From Oregon to Minnesota, CAEP intern Jonty Shearer has truly made the most of his CAEP experience. Jonty has had the opportunity to train not only in one field of study, but two all while finding the time to explore what life is like in the United States along the way. Read what CAEP intern Jonty Shearer had to say about his unique CAEP experience!
I did an oenology internship at Omero Cellars in Oregon and am currently part of the brewery program interning at Union Pizza and Brewing Company in Fergus Falls, Minnesota,” Monty shared. In Oregon, my host was Omero Cellars and the head winemaker is Chad Stock. Chad has his own label called Minimus Wines. Both Omero and Minimus focus on expressing true varietal character and sense of place in the wines through minimum intervention winemaking practices. All fermentations are indigenous and apart from a small amount of sulfur before bottling as there are no chemical additions to the wine. So there is minimal intervention in terms of additions, but still a high level of attention and monitoring needed to each small fermentation vessel.
With my host in Oregon, I went to quite a few wine tastings and a few restaurants in Portland. It was my first time working at a winery that didn’t add any yeast or other additives to the wine, so I found everything that I learned very interesting and cool. When you make wine in this manner, there is a lot more thinking and problem solving which was exciting to be a part of. In Minnesota, my host is Ben Schierer of Union Pizza and Brewing Company. He founded the company with his wife Tessa in early 2015. There is a small 3-barrel brew system that is used to make beers that are sold at the brewpub. At the moment, we have five beers on tap: An American Pale Ale, an IPA, Porter, Lager, and Wheat Ale.
At Union, I spent Christmas Eve with my host and his family, which was nice, as I had just arrived into town, and was away from my own family at Christmas time. We also plan on going to the Twin Cities to see a Minnesota Twins baseball game. I have learned lot training at the brewery such as running a brewery/pizzeria, which is cool because I’m also passionate about cooking and food. Ben runs the business with a very hands-on approach, which is something that I think is important and leads to better work ethic and respect from employees.
My favorite experience in the United States was when a friend and I went on a road trip. When I finished my internship, I drove along the coastal highway from Portland, Oregon to Napa, California. I met with a friend in Napa who joined me for the remainder of the trip. We continued down the coast for a few days spending time into San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and LA. We then headed inland to Joshua Tree National Park. From there we went to the Grand Canyon spending time in Jerome and Sedona, Arizona on the way. After seeing the Grand Canyon, we spent a few nights in Las Vegas before heading back to California. I then drove up to Minnesota. I was able to see a lot of America during this time as I spent about a month on the road!
Leaving your home country and being away from friends and family for an extended period of time is difficult, but the experience, friends, and connections you make along the way are worth it. Although America is one country, it is hard to sum up the culture as one. Through traveling, I got to see that each state is unique in its own way. Accents slightly change, the way people are, the energy of each city was always different. There are also similarities throughout but I thought it was cool to see how different each state was. I really enjoyed my stay in America thus far. I had the privilege of visiting quite a few states and although they are all different, I always felt safe and welcome. As a whole, the people are really friendly. The happiest moment of my entire experience was the coastal drive I did on Highway 101 from Portland down to Napa. It is one of the most beautiful roads I have ever been on. I took a slow three days to drive down to California but each day I was on the 101, I was in awe.
I have personally benefited from the CAEP program. It has allowed me to spend time in another country, learn more about what I’m passionate about, and gain the cultural experience of living in another country and away from home.
I have enjoyed the experience as a whole. I am still busy with the brewery program, have worked a harvest in Oregon, and seen a lot of America!