Harvest Hoppers

Blenheim’s Montana Brancott Winery hosts Canadian Lindsay Forsey to work “the vintage” between March and May, one of 120 seasonal employees hired from around the world. “I scored the lab position with a bit of help from a New Zealander I met at a New Zealand wine event in Toronto,” Forsey explains. “I’ll earn $15 an hour plus time-and-a-half for overtime, of which there is plenty. At the beginning of the vintage, processing field samples is a priority. Every afternoon, I wait with my co-worker, Natalie Gudsell, a Blenheim local, for one of the viticulturalists to zip up in a pickup truck to the back door of the lab. On some days, we receive more than 150 samples, bulging bags of grapes, each of which we record and weigh. Then we take the grapes out to a small hand-operated crusher to press out the juice. Toward the end of the season, I learn how to do fining trials — adjustments to the colour, smell and clarity of wine, using substances like copper sulphate, fish and milk. Once you’ve worked one vintage, you’ll have experience that can take you to wineries around the world.”

Tags: Montana Brancott Winery  National Post