Leave no trace" aka clean up after yourself
5. Down time does not exist here. Down time means pick up the nearest hose, broom or pressure washer

I love the "I am not your mommy" part. Sometimes I feel like I spend all my time picking up shit that should be where it belongs.
ITB - N @ t e

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#13 Post by Mary Baker » March 10th, 2010, 2:29 pm

N Weis wrote:-write down everything you do on whatever your boss gives you to explain your job (work order, cocktail napkin, legal pads, bar coasters). Barrels, tanks and wine lots are not numbered or serialized for no reason. Blank spaces highlighted on work orders are not highlighted for no reason. They require your input. Gallons, weights, amounts filled, etc.
- read the same pieces of paper closely. i try hard to put every little bit of info you might need on it. if you ask me a question 30 seconds after i hand you a work order that is clearly answered (in bold) on said work order, i will begin to lose patience.
- similarly, have a small notebook with you at all times to write down my pearls of wisdom. no, actually, keep a notebook because you have not learned to think like a winemaker yet (keeping 15 different balls in the air and looking 8 steps ahead). when i ask you to do something, it is because it is part of my stream of consciousness. it may seem trivial and something that i won't remember i asked you to do, but i will, and if it wasn't important i would not have asked you to do it. and if at the end of the day, you've forgotten and haven't done it or we can't do something else because your part of the chain is broken, you will be staying late. until you can juggle many different things at once in your head, i suggest writing them down and crossing them off.
Awesome advice!! Thanks guys, and especially Nate here for the specific input. Nate, can I quote you? [worship.gif]

I actually got up to 49 tips, on all my own self. All of the other ideas mentioned above are already in there, but it's GREAT to have affirmation that I'm not just being paranoid. [swearing.gif]

I had included writing things down (buy your own pocket pad, duh) but mentioned it in the context of learning lab work. Writing EVERYTHING down is the sort of thing I would do, which by definition makes it INSTANTLY NERDY, so I didn't feel brave enough to suggest it until Nate spoke up. But yeah, there's so much overwhelm during harvest and if it's your first experience, you won't even understand half of what's going on, let alone remember it. You think you can mull it over when you get home ... until you wake up a 6 am with the alarm buzzing and realize you fell asleep on the couch with your work clothes still on, a plate of food on your stomach, and a beer tucked into the couch cushions.

I am now in the process of adding in some 'color' stories (names and wineries to be kept anonymous). Then I will format it and send it up to Lulu.com by this evening.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#14 Post by N Weis » March 11th, 2010, 7:42 am

Nah, please don't quote me. Anonymous contributor.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#15 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » March 11th, 2010, 12:29 pm

Wow. I sure hope a list like this isn’t given to interns on Day 1: a bit of a turn-off, if you ask me. Sounds like some on here have had some pretty sore experiences: I would recommend not letting those [apparently still-]open sores bleed on new experiences.

By no means am I suggesting that one should ignore the past (and not learn from it) - that would be dumb. What I am saying is if I, a relatively not-dumb, hard-working, responsible individual made the decision to volunteer or intern (I’m assuming interns are paid, volunteers are not ... and if that is true, I would hope there might be some difference in treatment thereof) at a winery during Crush and was presented with this litany (that's how it comes across) I would quite likely turn on my heels and walk right through the door from which I entered.

Tone is important.

sorry if it’s not my place to chime-in here ... just giving my thoughts. grouphug
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#16 Post by Jeff Brinkman » March 11th, 2010, 12:38 pm

