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Caring for Basil

Thai basil at a perfect harvesting state- green, disease or pest free leaves, flowerless.

Hello from Indiana, Pennsylvania! I am interning at Yarnick’s vegetable farm until August. I’ve been busy planting hydroponic lettuce, harvesting vegetables, processing vegetables, working with herbs, and caring for flowers. Over the course of summer, I will be learning about large scale vegetable production literally from seed to sale.


Basil is an herb used primarily for culinary purposes. The leaves are harvested and used in a variety of dishes including salads and sauces. Thai, purple, lemon and common basil are grown in the greenhouses at Yarnick’s. These annual plants require at least six hours of sun a day, moist soil, and will not tolerate frost conditions. Basil will, however, tolerate high heat conditions that will wilt other plants.

All the basil plants begin as seeds planted in potting soil. Once the true leaves emerge, they are planted in the corners of the herb towers. In other words, four plants will be in each level of the tower.  The herbs are set on a watering timer which keeps the soil moist. Fertilizer is mixed with the water so that all nutrient requirements are met.  Essentially, basil is kept under optimal growing conditions in the herb house.

Pinching back Thai Basil’s purple flowers

Basil needs pinched back after six weeks to promote a bushy growth as opposed to tall or elongated growth. Auxin is a plant hormone located in apical tips responsible for tallness (apical bud growth) while cytokinin is a plant hormone located in the roots responsible for bushy growth (axillary bud growth). When the tips of a plant are removed, auxin is removed. This lowers the concentration of auxin in the plant and therefore raises the cytokinin concentration in the plant. This spurs axillary bud growth or bushiness.

Basil will be harvested after six sets of leaves adorn the stem.  The plant may be dug up and sold as fresh basil or it may be cut to half an inch above the soil level. The fresh basil, which will have most of its roots, will be placed in a clear bag filled with water.  This allows the basil to survive longer than rootless (cut) basil. The cut basil can grow back, which eliminates the need to replant.

Thai basil’s purple foliage prior to flower development.

One of the greatest ways to keep basil’s lifespan longer is pinching back the flowers. Normally, plants grow to a mature size and then reproduce when environmental conditions are favorable. When harvesting an herb specifically for the leaves, not the seeds or fruits, reproduction is a negative aspect. Hence, the basil flowers are pinched back and removed to keep the plant from using energy on reproduction. For example, Thai basil will create purple foliage and flowers that will be removed when spotted. This extends the life of the plant and keeps it in a continual harvest state.

Fully flowering Thai basil.

Mountain View Farm Products: Cheese, cheese and ice cream

Throughout my internship I was able to work with multiple different farmers and their businesses. One that I spent a lot of time with was Mountain View Farm, a 250 acre dairy farm that also made farm fresh dairy products. In the summer Mountain View Farm milks about 180 of their 200 cows twice a day, during the winter this number decreases. Their cows are grazed and fed a non-GMO grain. The owners, Fred and Christy Huger and their three wonderful kids live and work on the farm. Fred handles and manages the dairy and cows while Christie makes the dairy products. Their business has a great story and has evolved and grown in a short amount of time. Christie originally started making cheese out of their kitchen, then upgraded to a trailer. As demand continued to grow she quit her full time job as an art teacher and decided to make cheeses full time and eventually built a cheese making and cheese aging facility on the farm. They sell and make a variety of different products like hard and soft cheeses, milk, butter and ice cream. All the their hard cheeses are made from unpasteurized milk and because of certain laws have to age it for 60 days. Their soft cheeses and spreads all use pasteurized milk. Mountain View Farm makes a variety of different cheese products like: jumpin’ jack chive, cheddar, feta, gouda, swiss, pimento cheese, mozzarella, fromage blanc and colby. Many of these cheeses have different flavoring added, like herbs or habanero apricot jelly.

