Pouring Wine and Feeling Fine: The Day Story of a Rocklands Wine Taster

Guest blogger: We are excited to share this guest blog from Steph Carrillo, a seasonal member of our tasting team. She recently left her corporate job in Manhattan to take a trip around the world but decided to spend a couple months decompressing at Rocklands before the big journey. If you don’t find her in the tasting room before January 2018, you can keep up with her travels on Instagram @Steph_Carrillo.

This summer I made the decision to leave my job in Manhattan to travel the world. I could go on and on about why I made this choice, but I’ll spare you the details. The short version is that I finally realized I was unhappy and the only way things were going to change was if I took action to change them. 

From Corporate Table to Farm Table

I wrote this note on my final bus ride home from New York.

I wrote this note on my final bus ride home from New York.

At the end of August, I moved back to Poolesville to live with my folks so I could spend a few months planning my year abroad. I knew I needed to find a seasonal or temporary job during this time to earn a little extra cash and add some desperately needed structure in my newly unstructured life. 

My “requirements” were basic: 

After a quick search, I discovered Rocklands Farm. A winery, close to home, on an idyllically beautiful property? It was perfect. 

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Fast-forward to now: I’ve been working at Rocklands for two months and have loved every minute of it. I had no idea this experience would have such a positive impact on my life in such a short period of time. It’s amazing what a couple of months outside of fluorescent office lights will do for you. I’m extremely grateful. 

So, What Does a Rocklands Taster Do All Day?
The core of our day is centered on you (the customer)! We spend the majority of our time pouring wine, talking about wine, and helping you taste wine. It’s a ton of fun. There are also some other operational things we do to keep the place running. Here’s a quick behind-the-scenes look at a busy Saturday at Rocklands. 

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Rocklands Tasting Team

  1. 99 percent of the people pouring your wine on the weekends have more traditional 95 jobs. Teacher, small business consultant, lobbyist, defense contractor, medical researcher, architect, and PhD candidate are just a few of the professions held by the amazing people on my team. We’re not just here for the extra cash; we all truly love wine and the community that Rocklands creates.
  2. We get to choose the days we work. Yes, that’s right! There’s no dreaded schedule that forces you to work on a day that doesn’t work for you. Before the start of each month, we fill out a Google Doodle indicating the days we’re available to work. Our fearless leader Shawn takes all of our responses, makes the schedule, and that’s it!
  3. Teaching you about wine is only one aspect of our jobs. At Rocklands, tasters are jacks-of-all-trades. Everything from restocking wine and market goods to talking about the meats and meat CSA, keeping the property clean, cleaning the bathrooms, and looking after Scout. It’s all hands on deck here.
  4. We think working on Sundays is fun. Any opened bottle of wine cannot be carried over to the next week — which means we get to enjoy the leftover inventory on Sunday nights. We debrief after a long day and enjoy a glass of wine together (never a bad way to end the weekend). Bonus: now you know your glass of Rocklands wine is always coming from a freshly opened bottle :) 
  5. We’re not somms, but we do get a lot of training. Rocklands leadership is really focused on providing the team with different opportunities to learn and grow as tasters. We have team trainings, take field trips to other vineyards, and even get opportunities to help TJ and the winemaking team with harvesting.

The Best Part About Working at Rocklands

All in all, I’d have to say the best part of working at Rocklands is the community — not only the team I get to work with, but also the people who continue to support us by visiting the winery and drinking our wine. When I started at Rocklands, I was just looking for something temporary … now I’m struggling to come to terms with the fact that I’m leaving! I feel so lucky to be a part of the Rocklands team and I look forward to being involved again upon my return to the states! 

Annick and Lason prep for a busy day!

Annick and Lason prep for a busy day!

A group from Trails & Ales stopped by and they were an absolute blast! Trails & Ales is an adventure company that connects city dwellers with the best local hikes, views, vineyards, and breweries in the DC area. Click on the image to visit their website.

A group from Trails & Ales stopped by and they were an absolute blast! Trails & Ales is an adventure company that connects city dwellers with the best local hikes, views, vineyards, and breweries in the DC area. Click on the image to visit their website.