Last year in the middle of an extended harvest (which I pretty much had to handle on my own due to Andy’s sudden and suspicious business travel schedule), I hit on an idea that would help me out and reform problem children. I called it Wine Camp. Only half jokingly, I suggested here that parents of problem children drop them off with me. I’d put them to work, keep them out of trouble and teach them the value of an honest day’s work (and in the vineyards, an honest day’s work doesn’t pay much!)

With the recent visit of two twelve year olds, I’m revisiting the idea. Not that these girls are delinquents or in any need of reform. But you forget how enthusiastic kids can be for things that we adults view as chores. And how easy it is to bribe them with something as simple as an ATV ride.

Its amazing how fun you can make bottle-washing sound to a twelve year old. Throw in the possibility of an ATV ride and youve gotem.

It’s amazing how fun you can make bottle-washing sound to a twelve year old. Throw in the possibility of an ATV ride and you’ve got’em.

Well have to have a talk about the footwear. These wont hold up when shes knee deep in grapes.

We’ll have to have a talk about the footwear. These won’t hold up when she’s knee deep in grapes or sulfite solution.

You may not realize it, but you already know a lot about wine making. As about 90% of it seems to be cleaning things, moving things and cleaning things again. But these young girls seemed remarkably keen to do a horrible job like cleaning bottles. At least the way I described it to them. Just think girls, you can wear bathing suits and spray water with hoses. The additional bribe? A night at our tent cabin. They bought it. And really it’s not as if it’s a migrant labor camp or anything. It’s only a few steps to the outdoor toilet and shower. Luxury really.

In the meantime, read up on Wine Camp. I’m getting my work crews organized for the upcoming harvest. This could be great opportunity for your kid. Washing bottles. Hmmm. Wasn’t Charles Dickens put to work at twelve doing just that? Look what it did for him. Positively character building. Think about it.

Just look at that smile. I tell ya, these kids will probably work for free. Just for the fun of it. Now theres an idea.

Just look at that smile. I tell ya, these kids will probably work for free. Just for the fun of it. Now there’s an idea.

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