On my first day working as a waitress at my new job*, my manager - a funny, easygoing, potty-mouthed man - showed me around the winery and suddenly said, "Hey! Do you want to do some bottling on Wednesday??!".
I of course, didn't know what this meant at all but nodded excitedly and said "Sure thing!".
And so I rocked up at 8am this morning and got going in a production line - to bottle over 2000 bottles of Sparkling Nashi Pear wine!
It was fantastic. Really, to explain it to you guys, I'd tell you to just imagine me doing rocket science. =] Yeahhh like that. Mainly I picked up corks and thumbed them through a big tube, while watching the bottles to make sure nothing went wrong, and put the wire caps on top when they came along past me.
This is all operating on a nifty looking piece of machinery, by the way. It was a small team that we worked in - just my manager, a friendly bloke called Sam, and I. Once the bottles had passed by me, they went on to Sam who picked them from the machine line and put them in another thing which quickly twisted the caps tight. He stacked them in a 'honeycomb' pattern in huge crates.
It all went at a leisurely pace at first, but when Sam's machine started stuffing up and munting all the caps so they had to be replaced, things got hectic. Bottles were piling up on our working bench left, right, and centre. I kept leaning over to take some off the machine line so they wouldn't stack up to a dangerous level around Sam, but still, we were swamped. We had to tell my manager to slow the pace. Instead he came over and fixed the cause of our woe (ie. the temperamental machine) .. after numerous attempts.
After that, we soon hit success and finished our goal of 2000+ bottles (including some freebies for staff, yay!).
It only took us six hours.
Anyway I decided to draw you a simplified model of what we looked like, here it is:
The best part about the whole day is that we were quite simply looked after like royalty. Although, yes technically we worked like slaves.
But the minute we got started, we were brought deliciously hot coffee. Then warm ham and cheese turkish bread toasties. Then scone-like bikkies with sprinkles on them.
When it came to lunchtime, Sam and I both politely declined because we were STUFFED!
So we had a late lunch instead, feasting on what is easily one of the best tasting curries I've ever had.
Anyway I wanted to just share with you what a fun time I had discovering a completely new task, and a very generous workplace.
If you're interested in doing such work, just approach your local winery and ask them when they start their bottling production. Let them know you're interested in being hired to help. They can probably just hire you for the occasion alone.
*A clue-in for newcomers: I'm a waitress at The Berry Farm, which does all its own amazing jams and fruity wines, as well as morning tea and lunches everyday. Gorgeous property, funny and laid-back managers and staff. My very first day was last Saturday. =]