N Weis wrote:-write down everything you do on whatever your boss gives you to explain your job (work order, cocktail napkin, legal pads, bar coasters). Barrels, tanks and wine lots are not numbered or serialized for no reason. Blank spaces highlighted on work orders are not highlighted for no reason. They require your input. Gallons, weights, amounts filled, etc.
- read the same pieces of paper closely. i try hard to put every little bit of info you might need on it. if you ask me a question 30 seconds after i hand you a work order that is clearly answered (in bold) on said work order, i will begin to lose patience.
- similarly, have a small notebook with you at all times to write down my pearls of wisdom. no, actually, keep a notebook because you have not learned to think like a winemaker yet (keeping 15 different balls in the air and looking 8 steps ahead). when i ask you to do something, it is because it is part of my stream of consciousness. it may seem trivial and something that i won't remember i asked you to do, but i will, and if it wasn't important i would not have asked you to do it. and if at the end of the day, you've forgotten and haven't done it or we can't do something else because your part of the chain is broken, you will be staying late. until you can juggle many different things at once in your head, i suggest writing them down and crossing them off.
- work hard at doing things right the first time. nothing is more aggravating than having to do everything twice because one member of the team keeps screwing the pooch. if it isn't clear, ask. while i might sometimes seem like i don't want to hear your questions, i would much rather hear them than have to hear you explain why you did something completely retarded because you didn't ask beforehand and were confused.
- if you plug it in, don't point a hose directly at it!!! while silly, i know, not every item in a winery is 100% waterproof. and news flash, water and high voltage do not mix well. if you destroy the controls for the press, guess what, we are in deep shit. take a little bit of care.
- take care of my equipment!! we use these hoses, pumps, forklifts, etc all year long with no problem, but you somehow manage to destroy them all in 2 weeks after you arrive. it takes a lot of my time to fix them (time i should be spending on other things), and it is expensive when i have to call someone else to fix them. not to mention, having them down makes your job more difficult. so be careful with them. yes, i know it is surprising, but you have to unplug things from the wall before you move them around. that sparking you hear? that's the high voltage receptacle you just destroyed arcing.

Some cliches that are applicable:
1. Measure twice, cut once
2. A place for everything and everything in its place
3. Everything I needed to know about working crush, I learned in kindergarten.
4. "Leave no trace" aka clean up after yourself
5. Down time does not exist here. Down time means pick up the nearest hose, broom or pressure washer

I love the "I am not your mommy" part. Sometimes I feel like I spend all my time picking up shit that should be where it belongs.
Wow Nate. You're a hardass. You forgot to add -
The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Although I concur about the "I am not your mommy" bit. That pisses me off almost more than anything else.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#17 Post by Linda Baehr » March 11th, 2010, 12:58 pm

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:Wow. I sure hope a list like this isn’t given to interns on Day 1: a bit of a turn-off, if you ask me. Sounds like some on here have had some pretty sore experiences: I would recommend not letting those [apparently still-]open sores bleed on new experiences.

By no means am I suggesting that one should ignore the past (and not learn from it) - that would be dumb. What I am saying is if I, a relatively not-dumb, hard-working, responsible individual made the decision to volunteer or intern (I’m assuming interns are paid, volunteers are not ... and if that is true, I would hope there might be some difference in treatment thereof) at a winery during Crush and was presented with this litany (that's how it comes across) I would quite likely turn on my heels and walk right through the door from which I entered.

Tone is important.

sorry if it’s not my place to chime-in here ... just giving my thoughts. grouphug

Actually Brian, a lot of these things are covered in the safety meetings we have on the first day. It may seem like a lot to have thrown at you all at once, but a lot of the things mentioned above can be life or death if you aren't paying attention.
Crush ain't easy, and it isn't for the faint of heart.
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Brian G r a f s t r o m
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#18 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » March 11th, 2010, 1:09 pm

Linda Baehr wrote:
Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:Wow. I sure hope a list like this isn’t given to interns on Day 1: a bit of a turn-off, if you ask me. Sounds like some on here have had some pretty sore experiences: I would recommend not letting those [apparently still-]open sores bleed on new experiences.

By no means am I suggesting that one should ignore the past (and not learn from it) - that would be dumb. What I am saying is if I, a relatively not-dumb, hard-working, responsible individual made the decision to volunteer or intern (I’m assuming interns are paid, volunteers are not ... and if that is true, I would hope there might be some difference in treatment thereof) at a winery during Crush and was presented with this litany (that's how it comes across) I would quite likely turn on my heels and walk right through the door from which I entered.

