Tense times this week on the viticulture course: Our final tractor assessment and the second rush of vintage. There really is no rest for the wicked, we had to all get stuck in!
Top 3 things I have learnt this week:
1. The art of tractor driving
Hold onto your bales! This budding young(ish) rookie vigneron is now a certified novice tractor driver. This week saw me nervously back up to implements with a great deal of precision, attach them and drive them away. I had to move bales across the paddock, plough a furrow and I finally got the hang of reversing a trailer. Such good fun!
2. The role of social media in wine marketing
This week, fresh from the submission of my first assignment, I had to refocus my attention on wine marketing. Social media and its very important role is the latest topic. I have been a big fan of social media since its advent. My first profile was on Myspace, which is what we used to express ourselves with before Facebook was around!
Living on the other side of the world from my friends and family, social networking is an essential part of my life. Not only does it allow me to keep in contact with my nearest and dearest, it has also allowed my to connect with a great deal of others. Without wishing to state the obvious, it also helps me to connect with my lovely readers.
So I like to think I know social media quite well, but it seems that those using social media for business etc. know us rather well too. Users can be grouped into four categories:
- Attention seekers: Post a great deal but make little effort to interact with others
- Entertainment chasers: Post very little but regularly use Facebook to seek entertainment; funny posts, videos etc.
- Connection seekers: Post very little themselves, but like to comment and interact with the posts of others
- Devotees: Social media is a big part of their lives and they post, comment and interact a great deal
The product or service to be advertised determines which of these groups is targeted. Target the right group and your product will sell itself through word of mouth. Which group do you identify with?
3. Getting stuck in
Friday’s winemaking class, which was to be in the lab testing our brews, turned out to be rather more exciting than expected. Six bins of Sangiovese grapes greeted us on arrival and the winery was in full swing. It turns out that most vintages have two waves of craziness. Our winery was experiencing wave number two. It was time for us to all muck in!
One group was dispatched to the aid of a massive press that needed cleaning, another tasked with receiving and processing the Sangiovese and the last moving some wine. I was in the first group. The inside of a huge industrial press is a hostile place. Full of potent and suffocating carbon dioxide, gulps of fresh air between sessions felt amazing. We had to brush out tonnes of grape marc (cake) and wash out the huge drum.
Watching the team process the Sangiovese was fascinating. From the receival hopper, to the crusher-destemmer then through the must pump to the tank for fermentation. A great combination of machines. Being part of an industrial winery this early in our new careers is priceless, however, what a shame the wine takes so long to be ready!
So now we are entering our mid semester break – though as I mentioned, this may include a three day chemical handling course and some shifts in the winery. The second half of my Shiraz-rosé ferment is now underway and we are going to a rosé wine and cheese tasting event. At the weekend Phil is treating me to a mini break in the King Valley, a Victorian wine region famous for its Italian varieties. Stay posted for the review.
Thank you for reading