Test Your Mettle

The Rutherford winery’s “A Day in the Life” experience is a pampered version of a shift during harvest.

One of the first grower and vintner responsible for the first appellation of Napa Valley grapes, Randy Dunn, holds his harvest of cabernet grapes in Angwin. (photo by Conner Jay)

For those who think they want to be a winemaker, Round Pond Winery in Rutherford offers a taste of what it’s like before any career commitment is made.

The Rutherford winery’s “A Day in the Life” experience is a pampered version of a shift during harvest. It begins with a hearty breakfast at 9 a.m. — hours after those actually harvesting hit the vineyards — and a meeting with winemaker Muiris Griffin and vineyard manager Chris Pedemonte.

After two hours of picking and sorting grapes, participants are involved in pressing, punching down and pumping over the fruit as it makes its way toward becoming wine. There’s a bit of lab work, too.

Time in the cellar also includes barrel tasting and blending, with Griffin giving insight on what he looks for when putting together a final wine. Before lunch, there’s a tour of the winery’s estate olive mill and an in-depth look at how olive oil is produced.

The second half of the day focuses on enjoying the fruits of many labors during a sumptuous alfresco lunch served with Round Pond wines. Many of the ingredients are sourced from the winery’s organic gardens and olive mill.

The 2014 “A Day in the Life” is scheduled for Oct. 18. Reservations are required, and there is space for only 20. Contact the winery at 888-302-2575 or The cost is $200 for club members, $250 for non-members.

Editor’s Note: Travel, dining and wine tasting can be complicated right now. Use our inspirational ideas to plan ahead for your next outing, be it this week or next year. If you visit restaurants, wineries, and other businesses during the pandemic, remember to call ahead, make reservations, wear a mask and social distance.

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