Tone is important.

sorry if it’s not my place to chime-in here ... just giving my thoughts. grouphug

Actually Brian, a lot of these things are covered in the safety meetings we have on the first day. It may seem like a lot to have thrown at you all at once, but a lot of the things mentioned above can be life or death if you aren't paying attention.
Crush ain't easy, and it isn't for the faint of heart.
Yeah, I know it’s all important, which is why I initially hesitated to post my thoughts at all. I think, really, it’s not all that much if the bitching is cut-out of it (i.e.: I don’t need to hear “nothing is more aggravating than...” ... just tell me what you (general “you”, not directed at anyone in particular) want me to do, how you want me to do it, and I’ll do it. I don’t need to know why; why? because it’s my job to do what I’m told, and THAT should be reason enough. I don’t need to hear you complain about how irritated you get when OTHER interns don’t do as they’ve been told). Like I said, Tone Is Important. grouphug
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#19 Post by L i n d a Lindsay » March 11th, 2010, 2:30 pm

Hope Im not to late to the party, but my two cents
First I see our obligation is to keep our cellar rats safe, so that at the end of harvest they may return to their families who by then will have forgotten what they look like... secondly, with so much activity, much of which is new to most of the people working, it's important to be clear with instructions and expectations.
Someone posted, sorry I dont know how to paste - that these lists sounded a little harsh... they look quite normal and in fact I see them as our obligation.
We have a safety meeting every year and along with this we have hand-outs to act as reminders, yet it never fails, someone can't read, remember or comprehend what was discussed - maybe the folks that have offered contributions do so, because of real experiences - I know some of the things I have seen just make me shake my head and wonder where people leave their common sense..
A few more to add to the list
Inside an empty tank is NOT a good place to hide or take a nap
On top of the tanks are not good places to hide or take naps
If I see your hands in your pockets, it means you don't have enough to do so I will find something to keep you busy
The forklift is not a go-cart, it will tip over, it will hurt your buddy when you run over his foot, and dueling forklifts might look like fun, it's probably not a real smart idea
Remember what the forklift capabilities are and don't decide on your own to test it's limits
If I see you on your cell phone, and this means texting too, it's mine - leave it in your car
If you call in "sick" in the middle of the night for the next day, remember, the machine tells me what time you called (usually around 2:30 am) and be careful not to slur your words - it's a give away that the bar just closed
Please don't make me ask you twice to get a task accomplished, if you have questions, fine, if you are simply just talking to talk - then get to work and let me do the same
The Everclear in the lab is not for your enjoyment at break time
and my favorite - PLEASE CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF ! I can't tell you how many times this has caused issues, be it dishes, equipment left dirty or not where it belongs, clothing - shoes, socks, pants you name it, laying around like someones Mom is going to come in and do the laundry.
Cheers

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#20 Post by N Weis » March 11th, 2010, 4:03 pm

Geez. I am probably the furthest thing from a hard-ass winemaker that I know? I have never had a bad experience with an intern (maybe one or two out of 30 or so have had the wrong attitude, and were just not asked to do much, had hours cut and were let go ASAP). I think if you talked to those who have been with me, I am easy to work for...in fact, I have had many come back 2 or more times. I think in large part because I am not incognito....if they need me I am usually right alongside them sorting fruit, digging tanks or filling barrels. So I am not preaching what I don't practice. I do work them hard and I do insist that things be done correctly.

