Each year, Merritt Estate Winery uses their busy summer season as an opportunity to provide an educational and professional experience for those looking for internships in the wine industry. Many of these interns have been chosen from area colleges including SUNY Fredonia and the University of Buffalo. This year, the winery has decided to expand their geographical reach as they welcome Julie-Agathe Roussey from Burgundy, France.
Over the past few years, Merritt has focused on choosing interns in the Marketing or Public Relations fields to help out with festival planning and preparation. Julie will be taking on a different aspect of life at the bustling winery. She will be spending six weeks of her summer learning how to make wine.
From fermentation and aging to bottling and labeling, Julie will take on each and every aspect in the winemaking process. She currently attends university in France and has been studying the different aspects of wine for five years now. She is proficient in the diverse tastes of wines, allowing for a better understanding of the winemaking process in the United States. Her general knowledge of how the different grape varieties taste will give her a familiarity with the assortment of wines that the winery produces on a daily basis.
Studying the process of wine making abroad is required in the program that Julie is currently enrolled in at her university. She applied to become an intern at 700 different wineries throughout the United States and Australia. While many responded to her inquiry on an informal basis, Merritt was able to offer the professional experience she was seeking. Many colleges in the United States will help in the process of finding internships for students. This is not the case in France, as Julie sought out each and every winery on her own using the internet.
While the winemaking process is unbiased in nature, Julie does have a personal favorite when it comes to the type of wine she likes to drink. She likes an aged, dry red wine which is much more commonly found in her home town of Burgundy. When asked what she misses most from home, her family is first on her mind. However, when asked what she likes most about living in the United States her answer is right to the point. “I like the weather and the people,” said Julie. “Everyone is very nice.”
Merritt Estate is located in Lake Erie Wine Country, the largest grape growing region of New York State located along the shores of Lake Erie. The grapes and wines produced by Merritt rival the quality of premium vintages throughout the world.
Post courtesy of Jessi Luke, Merritt Estate Winery