#FOURUSA | A Day In The Life Of…

25 Jun 2014
3 min read
Sandi Vojta, Co-Founder, Director of Winemaking and Head Brewer at Prairie Berry in South Dakota, tells us about her hectic day.

Sandi Vojta has been born into an extraordinary family of winemakers and brewers. She is the fifth generation in her family to carry on the fermentation tradition.

I wake early every morning and fill my thermos with hot Matcha, then head up to the facility. I stop at the brewery first to mill the grain and start the brewing process for the beer I am making that day. Once the brewing process is started I have 60 minutes until the next brewing step is needed. I quickly hop on my mountain bike and head down to the winery cabin and shower and grab a yogurt for breakfast. It is now about 8am and my production staff have arrived at the winery so I bike up there to meet with them and go over the work order for the day and get them started. By now my hour is up and I race back down to the brewery to move on to the next step in the brewing process.

It’s 11:15am and I am late for my weekly New Product Development meeting with Jean and Holli. I quickly hop on my bike and head up to that meeting. After that meeting I have a few minutes before the next brewing step happens, so I race back up at the winery to check in with my staff.

Back down to the brewery.

My dad pulls up to the brewery and needs help with his iPhone. I finish adding hops to the brew kettle and work on his phone.

I check my own phone and emails and see one from Matt that he needs me to meet him at The Homestead (our new events center). They are having some construction layout issues and he needs me to take a look. I grab a protein bar on my way out and bike over to the Homestead to see how I can help.

I check my email before heading back to brewery and receive an email from our Fruit and Grape Procurement Associate that the amount of fruit needed for a wine we were starting that day was way below the original plan. I head back up to the winery and rework the production process of this wine based on the fruit shortfall and meet with my staff on the changes.

Back to the brewery with one of my production team in tow to do some brewing training. The Brewing process continues with knock out and grain out. Chris, our Tap Room Manager, stops in and says there is a dad visiting with his two young daughters that would love his daughters to meet an actual winemaker and brewer. Yes, of course I will stop and take the time to meet these girls. This is what it’s all about. Being a role model is one of the many things that I love about my job.

My assistant winemaker calls and our filter is not running properly. Back up to winery to troubleshoot it. A faulty sensor. I call the vendor to have them overnight install a new sensor.

It’s the end of the day so I get a final recap of the day from my staff.

Back down to the brewery to finish cleaning up and getting ready for the next brew to start in the morning.

Brewery cleaning and prep done.

Back up to the winery to do a production area walk through. Then up to my office to update the staff work order for the next day, send out emails, check voicemail, tweak the beer recipe for the morning and pull grain for the recipe.

Having to wear so many different hats and being able to shift gears constantly is very challenging. The constant change, challenge, opportunity to teach and grow my staff is what makes my job one of the best ever.

A new day begins tomorrow.