I thought we were putting together a pre-start checklist for potential interns with all the pitfalls that we encounter year after year....this is the same stuff I go over with each set (in a very sweet and tender tone, no less). No, nothing is "this intern did that last year"...what you read above are the Groundhog Day mistakes, year after year. I tell them how their job needs to be done, and they all have great intentions of doing things right, otherwise I wouldn't have hired them. Every year, though, they require nudging. They just aren't used to what goes on day-to-day like we are. When I tell them how things need to be done, I hardly consider it bitching. After all, I'm paying them to do as I ask. I don't take volunteers, because this isn't a working vacation. And I do think they need to know "why", because the more we all understand where the ship is headed (generally, what I say seems bizarre because I am looking not at today, not at tomorrow but 2-4 days from now), the more it all makes sense to everyone and you realize I am not just suffering from diarrhea of the mouth or on a power trip. In fact, the really good ones can even start to anticipate what's next and have the right things done before I ask (hey, you mean you sanitized that tank immediately after we dug it out? Awesome!). Honestly, if someone can't handle me discussing with them why I want them to do something they just did differently next time (the ostensible "right" way, so by definition what they did was "wrong") I would prefer they walk out the door.

I would think most of the other WM's here wear as many hats as I do. Compliance expert, resident mechanic, plumber and logistics expert, custom crush manager. Yes, I find it incredibly aggravating to have to redo things due to mental errors (filling the wrong barrels, putting wine/juice/must in the wrong tank, moving inanimate objects right into everyone else's way). No, I have no trouble saying it aggravates me. Physical mistakes I can handle. Mental I cannot. Kind of like playing sports in high school and college. Anything easily avoidable that costs the winery money is also aggravating....and, in this instance, my time is money. I shouldn't have to spend my morning re-wiring a pump (because someone yanked on it so hard, the leads come out), fixing a hose (because someone dead-headed a pump) or replacing electrical fixtures (because someone forgot to unplug something before moving it around). I took care of all that stuff prior to their arrival. I should be in the vineyard or the cellar.

Remember, those who hire interns are judged based on quality of overall work and efficiency. We are at the winery from before others arrive until after they leave and don't customarily get the same rotation of days off they do. Every minute spent dealing with things done the wrong way or chasing down information that should flow through the systems we put in place is a minute spent (for me) not with my family or (for all of us) not catching up on sleep, paying bills, basically being a normal person.
ITB - N @ t e

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#21 Post by john holdredge » March 11th, 2010, 5:55 pm

N Weis wrote:Geez. I am probably the furthest thing from a hard-ass winemaker that I know? I have never had a bad experience with an intern (maybe one or two out of 30 or so have had the wrong attitude, and were just not asked to do much, had hours cut and were let go ASAP). I think if you talked to those who have been with me, I am easy to work for...
.
I thought I remembered seeing you screaming at some new interns "where you from boy? Oklahoma??!! I hear all they got there is steers and queers, and you don't look like no steer. You a queer Boy? Well, are you?" (with apologies to Lou Gosset Jr.)
Eye Tea Bee

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#22 Post by Mel Hill » March 11th, 2010, 6:54 pm

[youtube][/youtube]

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#23 Post by M. Dildine » March 11th, 2010, 8:41 pm

I was hoping there might be some cush jobs for lazy slackers? [scratch.gif]
Cheers,

Mike

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#24 Post by Al Osterheld » March 11th, 2010, 9:03 pm

I had the same reaction as Brian to some (not all, but some) of the items listed above. As he said, it's about the tone rather than the content. I have significant responsibilities for safety at work. It's not winery work but it has at least as many hazards and a significantly higher level of external scrutiny. Success is mostly about teaching people and teaching them to teach others. And teaching is never about talking down to people. Yes, you need to set expectations and monitor them and let them know when they have messed up and what they should have done and what you expect them to do in the future. But never talk down to them. While I'm sure it was not intended, that's how some of the tips come across.

-Al

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#25 Post by Mary Baker » March 12th, 2010, 11:08 am

Whoa, now we have a good discussion, after I've already written the thing! hitsfan

The 'brochure' is now up to 20 6 x 9 pages!!!!
I've been adding in the 'whys and wherefores'. Like Nate says, understanding WHY is really important, otherwise winemakers just come across as inexplicably anal about details, and then interns get lazy or rebellious. But if they UNDERSTAND the importance of what they are doing and why it must be done a certain way, they take a lot more care and pride in their job.

