Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Kerry on Wheels, and the Wall

We had an all-terrain segway on property, shortly after I bought the winery, and all the employees wanted to ride it.  So, I had someone from the segway company come out and do some training courses for everyone.  Everyone took their turn with it, riding around the lawn just outside the tasting room.  Then comes Kerry, oh Kerry.  The tasting room staff suggested he take it for a spin.  “Hey, Kerry, why don’t you give it a go?”  You have to understand that our winemaker isn’t the most maneuverable guy in the world, and doesn’t have the best balance, which is a necessity for riding one of these things.  This is a device that could seriously hurt you if you’re not trained on it properly.  Kerry was not trained on it at all, much less “properly”.  He was being taunted and screamed at from all directions, and he couldn’t control the thing.  Riding it, he was like an untrained cowboy on a bucking bronco, being jerked back and forth quite violently.  What went through my head was something like, “Oh… my whole business is flashing right before my eyes.” Before too long, he rand into the wall just to the right of the main tasting room doors.  And not that far away from them.  He could have very easily gone through those doors, and that would have been it.

After the  collision hear ‘round the world, Kerry got up, white as a ghost, and thankfully walked unscathed.  But, he needed a full, full glass of wine.  One of the benefits of working at a winery, when something like this happens you have the juice to calm you down a bit.  Yes, looking back, he probably shouldn’t have been let on the segway without the training.  But, it happened how it happened, and it taught me don’t let Kerry do anything, really.  He later asked if he could take it through the vineyard, which as you may know is very uneven terrain and is quite risky to ride with a segway, even if you are trained.  I told him, “Absolutely not!” Explained that if you were to fall on one of those wired, or ram into one of those posts, you could be left headless.  This gave him a sense that, no, this was not something for him to do.

From time to time, I ride around the vineyard blocks, down the long paved stretch in between vineyard blocks and then in some of the blocks themselves (especially now at the start of harvest when the fruit tastes pretty darn good), but when no one’s around.  I don’t want anyone to be tempted, and I certainly don’t want to have the discussion with Kerry, should he ask to give it another go.  Yes, it’s was a little funny seeing the not-at-all athletic Kerry Damskey try to ride an all-terrrain segway, which requires a good amount of finesse and balance, into the wall, but it also made me realize the importance of my team’s safety and well-being.  So, just another funny memory in my time as the owner.  But a lesson as well, that my team’s safety ALWAYS comes first.

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