During some rainy days I helped make cheese at Mountain View Farms. One day I took the cheese wheels out of the press and put them in a mixture of salt water. I also took cheese from their aging room and dusted off the mold, then painted wax on the bottom and sides. I helped churn, make and package fresh butter, and this butter was amazingly delicious. Everything sold was hand packaged. When we made salted butter I sprinkled in the sea salt then hand stirred it in.


One very interesting business and marketing strategy that Mountain View Farm used was with their product, Meow Milk. This milk was commercially sold as a pet food product because it was hand bottled, lightly pasteurized and non-homogenized. For these reasons it could not be legally sold for humans. Despite this, it was a top selling item.

I also helped make mozzarella which was a delicious process! I stirred the cheese curds, then stacked them to be put in plastic bags and refrigorate overnight. The next day you have to heat up two pots of water, then put the curds in the first pot for a couple minutes, then switch it to the next. Then you take the curds and stretch the mozzarella and form a baseball sized ball. The trickiest part of all this is not eating all the warm and gooey cheese.

I also was able to go to two local farmers markets with Mountain View and help sell their products. I also grew very close with this amazing family and their kids even took me out shooting and hunting. The Huger family taught me about cheese making, running a profitable business, marketing products and working extremely hard and efficiently. I had a truly wonderful time with them and cant wait to go back and eat more cheese!

Weeks three and four at Hosmer

Old vine next to its young replacement

Hello from Cayuga Lake! Over the past few weeks I’ve been busy with a whole assortment of tasks about Hosmer Winery and Vineyards. Going to work has been exciting every day as most of what I have been doing is dependent on the weather, and Hosmer has been keeping myself and Emily completing new tasks each day.

A couple of weeks, ago, the weather has absolutely beautiful, clear and sunny. Out in the vineyards, many of the vines need replacing as they have died due to frost damage. A team of employees including myself, Emily, Carfora, and Hosmer, went through the process of using a “sabertooth” vine extractor  invented in the Finger Lakes was used to pull out the old gnarled vine and a new one year vine planted.

Running out wires to build trellises.

There is also a new planting of about an acre of Grüner Veltliner, an Austrian grape variety that has recently increased in popularity. These one-year old vines will grow at least six feet tall this season, so we’ve been staking them and thinning the shoots to two trunks where necessary. I’ve learned fast the value of ergonomics to help prevent  serious back soreness. I’ve also learned that 1) hats are a godsend and 2) audiobooks and the “20 questions game” are very helpful in keeping the mind focused on repetitive vineyard work. Without someway of keeping engaged, it is hard to keep up a good pace.

Cleaning the precision sprayer. It allows for more efficient and responsible use of fungicides.

The weather, as with any agricultural enterprise, is a very important part of everyday work. When it started to thunderstorm over the past few weeks Hosmer has been going out to spray in preparation for the inevitable fungal onslaught.

That is not to say that he unnecessarily sprays chemicals, as that would be a waste of time, money, and has environmental implications. Hosmer prides himself for and holds up his company brand to sustainable viticultural practices. He also values cleanliness, and, along with Aaron Roisen, seems to agree with the saying that “wine-making is 90% cleaning”. I would agree almost entirely, except that moving the wine might make up a solid chunk of the time as well.

On most of the rainy days and many other mornings, Aaron, Emily and I have been recently bottling much of the wine that was made in 2012. The winery bottles about 10,000 cases of wine a year, which is about 100 of the below seen “skids of glass”, much of which needs to be cleared out of the fermentation tanks in preparation of a fast arriving harvest.

Unloading a skid of glass which contains 104 bottles or 12,480 bottles.

Bottling Line- a $30-40,000 machine that is co-owned by Hosmer.

So far, I’ve learned how to run the bottling line and trouble-shoot many of the issues that inevitably come up. This machine is divided into two sections that first fills and corks the wine and the second caps, seals, and labels the bottles. Although very efficient, it is a finicky set of machines that takes three people to run and watch very carefully. At this point, it is second nature to be wary when around one, but lately, to all of our relief, the ghost in the machine has been relatively passive.