And yes, this is a 'vent' thread to give me ideas for the eGuide. Although there is still a lot of "don't do this or that" advice, I temper it with stories of hapless interns who did NOT pay attention. (All the stories have happy endings. Well, except maybe one.)

It still isn't up on Lulu because I now have so much material that I am rearranging the tips and lengthening the intro, adding a bio, etc. I decided I didn't like the tips in random order, so I cut the manuscript up into 60+ pieces and laid it out on the picnic table to rearrange. And then the breeze kicked up. [swoon.gif]

Nate is the only here who has produced "quotable" material, and I will add that in as an anonymous tip. Thanks, Nate!

The tips will address topics in this order:
1. things you should learn or practice well before reporting for duty
2. what to pack and stock
3. how to maintain focus, follow instructions, etc.
4. equipment and general safety (several tips of forklift operation and stressing the dangers, explaining WHY forklifts are so dangerous--eg, they are so easy and fun to operate they seem like glorified golf carts, and people underestimate them)
5. practical work tips and little more on staying focused and busy

By the way, the new title is:
50 Tips for Cellar Rats:
How to Enjoy Working
as a Winery Cellar Rat or Harvest Intern
Last edited by Mary Baker on June 7th, 2010, 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#26 Post by L i n d a Lindsay » March 12th, 2010, 11:45 am

I'd love a copy !
Thanks

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#27 Post by N Weis » March 12th, 2010, 11:46 am

john holdredge wrote:
N Weis wrote:Geez. I am probably the furthest thing from a hard-ass winemaker that I know? I have never had a bad experience with an intern (maybe one or two out of 30 or so have had the wrong attitude, and were just not asked to do much, had hours cut and were let go ASAP). I think if you talked to those who have been with me, I am easy to work for...
.
I thought I remembered seeing you screaming at some new interns "where you from boy? Oklahoma??!! I hear all they got there is steers and queers, and you don't look like no steer. You a queer Boy? Well, are you?" (with apologies to Lou Gosset Jr.)
Lou Gosset, Jr? WTF? Been watching Iron Eagle again [wink.gif] ? Great flick.

It seems that some folks think I am more like this guy anyways:

[youtube][/youtube]

such is life.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#28 Post by Linda Baehr » March 12th, 2010, 12:26 pm

Me!

[dance-clap.gif]
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#29 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » March 12th, 2010, 12:56 pm

Get yer movies right.

Definitely NSFW due to language.

[youtube][/youtube]
It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would be doing it if it were easy.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#30 Post by Mel Hill » March 12th, 2010, 2:10 pm

Bill Tex Landreth wrote:Get yer movies right.

Definitely NSFW due to language.

[youtube][/youtube]

Thought I covered that up thread?
Mel Hill wrote:[youtube][/youtube]
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#31 Post by Al Osterheld » March 12th, 2010, 8:47 pm

Mary, if you filtered the "venting" stuff, it's probably fine. I agree with you and others that the whys are important. At work, I'm responsible for scientists, engineers, and technicians. I can tell you that scientists (and to some degree engineers) aren't very good at following instructions unless they know why it's important to do it that way. The technicians are better about following instructions, but they also follow them better and develop better ways to do things if someone explains the underlying reasons. I'm guessing Brian's comments about the whys was a reaction to the venting aspects.

-Al

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#32 Post by Paul Romero » March 13th, 2010, 9:00 am

Al and Brian,

Read through this entire section, not just this post. Look at all the request for work, from people all over the country, from every type of background. Look for the phrases 'my dream', 'romantic', 'exciting', 'further my education'. That's a huge part of the direct tone.

We have 2-3 hours to snap someone out of their dream state and into the realization that they are working on a farm with heavy industrial equipment, producing food. The result of not following instructions can lead to death. Two years ago in a winery 15 miles from me a worker was killed in a crusher when he reached in to try and pull something out and got his shirt stuck. The crusher tore of his arm while pulling him in. You can loose fingers toes and limbs and the truth is most people we get, have zero experience working with heavy machinery.

