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Cornell Viticulture and Enology program intern Simmone Landau, in a winery in California.
Cornell Viticulture and Enology student Simmone Landau at a winery in California, where she recently interned. 

Viticulture and Enology Majors Complete Fall Internships at Locations Far and Wide

By Marin Cherry

This fall semester, Viticulture & Enology Program students had internships across the United States and abroad. Locations included the Finger Lakes, California, and as far afield as France. Two of those interns were juniors Allyson Wentworth and Simmone Landau, both of whom took a leave of absence from Cornell to focus on gaining industry experience.

Wentworth spent her fall semester at Sheldrake Point Winery in Ovid, New York, working as a vineyard/cellar intern. She was a part of both winemaking and vineyard operations. “In the vineyard, I collected petiole and berry samples, plowed land, helped with pruning, etc.,” stated Wentworth, “and in the winery I assisted with bottling and running the chemistry on wine samples.”

Landau was a recipient of the 2018 Jimmy Mancbach Memorial Scholarship, which offered the opportunity to work with a variety of winemakers in the Central Coast, California. “I was working with a lot of different winemakers with a lot of opinions,” reports Landau, “and each of them had a completely different approach to their trade that resulted in great wines.”

While interning, students experience scenarios and situations that they don’t typically encounter in Stocking Hall. One example is needing to solve mechanical issues: “I’ve really enjoyed operating the machinery and learning how to fix problems when they arise,” said Wentworth.

For Landau, some internship experiences were just completely unexpected. “I was told to jump into a fermenter to stomp grapes,” she said. “I thought they were joking, but that’s actually how they process whole cluster reds, so in I went!” Even the most fun experiences, however, could prove exhausting during a busy harvest. “It was a blast, but after 30 tons or so it loses its novelty.”

Both Landau and Wentworth found their semester internship experience invaluable, and the time spent away from Cornell’s campus completely worthwhile. As stated by Wentworth, “I know have a better idea of the work and planning that goes into running a vineyard, and the knowledge is a leg up when applying for jobs.” Landau agreed, “The experience you get is marketable, and great fun – you remember things a lot better when you can apply them!”

The choice to take a fall semester to intern also has opened doors for new opportunities after graduation. According to Wentworth, “Since I will now be graduating in December 2020, I’m looking forward to possibly completing another harvest internship in the southern hemisphere.”

Marin Cherry is undergraduate coordinator for the Cornell viticulture and enology program.