Other than the tasks so far mentioned, there have been many others to keep me busy. In the picture below, I am standing in front of fourteen, six year old french oak barrels and two new, $1,000 french oak barrels. They all contained 2012 chardonnay, and it was an incredible experience to taste the difference between the two aging processes. The new french oak was heavy, very well rounded, and intensely spicy while the older ones were much less pronounced. The difference between the two was like night and day, but all of these barrels were mixed on the day that this photo was taken and will be bottled by the time I post next.

French Oak and me.

On that note, I think that I will conclude my post. Until next time, ciao!

Zone Tillage Depth Study

This past week I was introduced to the personal project I will be working on while with the Nutrient Management Spear Program. The project is evaluating the use and effect of various depths of zone tillage. But what exactly is zone tillage? In the world of tillage, there are generally two approaches: conventional and reduced/no-till systems. Conventional tillage systems would include the use of your typical moldboard plow, disk, chisel, aerway, etc. These methods generally create a quality seedbed while effectively incorporating organic matter, however also tend to have some negative effects on the soil with increased soil erosion, compaction, and decreased surface residues. Reduced/ no-till systems attempt to cause as little disruption to the soil as possible. Reduced/ no-till systems generally require specialized equipment such as a seed drill or zone tiller in order to not require conventional tillage to prepare a suitable seedbed. Zone tillage is where a narrow strip of soil is tilled, while leaving the areas between these strips undisturbed. This creates a quality seedbed (pictured), increases surface residue, reduces soil erosion and possibly relieves some compaction issues as well. This method essentially compromises on the positive effects and objectives of both conventional and no-till systems.

For this study, I visited Table Rock Farm in Castile, NY. Data has been collected for several years at the farm looking at the possible effects of different depths of zone tillage. The three zone tillage depths in the study are zero (control – aerway), seven, and fourteen inches. This week, eight and twelve inch soil samples were taken to have soil test results prior to side dressing. In addition to soil samples, early season biomass plant samples, stand counts, plant height, and leaf counts were taken to be evaluated to see if there are any early significant differences between the depths.

Currently, I am processing these samples and recording the results. The next data to be collected will be at the end of the season when the corn is being harvested to look at any possible yield differences.

Internship with Agricultural Consulting Services, INC

My truck and ATV that I will be using for the summer.

For this summer I will be interning with Agricultural Consulting Services, Inc. or ACS for short and their sister company Agrinetix, LLC in Rochester NY. ACS consists of agronomy professionals who handle the crops side of the business and environmental planners that handle the CAFO and LFO regulatory side of the business. I will mainly be working as a field technician with the technical service department of ACS. For the first three weeks I have been working with ACS; meeting employees, training, soil sampling, and scouting.

I was first trained in mapping fields and collecting phosphorus index data. I met with one of the environmental planners and reviewed the field mapping training manual to understand symbols used while mapping and the general procedure for fieldwork. The majority of ACS’s field mapping is for clients that have to follow CAFO regulations. These stipulate guidelines such as manure spreading and where a field may need a setback due to an environmentally sensitive area. To begin mapping, we make a loop around the field on our ATVs with our map and markers close by to begin marking any important areas such as “Water of the State” streams and wetlands. These streams and wetlands are important because a manure setback must be put into place in the client would like to spread manure in the particular field and follow environmental regulations. The setback must be one hundred feet or if there is at least a thirty five foot buffer between the field edge and the wetland or stream then no set back is needed.  Also wells are an important thing to pay attention to because they require a setback of one hundred feet. While mapping other data about the field is collected such as slope, row grade, and rock cover. Lastly, the service manager may also ask you to break up the field into different sections based on topography or possible even soil type.