That's why I'm serious about it. It's hard industrial/farm labor. Backbreaking, tedious, serious work. The time for day dreams is over the first moment you arrive and my job is to make that 100% clear right away. I've had good interns, good kids, but they made mistakes and didn't listen to me. They got heat exhaustion, serious sun burn, poison oak, bumps, bruises, and sore muscles. But I haven't had one die on me yet, so I'm gonna keep being tough.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#33 Post by Al Osterheld » March 14th, 2010, 10:59 am

That's why I'm serious about it
You should be serious about it. I'm serious about safety, too, whether at a winery or at my day job where we work with things that can kill, blind, seriously maim, or sicken you. My comments tried to address how to be most effective in the goal, which is give new workers rules that will help keep them from hurting themselves or others or damaging equipment or wine. In my experience, how you communicate can be as important as what you communicate.

FWIW, I didn't disagree with anything you wrote above.

-Al

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#34 Post by Paul Romero » March 15th, 2010, 1:11 pm

Yeah AL and you can see my list is an outline and more conversational. I sit down 1x1 and go over the what's and why's. I'm more direct too. I don't have 10 different rules for the forklift, I've got one "Don't touch it. If you need something moved, come get me or Jerry." My rules are more in that tone, simple and direct.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#35 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » March 15th, 2010, 1:35 pm

Al has explained where I am coming from with incredible accuracy and perception, so instead of repeating what he has said I’ll just say he has correctly described the reasoning behind my posts in this thread. I understand that the “why’s” can be important - even crucial; I think that is the only point on which I might revise my original post in this thread (i.e.: okay, tell me “why”); I would still leave-in the part about not bitching, though. I would encourage anyone who is at all taken-aback by my post to carefully read it again – I chose my words carefully when I posted.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#36 Post by Al Osterheld » March 15th, 2010, 8:07 pm

Paul, my experience has also been that direct and simple works best even (especially?) with well-educated folks. The explanation of "why" can be more involved, but for rules, simple and direct works best.

-Al

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#37 Post by Wes Barton » March 15th, 2010, 8:54 pm

How about: Don't just stand there like a dufus when the winemaker asks you to do something and doesn't have the luxury of having time to explain why. Just make a mental note and ask later (if you didn't figure it out through observation).

I can think of several of people with MBAs who have real problems following simple directions. People who haven't done real jobs before are the ones likely to freeze up, not listen carefully, or second guess.

Anyway, you're there to learn. But your learning is far from the winemaker's top priority.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#38 Post by E r i k Klepper » March 16th, 2010, 6:40 am

Wes Barton wrote:How about: Don't just stand there like a dufus when the winemaker asks you to do something and doesn't have the luxury of having time to explain why. Just make a mental note and ask later (if you didn't figure it out through observation).

I can think of several of people with MBAs who have real problems following simple directions. People who haven't done real jobs before are the ones likely to freeze up, not listen carefully, or second guess.

Anyway, you're there to learn. But your learning is far from the winemaker's top priority.
Having done this one or twice myself, I have to agree with you. Sometimes it was a function of exhaustion, others it was a function of having spent years thinking (and over-thinking) actions while desk jockeying. To an extent, I'd say it's on the hiring manager to recognize when someone will be less adaptable in split-second situations and either train them up front (no, I don't know how) or pass on the hire.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#39 Post by Mary Baker » March 16th, 2010, 9:46 am

I have to agree with you, Erik. Experience has shown many of us that people who work in very structured careers make the worst possible candidates. Valve open and wine pouring out? They'll stand there dumb-founded, waiting for instruction. I touch on that topic too.

All done! I'm just waiting for a high resolution photo of my favorite cellar rat for the cover, and then I can finish the cover design.
Last edited by Mary Baker on June 7th, 2010, 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#40 Post by Mary Baker » March 16th, 2010, 2:10 pm

Here is a link to the rough draft of the cover. I am still waiting on the original photograph, so this is a little blurry.

