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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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