Alfalfa Weevil larvae found while scouting some alfalfa in Western NY

I have also had the opportunity to do some scouting in my first couple weeks of working with ACS. I began by scouting for alfalfa weevil that is a main pest of established stands of alfalfa, which can be detrimental if found in high enough numbers before the first cutting is done. Alfalfa weevil overwinters in NY as an adult and the larval stages starts to appear in fields around early May. They leave shotgun like holes in on the upper leaves of the alfalfa. When scouting for alfalfa weevil we walk through the field and examine five stems in ten different locations within the field looking for damage or larvae. It is also important to note the size of the larvae and the stage of the alfalfa. Once you have sampled in your ten locations you then divide your number of damaged stems by the number of stems you checked, which in the end would be fifty. So if I walked through a field and counted sixteen damaged stems then I would divide sixteen by fifty to determine my percent damage which would be thirty two percent in this example. The threshold for controlling alfalfa weevil in an established stand is forty percent, however just by cutting the alfalfa you can eliminate about eighty percent of the alfalfa weevil present in the field but that should not be assumed and scouting may need to be done again after first cutting to double check the situation.

Vegetable gardens and Cherry Ridge Farm

The community that I live in has a lot of amazing people and farmers, and I have been able to visit and work on a couple other farms and projects. I spent a lot of time working on our vegetable garden here at Whipple Creek Farm. We planted about ten different varieties of tomatoes including beef steak, Cherokee purple, roma and early girl’s. We used pig cage panels to create rows and eventually to help support the tomatoes. We also planted broccoli, silver queen corn, bok choy, lettuce, cucumbers, squash, beans, swiss chard, artichokes and beets. We then used mulch mixed with manure as a weed control.

I worked on another farm about once a week called Cherry Ridge Farm. I  helped out in their greenhouse, harvested vegetables for market, weeded and learned to can and preserve. The owner, David Bebe has a beautiful greenhouse with an aquaponic system with tilapia and a variety of tropical plants like figs and bananas.

There are also different houseplants, crops and seedlings. In the greenhouse I usually weeded the beds and pots, re-potted a lot of plants and seedlings and helped perform other odd tasks. I also helped propagate leaf cuttings of snail tailed begonias. We first made a couple fresh leaf cuttings then cut each leaf into small pieces about a couple inches long and wide. We made small incisions on the veins then lightly dusted them with a plant growth hormone. After that step we stuck them in the soil. These ornamental crops are very important for Cherry Ridge Farms business because they sell them for $10-30 and are very popular with costumers at Farmers Markets.

Cherry Ridge Farm sells their produce and value added products at the Lexington and Rockbridge Farmers markets. They have been experimenting with value added products like syrups, dried fruits and candies, all of which are made on the farm using their own products. They grow their own ginger in their greenhouse and sell it whole but also make a candied ginger out of it. This delicious treat takes a long time to prepare because you need to peel and cut pounds of fresh ginger, boil it, drain the water, add sugar, and wait for it to caramelize. Another product they sell and I helped make is ginger and shagbark hickory syrup. We saved the boiled water from the ginger candies and boiled it with sugar to make a syrup. We did a similar thing with shagbark. You first collect the shagbark, roast it in the oven, boil it and use that water. Other products included English mustard, peppered jellies chocolates with fresh fruit and dried figs. These products were large selling items, increased diversity and were unique.

I really enjoyed working at Cherry Ridge and with David Beebe. I learned a lot about a variety of plants, greenhouse operations, marketing and making specialty products. I acquired many skills that I will definitely implement into my life and career.

Virginia Hop Yard: Week 1

Greetings from Virginia everyone! This blog post follows my first week at my internship at Whipple Creek Farm, which is primarily a hops farm. Our farm has about ¾ of an acre of cascade hops. A little over half the plants were planted this year, and the other half are three years old. We grow cascade because they are very resistant to certain diseases and perform the best in this environment. On the farm we also have vegetables, chickens and piglets! I arrived here Sunday, May 26th and it’s already been a crazy time.