Thanks to everyone for your help and input.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#41 Post by Wes Barton » March 16th, 2010, 6:41 pm

E r i k Klepper wrote:
Wes Barton wrote:How about: Don't just stand there like a dufus when the winemaker asks you to do something and doesn't have the luxury of having time to explain why. Just make a mental note and ask later (if you didn't figure it out through observation).

I can think of several of people with MBAs who have real problems following simple directions. People who haven't done real jobs before are the ones likely to freeze up, not listen carefully, or second guess.

Anyway, you're there to learn. But your learning is far from the winemaker's top priority.
Having done this one or twice myself, I have to agree with you. Sometimes it was a function of exhaustion, others it was a function of having spent years thinking (and over-thinking) actions while desk jockeying. To an extent, I'd say it's on the hiring manager to recognize when someone will be less adaptable in split-second situations and either train them up front (no, I don't know how) or pass on the hire.
Sometimes it just takes someone a half a day to acclimate. Training is still theory, so it can only do so much. Even hands-on experience from when things are going smoothly only does so much when things get hectic.

I spent 15 years as a restaurant manager. The last thing you want is someone who slows down when it gets busy. So, as part of on the job training, when it's slow, it's a good idea to throw the newbies some curves and stress 'em out a bit. They'll appreciate it when it gets busy.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#42 Post by E r i k Klepper » March 17th, 2010, 5:53 am

Wes Barton wrote:
E r i k Klepper wrote:
Wes Barton wrote:How about: Don't just stand there like a dufus when the winemaker asks you to do something and doesn't have the luxury of having time to explain why. Just make a mental note and ask later (if you didn't figure it out through observation).

I can think of several of people with MBAs who have real problems following simple directions. People who haven't done real jobs before are the ones likely to freeze up, not listen carefully, or second guess.

Anyway, you're there to learn. But your learning is far from the winemaker's top priority.
Having done this one or twice myself, I have to agree with you. Sometimes it was a function of exhaustion, others it was a function of having spent years thinking (and over-thinking) actions while desk jockeying. To an extent, I'd say it's on the hiring manager to recognize when someone will be less adaptable in split-second situations and either train them up front (no, I don't know how) or pass on the hire.
Sometimes it just takes someone a half a day to acclimate. Training is still theory, so it can only do so much. Even hands-on experience from when things are going smoothly only does so much when things get hectic.

I spent 15 years as a restaurant manager. The last thing you want is someone who slows down when it gets busy. So, as part of on the job training, when it's slow, it's a good idea to throw the newbies some curves and stress 'em out a bit. They'll appreciate it when it gets busy.
I'd argue that it takes much longer than a half day - partly because you don't encounter every issue on day one (obvious) but also because it's a different rhythm in general for most people, especially as a function of what you're doing - there's a big difference between destemming six tons of fruit continuously and running a 2-3 hour press cycle on whole cluster whites, for example.

Anyway, I don't think we disagree. Spending a lot of time around MBA-types myself, I know there's a serious prima donna streak to contend with in many cases. Thanks Wes for the response.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#43 Post by Wes Barton » March 17th, 2010, 2:56 pm

E r i k Klepper wrote:
Wes Barton wrote:
E r i k Klepper wrote: Having done this one or twice myself, I have to agree with you. Sometimes it was a function of exhaustion, others it was a function of having spent years thinking (and over-thinking) actions while desk jockeying. To an extent, I'd say it's on the hiring manager to recognize when someone will be less adaptable in split-second situations and either train them up front (no, I don't know how) or pass on the hire.
Sometimes it just takes someone a half a day to acclimate. Training is still theory, so it can only do so much. Even hands-on experience from when things are going smoothly only does so much when things get hectic.

I spent 15 years as a restaurant manager. The last thing you want is someone who slows down when it gets busy. So, as part of on the job training, when it's slow, it's a good idea to throw the newbies some curves and stress 'em out a bit. They'll appreciate it when it gets busy.
I'd argue that it takes much longer than a half day - partly because you don't encounter every issue on day one (obvious) but also because it's a different rhythm in general for most people, especially as a function of what you're doing - there's a big difference between destemming six tons of fruit continuously and running a 2-3 hour press cycle on whole cluster whites, for example.

