I've been to dozens of wine festivals over the years, but never actually worked at one. So, when the opportunity to volunteer at the Breaux Vineyards Key West Festival came up I jumped at the opportunity.
I arrived at the winery about an hour before the festival was scheduled to start. I was handed my volunteer accessories (name tag and lei) and then we conducted a tasting, this gave the volunteers the opportunity to try all the wines we would be pouring and learn a little about them.
Next we split up into groups. I was slated to be a pourer (I was hoping for bouncer, but apparently, I was too eager ;)) so I went over to the hospitality tent and set up my workstation.
They had a pretty impressive back-end set up with actual Breaux employees handling wine sales and restocking. It worked a lot like a diner, after the tastings festival goers would tell me what bottles they wanted, I wrote it down on an order form, took their form of payment, called out the order, and placed the order with the payment on a clothesline set up near the register. This was surprisingly efficient, even during the busiest times.
Once the festival gates opened at 11:00, we started pouring for people. It was slow at first but the crowds increased as the afternoon progressed. Tasters ranged from old hands at Virginia wines, newbies, couples on their first dates, bridal parties, birthday celebrations, and they were all a lot of fun. Even when we got swamped and had people two or three deep.
When I was in high school and college I had a series of retail and waiting jobs which required me to be on my feet all day. That was a long time ago as evidenced by how sore my feet were at the end of the day. 8 hours on my feet with a 30 minute lunch break and a 15 minute second break makes for a surprisingly long day, but completely enjoyable!