When I do get a chance to chat with students, I like to find out how they are doing in their practicum work and whether they are learning more than just the required skills for course. I’ve asked one student, Abbe Turner, to submit a brief summary of what she’s learned during her time working for a winery in a Canal Country winery for the Summer/Fall Practicum for 2013. Below is her response to my query.
Five Things I’ve Learned During My Practicum
1) No matter how much you plan and follow a scheduled maintenance/spray program in the vineyard, Mother Nature can change your plans. A season of heavy, frequent rain and cold temperature brings problems and can dramatically affect yields.
2) Labor can be a challenge- to, hire, train, motivate and schedule. Hourly pay doesn’t encourage worker productivity, but the convivial nature of community work might outweigh the competitive and often aggressive nature of piecework. I am still thinking about this challenge and welcome discussion on this topic.
3) Certain varieties do better in Ohio. Period. Have reasonable expectations for outliers in yield and in vineyard performance.
4) Agricultural work is grueling, at times downright painful, and workers should be provided fair pay and necessities- breaks, water, restrooms and tools in working order to prevent injury.
5) It takes more work than I ever imagined to make a good bottle of wine. I will try to appreciate my next glass in its entirety, from the vineyard to the family table.