5 Things I've Learned as a Winery Housekeeper

When I moved to the Willamette Valley, I had dreams of grass seed and wine grapes, but I never anticipated what I'd learn when I became a winery housekeeper.

1. Cleaning with bleach is a sin

I had no idea that the smallest hint of bleach could shut down an entire winery operation until I, in fact, worked as a housekeeper at a world-renowned winery. We do not clean with the stuff. Nope, not even the floors, not even the sheets. Using bleach near equipment can lead to cork taint. Cork taint is only found after bottling and sometimes aging, but it is very bad news if you're a winemaker.

2. You can accomplish anything when you work from left to right

You've probably heard it before, but cleaning left to right, top to bottom, is a sure way to get the job done efficiently. This single tip I've been taught in my current position has not only helped me do well at the winery but in my everyday life. Especially when I'm cleaning in our own home (aka our Heartland Trailrunner) I find that focusing on one section and moving methodically through the cleaning works wonders. While this tip is most commonly used for cleaning, I imagine it can also be applied to other tasks you're working on in your day to day life.

3. Gap jobs have a valuable place

Although I've [mostly] enjoyed being part of the housekeeping team, it's not what I want to do forever. I've come to realize many of the individuals who are in part-time positions at the winery are also utilizing this experience as either a way to move into the wine industry or as a temporary stop along their journey. There is nothing wrong with making ends meet and learning a little bit of something new along the way.
Tyler and I at Domaine Serene.

4.  I do like red wines

It's a strange privilege to work at a winery with top-notch pinot noir. My college tastes of sweet reds and Moscato have quickly disappeared. I still have a lot to learn about wines, but I know what I'm looking for in my pinot; smooth finish, barrel-aged, beautiful in color. I still love a good chardonnay or other variety of white wine, but I will now always have a special place in my palette for a good red.

5. It is possible to fold a fitted sheet

It is possible, yet I will likely never be able to do it. It's all about the corners becoming squares, people. Make it happen.

As I come upon my six month anniversary in this role, I'm both excited for what I will learn next, as well as what will come next. Cheers to the wine industry and learning new things!


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