Sunday, July 27, 2008

Well, the second stop on the tour, on back-to-back weekends, was the Bounty of the Hudson hosted by Benmarl Vineyards, in Marlboro, New York. The wine life seems like a very fun, genteel way to make a living, but I've never worked so hard in my life. We bottled and labeled during the week. I've picked the only business in the world that has heavier boxies then book boxes - boxes of wine. If I ever come back in another life, I'm going to manufacture those styrofoams peanuts and save my back.

We stayed up late way into the night, after bottling our Lindenwald White, which we were out of. And then we had to label enough cases for the festval itself. Then we had to start loading the car early the next morning. And then it was an hour and some down the valley in the car, after what seemed like an hour to get a few doughnuts, coffee and milk at the local Dunkin Donuts.

Matt Wiesmantel was a great help in the Finger Lakes, but he was not there for me this time. This time it was me and my son Dawson (10 years old). Let me tell you, in the begining, when I told him he could not buy a soda, he folded his arms and refused to help. But as the day went on, he was awesome, pouring syrup and writing down claim checks for customers. He came through huge!

Bounty of the Hudson is a hands-free wine fest. I have to admit I had no idea what the hell that meant until I got there. Thank God for Jason Grizzanti of Warwick Valley Winery. Jason is a road weary veteran of these affairs, and he kindly showed me the ropes. He told me that all the wine we had set up behind our table in the tent, instead had to go to a central location. So we had to repack the car, after having unpacked it, and rolled it around to the stock area. The idea is that we would write out claim checks in triplicate, so the festival goers would not have to carry their wine with them. It was a nice way to handle things, except for one thing - we had no triplcate form booklets. Luckily, Jason talked with a festival worker, and got us a booklet to write in. What a guy!!!

George Cafiero is the General Manager of Casecade Mountain Winery. He is another grizzled road warrior. He also helped me out greatly. That's two weeks in a row, he's helped save my bacon, giving me advice, because he was kind of enough to help me out at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival the week before. Thanks, George!

There were many festival goers, who seemed quite happy with the food and wine. Here's a group that volunteered for a photo-op! Thanks folks - for everything!

The festival ran late for us. We sold, and sold. And then we had a few folks we over sold to. I waited around to make sure we got everyone their money back who we might have over subscribed to. And then we had to pack up the car, and head home. However, I had to stop in Kingston to buy more triplicate forms and buy Dawsn dinner - a big treat - Taco Bell. And then it was more miles on the odometer.

After that, I had to enter all the credit vouchers on the veraphone, label and pack some more wine in the car for my wife, because we had sold out of everything, and restock our counter supplies - all for the Sunday portion of the event.

And I keep asking myself - this is a Saturday nite? - who's idea was this?


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