Overmountain Vineyard hires first intern

Published 10:00 pm Monday, June 16, 2014

Overmountain Vineyards and Winery is excited to announce its first official intern to their growing business in the Tryon Foothills of Polk County.

Rising junior and Polk County resident Natalie Gallagher, who attends Furman University in Greenville, S.C. will now be working closely with Overmountain’s owner and winemaker, Frank Lilly throughout the summer months.

Natalie, a Biology major, has lived in Tryon for the past 12 years. She enjoys foxhunting with the Tryon Hounds and riding on local trail systems. The beauty that nature offers to inspire happiness and adventure is what inspires this bright young lady.  Although unsure of where her future will lead, Gallagher has interests in medicine and other biological fields.

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It was while taking Applied Plant Science with Dr. Laura Thompson that Gallagher and Frank Lilly first met.

Furman University has been bringing their students to Overmountain Vineyards over the past three years as part of their course in order to explore how science is applied in the vineyards.

Soon after, Gallagher became interested in volunteering to learn more about enology, the study of wine and wine making.

She said she is excited to learn more about wine making throughout the summer in the vineyards, the winery and by reading up on the intricate processes involved.

She successfully interviewed for the position that four others were turned away for from other universities throughout the U.S., a testament to Furman University’s reputation.

In the south during recent years, Furman University graduates have earned more Ph.D. degrees than those from any other southern private liberal arts college, according to a survey conducted by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center.

In speaking with Frank Lilly about Gallagher’s responsibilities, he said, “It’s all about the scientific data; today, she ran ph of each wine. This is one of the number one analysis that is done in the winery. Future weeks will include learning modern enology practices in the lab which include more ph measurements, total acidity measurements, brix, free and molecular sulpher dioxide measurements, all key components to the art of winemaking.”

Anyone knowing Frank Lilly’s mantra knows the saying, “Great wine is not made in the winery but rather in the vineyard.”

For that reason, half of Gallagher’s time will be spent with the grapes learning modern vineyard techniques.

Overmountain Vineyards is one of four wineries in Polk County that is currently operational with a fifth opening this summer. Polk County has a rich viticultural history, which dates back to the late1800s.

Currently, there are more than 20 vineyards in our county with more interest each year as our agricultural heritage attracts people to our area from all over the world.

For more information on Overmountain Vineyards, visit www.overmountainvineyards.com or on Facebook.

– article submitted 

by Mindy Wiener