Lifestyle

Need Some Help in the Texas Hill Country? Will Work For Wine

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Winemaking in the Texas Hill Country is a very hands-on affair, and many of those hands are volunteers. Wedding Oak Winery in San Saba is one which relies on volunteers for some of the packaging processes. Winery volunteers are rewarded for their efforts with laughter, new friends, and this beautiful bottle of wine.

1. Volunteers Filling and Labeling Boxes

Wedding Oak Winery Volunteers

Photo: Robert C Deming

Volunteers work two to four-hour shifts bring case boxes of empty bottles to a mobile bottling line, then load them onto the conveyor belt. After filling and capping, which is supervised by professionals, the bottles are put into the empty case boxes which are then labeled, date stamped, and sealed with tape.  Some of these volunteers are first timers, others are veterans, and they are all having fun,

2. Empty Bottles Going Into Filler

Wedding Oak Wine bottles going into the filler

Photo: Robert C Deming

Placing bottles onto the conveyor belt requires some physical exertion, and may not be for everyone – you may not feel the first box, but you will the lasts.  The line operator and assistant winemaker watch and adjust the filling machine, volunteers do non-technical tasks.

3. Putting Full Bottles In Case Boxes

Wedding Oak Winery Volunteer

Photo: Robert C Deming

This position takes two volunteers to keep up with the steady stream of bottles coming at them and placing filled bottles into empty case boxes one at a time.

4. Winemakers Love Forklifts

Wedding Oak Winemaker Penny

Photo: Robert C Deming

Without a forklift, making wine would be much harder. This is Penny Adams, Texas’ longest-serving female winemaker and enology educator. The winery has a location at Wildseed Farms east of Fredericksburg, and she can be found there sometimes, too.

5. Aggies are everywhere in the wine business

Wedding Oak Winery Seth and Penny

Photo: Robert C Deming

Assistant winemaker Seth Urbanek and  senior winemaker Penny Adams, both graduates of Texas A&M, discuss the bottling operation in progress.  Seth is new with the company; he served two tours in the Middle East as an Army officer, then completed a MS in Enology at Cornell before moving back to Texas. The winery’s tasting room is in a historic building at the heart of downtown San Saba.  At the other end of the block is the Old Scary Man Winery tasting room, making San Saba a great destination for wine lovers.

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