Thursday, April 26, 2012

What is it like to work for Hunt Country Vineyards?

We recently asked, Andy Marshall of Hunt Country Vineyards on the west side of Keuka Lake, what is it like to work to the winery.  His story may surprise you.

I was invited to write this guest blog for Finger Lakes Wine Country with the only real guideline being “make it interesting”.  Nothing like being put on the spot.  So, I agonized over being interesting and what I could share that would captivate your minds.  Easy task right?  But of course!  I hope.
I got to thinking, what was it that I was most curious to learn about when I started working at Hunt Country Vineyards six years ago.  What wines I liked?  How to taste those wines properly?  How to grow grapes?  Actually, no.  What I really wanted to know was what made this place tick.  What it took to actually get the grapes out of the vineyards and into wine in your glass.  The hazard of being a business major, I guess.

What did I find out?  That it takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, a few choice words and every bit of enthusiasm and pride that being here generates.  I honestly wasn’t expecting to still be working here six years later when I first started in March 2006.  And yet here I am.  And I’m still enjoying myself.  Why’s that?  Because every single day is different; working for a family run business means that everyone chips in whenever and however they can.

One day, I’ll be in my office, tweeting like a madman; the next I’ll be helping out in the tasting room. One time (being infinitely short isn’t always a blessing) I was stuffed in a tank to scoop out the pomace.  I’ve been known to help worm the horses, brush and bathe the dogs and horses, and put on my game face to give a tour of our winemaking facilities.

But the task that gives me the single greatest pleasure here, is the filing of out-of-state taxes.  Yes, I’m kidding.  Don’t worry.  I’m weird, but not completely off the rails.  And yes, I really do report and file all of our out-of-state taxes for the twenty-six states we’re currently licensed to ship to.  Yes, that’s really as boring as it sounds.  Good thing it’s only takes about twelve days out of my year to complete!
All that was my long-winded way of telling you what makes this place tick.  Honestly, there is so much that goes into every single day and every single bottle of wine.  We all have to pull together to make it happen.  And because you’ve stayed with me this long, I’ll share a bit about my favorite event at Hunt Country Vineyards.

Our  Annual Dog Walk, a benefit for the local Humane Society.  The first Saturday in June we host this event that brings together dog lovers from all over to help raise money for the Shelter of Hope.  This will be our 4th Annual and we’ve raised over $1000 each year so far.  I’m a dog lover; you’ve probably seen pictures of my 11 month-old Bernese Mountain Dog, Pax, if you follow me on Twitter.  More than that, though, is the sense of community and selfless giving that embodies this winery and its founders and owners, Art and Joyce Hunt.  It’s not just that they, and all of us, like to give back to the community that supports’s that we needto do that.  It’s such a fundamental part of what makes us, us.

Andy was raised in Upstate New York, living in a variety of towns over the years; most recently, and for the longest, in Penn Yan. A December 2005 graduate of Keuka College, he holds a B.S. in Business Management (summa cum laude) with a minor in Computer Technologies.   As Hunt Country’s resident vegan, Andy has been helpful in developing and promoting the winery’s vegan-friendly initiatives. A life-long animal lover, he currently has four cats - all of which were rescues - and has a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, Pax (Latin for peace). Andy is an avid reader – with an impressive library of more than 3000 books! – and also enjoys music, hiking, horseback riding, football (soccer to most Americans), and is a diehard fan of NCIS.

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