On Memorial Day I worked at our hop field stringing hops.  To string the hops you first need to put up the string using a ladder or tall device, then stick it into the ground on each side of the irrigation using hop clips. Then you pick 3-4 plants and twist them up the string clockwise. Our goal was to get the all the first year hops strung by the end of the week.

After a busy morning, I then went to Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company in Lexington Virginia to tour the facility and help my roommate (who is a brewer there) and her co-worker do a Belgium stout homebrew. Devil’s Backbone’s Lexington location is called the Outpost and has a 30 barrel brew system (1 barrel is 31 gallons). This was such a wonderful experience because I saw and helped with certain tasks required for larger beer production and do things like drain yeast. I also got to help make what will hopefully be a delicious homebrew.

Over the next couple of days we continued stringing hops. Then on Thursday I went to two other hop yards, Blue Mountain and The Barrel House. Blue Mountain Brewery has four and one year cascade plants, and intercrops them with soybeans as a weed control and to increase soil health. I spent the majority of the day helping string hops at The Barrel House. We used a cart that was pulled by a lawn mower type machine to first tie up the strings to the wires. I went up on the cart, learned the knot they use and finished a couple of rows. Later in the day The Barrel House had a stringing hops event that they posted on their facebook page and local newspapers that asked for volunteers to come from 3-7 pm to help string hops and eat free food. This was an excellent marketing strategy and we were able to have enough volunteers to get a couple rows finished. We drank good beer, ate delicious food and had great conversations while getting a lot of work done.

On Friday there was more stringing in the morning at Whipple Creek. We were so close to finishing, only one row left, but we had to stop early to go to West Virginia to pick up the piglets! We bought three Gloucester Old Spot piglets, two female and one male all about 2 months old. Before we picked them up we set up a small paddock on the property so they could graze on the tall fescue and orchard grass there. We used electric movable fencing and plan on rotating them weekly. The pigs will be bred and used for meat.

On Saturday I accompanied April (my roommate) and Devil’s Backbone to Strings and Spirits, a bluegrass and beer and wine festival in Roanoke Virginia. It was a super hot sunny day but I got to listen to good music, meet new people and try some local beer, cider and wine. It was a great festival that helped showcase local musicians, artists and brewers. We then went and got a tour of Buried City Brewery, whose main products include Dam Lager and Red Clay IPA, before we made our way back home.

On Sunday we finally finished stringing all the hops! Next step, weeding and mulching.

I made a new best friend. Everyone, meet Muchen.

Overall, it was a pretty great start to what I hope will be a wonderful summer.

Español y Alaliticas


Estoy aprendiendo mucho español y espero que estoy mejorando. La gente habla muy MUY rápida, y claro ellos nunca hablan más lento cuando habla conmigo lol.

Este semana aprendí como a hacer analíticas de vino.  Es un serie de 5 pruebas : pH, acides volítales,  acides total, sulfuroso, y alcohol.  Me siento como estoy en clase de química otra vez pero esto vez es un montón más interesante porque la pruebas son con vino!  Hoy hizo cuatro vinos diferentes, dos tintos, un blanco y un rosado.

-pH: Es importante a un vino porque lo indica si el vino es más seco o dulce.  Normalmente blancos tienen pHs más bajo y tintos tienen pHs más alto.   El blanco que hice, tuvo 3.6 y los tintos 3.8.

-Acides: Los acides afecta el pH del vino y son importante para el sabor del vino, como te siente en la boca, y también a mantener estabilidad del vino.  A mayoría de bacterias no pueden vivir en acide y por eso un vino puedo vivir por años y años.

Heats the wine and collects the volatiles in the tube.

-Sulfuroso:  Todos vinos tienen sulfuroso natural pero a veces añadimos sulfuroso a ayudar el preservación del vino.  No quieres mucho sulfuroso porque lo afecta el sabor y color.

-Alcohol:  La ultima prueba es alcohol. Un vino normal tiene un alcohol entre 12 y 15%.  Muchos vinos dulces tienen más y a veces blancos tienen menos.

