My long-suffering Hubby & I just got back from helping our friend Benjamin Calais (https://www.calaiswinery.com/) at a wine fest in Houston.
This was not our “first rodeo”,meaning we have done this before…and we were looking forward to meeting new people and talking about Calais Winery and especially hearing the surprise in everyone’s voice when they say, “There’s a winery in Dallas and you’re in Deep Ellum!”. I love saying “For reals! man! and we are a REAL WORKING winery! We pick,crush & ferment!”
But it is not all glamour. At this particular show, we could not drive up to our spot so we had to haul 25 cases of wine across a city park in 95+ degrees, then go back for ice, the ice chest, tables, chairs, banner, tent, duct tape, corkscrews, trash bags, water, snacks…’you get the idea’…your basically camping for the weekend. But we got everything set-up (with the help of Nick, my bottling buddy http://wp.me/pJNy2-60) and realized that we were facing west and this was going to be miserable for us and the wine.
We had 3 wines with us, Muscat, Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon. Because it was so hot we decided to ice down the red wines along with the Muscat. A few “wine snobs” made comments that they never chill red wine…Hello! when has 99 frickin’ degrees been acceptable as “room temperature”? For the most part, people were grateful that we DID chill our reds because they said all they could taste from the wineries that did not chill their reds was ‘hot alcohol’.
The 1st day of the festival was from noon to 10pm. That is a long day and we had to keep moving our table out of the sun. I could feel my feet swelling from standing too long & sweat stinging my eyes, but I’m a ‘Customer Service Professional’ and I just kept on smiling & talking :-). Unfortunately, one of the hazards of a wine festival going into the night is you get people who just want to drink and not really want to learn about wine; and the main question/statement is, “what do you have that’s sweet ?” or “I only drink red”.
By the end of the evening, I was tired & grumpy. All I wanted was a bath & lots of water to drink. But before we could leave, we had to secure everything, lower the tent, pack up anything valuable, clean up our area. Luckily we checked on the weather for the next day because we were expecting wind gusts of 25 miles per hour & 100 degrees again so we needed to tie the tent down…bungee cords & duct tape were going to be our friends!!!
Sure enough, the next day there were tents and trash everywhere. Nick got smart and tied the tent to a tree and used bungee cords on anything loose. I’m so glad that Sully was an Eagle Scout because he can tie a knot like nobody’s business & had everything else secure. All I had to do was look good & smile 😉
The last day of the festival was from 12-8, but Sully & I needed to leave by 5 so we could get back to Dallas because of our “cubicle jobs” on Monday. That left Nick to fend for himself in the heat & wind. Our tent neighbors promised to look after him….funny, I still have not heard from Nick…….
Well, anyway….we packed up what cases of wine we thought would not sell and anything Nick didn’t need and headed back to “Big D” to drop off everything at the winery. After stopping for “dinner” at Buc-ee’s Truck Stop (http://www.bucees.com/), unloading and talking with Benjamin, we were finally home by 11. I had a sore back, shoulders, feet, bruises and a cut on my finger (foil on a wine bottle can be lethal).
So that’s the glamorous life of the wine business…and I didn’t even tell you what happens in the vineyard!
I’m tired just reading this…I need a drink…