I'm happy to report I'm feeling much better!
Joel and I even ventured to the gym this morning, something which I've been unwilling and somewhat unable to participate in the past few weeks. Last week my ear infection was resolved, only to find out that I still had fluid retained in the ear, which was making irritating popping sounds and made one side of my head feel heavy. It also made me feel dizzy and somewhat off-balance.
This week, I am back to normal and high-functioning.
Yesterday I started the day by delivering my dissertation prospectus document (bound and beautiful!) to my committee. On Monday, May 10 at 9am, I will prospect the dissertation and move on to the next phase. Throughout the rest of the day, I was busy making phone calls, grading my students' last homework assignment for the semester, celebrating our research lab's hard work with a pizza party, and then more work in the afternoon. Afterward, we came back at 4pm and took the dogs to the lake behind our house for some awesome water retrieving. Trooper has grown like a tall weed, and those tall, luxuriously long legs propel him off the dock and through the water like a pro. Cosette has her work cut out for her now!
Then I cooked dinner, and Joel sat out in the front cleaning his wine bottles for his bottling this week. I'm still waiting on my wine to finish on the oak, and then I'll rack it several more times and we should be good to go.
In other news, I've started working at a local winery that I love! I work in the tasting room on the weekends, and last weekend I helped bottle a batch of wine. So much fun. One of the best things about this job is the hands-on learning. I'm pretty familiar with the wine-making process, but I'm far from an expert on the topic. This allows me to learn - very quickly - what it takes to succeed in the business. Maybe someday I'll be in a position to direct energy to my own winery.
For now, though...dissertation.
Joel was the mastermind behind all of the events you are about to see. He's a quick mastermind too; I believe he planned all this within two days. He wanted to treat me to a nice escape and congratulate me on passing prelims, so he told me to keep my weekend clear. I had no idea what he was planning.
We bought a few bottles, and moved on to Winery #2: Bommarito Estate
At this particular winery, we were able to have an extended chat with the co-vintner of the estate. She was really friendly and gave us some helpful suggestions about sweeting wines. I didn't take any pictures of the vineyard, but this was the sky above the fields (I couldn't help but blow out the sky in post-processing, the clouds were incredible looking):
Winery #3: Bias Vineyards
We stopped here and had a bite to eat as well, as Joel had packed quite the selection into the cooler: sausage, three types of cheese, apples, crackers, chocolate. There were some train tracks nearby that we had to cross over in order to leave the winery.
Winery #4: OakGlen Winery and Vineyards
This winery had an absolutely incredible view.
Winery #5: Hermannhof Vineyards
This is a winery within the heart of the town of Hermann. Their style is old world, and they even have a cheese and sausage shop attached to the tasting room. Some photos of the tasting room and their quaint wine cellars:
We traveled a short distance to Winery #6: Adam Puchta
This winery had some seriously awesome wine. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures (I think I was more enamored with the wine). Their tasting room, merchandise room, and outside seating were quaint and low-key, but their quality was amazing.
Then, we backtracked a little and went to Winery #7 (phew!): Stone Hill Winery
Stone Hill has quite the interesting history, and they give tours every half hour of their extensive cellars.
With tired feet but happy hearts, we went to our next stop: a bed and breakfast!
Winery dogs are always essential components of a winery. If I ever open a winery, I will most definitely have a few hanging around. Here's a gigantic one with a gigantic head at a local winery:
I was thoroughly impressed with his ability to wait patiently on us while we tasted. Afterward, he was rewarded with plenty of head pets and lots of love.