Measures boiling point of wine which is used to calculate % alcohol.

Este noche me voy con Sebastein y Pascual, el otro intern, a una fería de todos el vinos en el región de Alicante.  Estoy emocionada a saber los vinos diferentes en el región.  Estará divertido!

Debo decirte un poco sobre las otras cosas que he hecho!  Si estás en España necesitas ir a Valencia.  Es una ciudad muy bonita con mucha historia pero muchas cosas nuevas también.  Fui el fin de semana pasado y dormí en mi primero hostal! Estaba sorprendida a ver como limpia y moderna lo fue y conocí estudiantes de todo el mundo .  El mercado central era mi lugar favorito.  Tiene toda la fruta, verduras, carne, queso, y pescado fresco te gustarían! Era mi cielo.


Mercado Central, Valencia

También fui en tours de la ciudad de arte y ciencia con otros estudiantes de mi hostal.  Es en el parque grande que va por el centro de la ciudad en una línea.  Es en una línea porque es donde el rio era antes de la ciudad movieron la dirección del rio 30 años pasado.  El parque es 9 kilometres largo.  Hay campos de futbol, jardines, y estos nuevos edificios que se llama la ciudad de arte y ciencia.

My favorite building. Designed to look like an eye and the center is a theater!

Me gusta Valencia mucho. Comí el mejor paella he comido (con conejo!), vi muchos edificios espectaculares, y conocí buena gente.

Bueno, hasta pronto!



I am learning a lot of Spanish and I hope I am improving.  The people speak very very fast and of course never slow down when they talk to me!

This week I learned how to do analytics of wine.  It is a series of 5 tests: pH, volatile acids, total acids, sulfites, and alcohol.  I feel like I am in chemistry class again but it is much more interesting this time because all the experiments are with wine.  Today I tested 4 different wines, 2 reds, one White, and one rosé.

pH: It is important to a wine because it indicates if the wine is more dry or sweet.  Normally White wines have lower pH and reds have higher pHs.  The White wine I tested was 3.6 and the reds were 3.8.

Acids: The acids affect the pH of the wine, the flavor, mouthfeel, and also maintain the stability of the wine. Most bacteria can’t live in acidic environments and because of this a wine can last for years and years.

Sulfites:  All wines have natural sulfites but sometimes we add them to help the preservation of the wine.  You don’t want too much because it can affect the taste.

Alcohol:  The last test is alcohol.  Most wines have an alcohol between 12 and 16%.  Sometimes dessert wines have more and White wines have less.

            Tonight I am going to an Alicante wine fair with Sebastian and Pascual, the other intern.  It will have all of the wines or the región, including Casa Sicilia.  I am very excited to see what it is like! It should be fun.

            I should also tell you a few of the other things I have been up to!  If you are ever in Spain you have to go to Valencia!  I went last weekend and stayed in my first youth hostel!  I was surpised at how modern and clean it was, and I met a lot of students from all over the world.  The central Market of Valencia was definintely my favorite place.  It has every fruit, vegetable, cheese, meat, and fresh fish you could ever want.  So pretty!

I also went on a tour of the city of arts and sciences with other people from my hostel.  It is a section of Valencia that is in a really long park that weaves through the center of the city.  It is shaped like this because it is where the river used to flow before they redirected it about 30 years ago.  There are a lot of different sections with soccer fields, gardens and really modern buildings, which is called the city of arts and sciences.

I loved Valencia, I had the best paella I have ever eated (with rabbit!), saw some pretty cool buildings, and met nice people.

 Well, That’s all for now!  Until next time.