Anyway, I don't think we disagree. Spending a lot of time around MBA-types myself, I know there's a serious prima donna streak to contend with in many cases. Thanks Wes for the response.
I meant acclimate as in getting used to the environment, coming out of a daze.
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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#44 Post by Mary Baker » March 25th, 2010, 7:23 am

Image

Cover picture is fuzzy because I am still waiting for the original graphic file, which will arrive by this weekend.
Last edited by Mary Baker on June 7th, 2010, 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#45 Post by Ken Koda » March 26th, 2010, 10:35 am

Very entertaining thread.
To think I worked with Pam Starr for years and never had a list like this!

As someone who went through Parris Island Basic Training, PLEASE DOT NOT even try to compare the harvest intern with USMC basic training. It is a total insult to us Jarheads, even in jest - like it is here.

my list

1) don't be stupid. Dumb we can work with, stupid you can't do shit about
2) Don't let the hangover get you down
3) Make sure it is all clean
4) Watch the forklifts
5) When it is your turn to buy the beer, go Mexican, cold, and in can form.
Warning - ITB!

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#46 Post by Mary Baker » April 12th, 2010, 9:17 am

Here is a mother lode of internships for 2010.

Good hunting!

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns (Plus link to 50 openings for 2010)

#47 Post by mike drash » May 5th, 2010, 9:29 pm

Grow a better beard than the winemaker.

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns

#48 Post by Mark Cochard » May 14th, 2010, 9:57 am

Jeff Brinkman wrote: Wow Nate. You're a hardass. You forgot to add -
The beatings will continue until morale improves.
We have this quote hanging in the cellar

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns (Plus link to 50

#49 Post by Jon Hesford » May 29th, 2010, 9:57 am

Great thread. Pretty funny comments.

There are some very good points but one thing to remember is that it should be fun too.

The number one thing I read was this...

-don't do anything you wouldn't proudly report to your boss

As a winery intern the most important thing is not to f*ck up. Some wineries make a point of working interns to the bone and humiliating them in the process. I sense a little bit of this in the thread. I've seen these winemakers playing the boot-camp-sergeant role. The problem is that none of them have been in the military ( I have), they have just been abused by similar winemakers when they were interns.

In the military, you get trained first, then tested, then ridiculed, then accepted. In some wineries, it's completely the other way round.

So here are my 10 rules for winemakers taking on interns:
1) Remember that they are human beings and are there to learn
2) When you ask someone to do something, explain why it is important.
3) Make sure everyone understands the dangers and never put anyone at risk
4) Interview the person thoroughly beforehand. If you hire a complete f*ck-wit, it's your fault.
5) Think very carefully about how you can get the best out of the person. Critisizing them publically for something they could not have known is probably going to encourage them to piss in your top cuvee.
6) If you are going to give a list of really complicated tasks, write them down.
7) At the end of the day, wine is just a pleasurable drink and a source of profit for the proprietor, no-one is going to die if someone spills a bit of wine or adds too much bentonite.
8) Everyone gets tired if overworked. Make sure you have enough people to cover the shifts.
9) When there is down-time, let them relax, not clean the drain a fourth time.
10) If they f*ck-up, it's usually because you didn't manage them properly.

:)
In the wrong part of France

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Re: 50 Useful Tips for New Harvest Interns (Plus link to 50

#50 Post by Mary Baker » June 7th, 2010, 12:37 pm

50 Tips for Cellar Rats has just been reviewed by Eric Arnold, executive editor at Bottlenotes. Eric is the author of First Big Crush, a former editor at Wine Spectator, and until recently, the lifestyle editor at Forbes.

Link to the review
If you've worked at a winery or know someone who has, we'd love to hear your war stories--and what sort of help you wish you had before that first day plucking leaves under the hot sun, cleaning an endless row of tanks or stacking bottles on the line. Share your experiences here.
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