Soil, first cut, and more

Three weeks ago, I started my internship working for the  Nutrient Management Spear Program (NMSP) in Cornell’s Animal Science Department, run by Dr. Quirine Ketterings. The main goal of the program  is to aid farms (focusing on dairy farms) to become more sustainable. The team does this by conducting a variety of research—both on farm and at experiment farms, lab work, and through Cooperative Extension outreach. The research evaluates numerous soil management practices and their effect on the farm’s sustainability by looking at the amount of farm  inputs  vs. the products exported from it. Some of the management methods under review  include: crop rotations, manure application, fertilizer application, yield monitor accuracy, and tillage.

My first week was largely assisting with a project examining the effect of different nitrogen fertilizer application rates on triticale and wheat fields. This project will be looking at the differences in yield as well as the nutrient content of forages. Pictured left are different levels of application on each plot and the distinction from the rest of the field. Once samples are harvested by hand, we take them back to the lab to be weighed when they are wet and then dry after three days in the oven. Once this is done, the samples are put through a grinder and prepared for nutrient analysis.

In week two I  assisted with a project evaluating the accuracy of yield monitors on choppers. This project evaluates the monitor accuracy of crop moisture content and the necessary frequency of monitor calibration. To do this, the chopper operator is given a sheet to record what the yield monitor reads for moisture content for each load of alfalfa. Samples are then taken from each load and dumped at the bunk (pictured left). They are then weighed to determine actual crop moisture content.

In week three, I received my summer research project. I will continue work with an on-going study comparing varying depths of zone tillage looking at differences in yield and soil quality. I will start with a farm visit that has been aiding in this research, and will include the details in my next post!

Start of Summer at Hosmer

Golf cart- One of the more thrilling parts of vineyard work.

Over the past week and a half, I’ve been working at Hosmer Vineyard and Winery on the west coast of Cayuga Lake. This grape farm was bought by Cameron Hosmer’s father and the vines were  planted in late 1970s by Cameron and Maren “the real boss” Hosmer. While expanding acre by acre over the decades, this family maintains excellent vineyard practices. The concept “a wine is only as good as the grapes” is truly embraced at this winery by Cameron Hosmer and the whole crew there.

At the end of last week, I showed up and was warmly welcomed. I’ve been introduced around vineyards helping to replace first year vines and maintain second year vines with Cameron, Matt, and Wilson, some of the vineyard workers. The tasks in the vineyard were easily learned, as the object of young vines was to add and remove grow tubes, suckers, and to train the vines onto strings. The work is not very challenging, but it has been excellent working outside, and the tasks vary on a day-by-day basis. Out in the vineyards, we (Emily VanFossen, a fellow Cornellian intern) get to zip around the vineyards in the golf carts (a bit of an adrenaline rush when we really get moving, I guiltily admit).

Emily joined me near the beginning of last week and we’ve been able to get each other motivated as we have been adjusting to our early summer sleeping schedule. The majority of the work so far during the good weather has been in the vineyard, but this past Thursday, I got to experience the bottling of the Estate Red wine, an excellent blend of Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Seyval.

Bottling Hosmer’s flagship “Estate Red”


Used French Oak Barrels

A little bit of cleaning

The bottling and labeling machine is an interesting piece of equipment, about $20-30,000 in value (not very expensive if you consider the millions that harvesters, laser precision planter, and tractors can cost). We spent Thursday morning and some of the afternoon bottling and boxing about 500 cases of the Estate Red. It was, once again, simple work, but it was a great opportunity.

Aaron Roisen, affectionately nicknamed “wine guy,” is the resident vintner who is responsible for producing Hosmer’s recent, award-winning vintages. Being able to work and hang out with him has been great so far, not only discussing how to make the wine, but about the lifestyle associated with it. While not being certain where I would like to go after graduating, a career in wine-making might be a great opportunity to travel and obtain a job that might have a high degree of creative freedom (depending on where I would be working).

As Emily and I work throughout the summer, we both are interested in getting an opportunity to work in the tasting room and pick the brains of Katy, Aaron’s fiance about her position as marketing director at Hosmer.

Well, that’s it for now! It’s dinner time, and then bed before another couple of weeks at the winery… Until next time! Ciao!

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