ISM Trip: 10/06/2017
Stop 1: Reed Gold Mine
Reed Gold Mine was the location of the first documented discovery of gold in the United States. To start the tour off, we explored the historical museum that showcased various methods and tools used throughout the gold mining process. The first stop on the tour was a creek bed where a young boy, named Conrad Reed, found a large shiny object. Over the next few years the object was used as a door stop in the family’s home and was later found to be a 17 pound gold nugget. The next step in this tour was to enter the main entrance of the mine, which had a max depth of 150 feet. Throughout the sections of the mine, our guide described how each part was significant in the process of extracting gold. A few things that stuck out to our group were the methods used to mine, the engine shaft, and the use of mercury in the panning process. Mining the gold involved a tremendous amount of manual labor for at least 2 miners. During this time, one of the miners would hold a 4 foot steel rod into a crevice of rock while the other individual would use a massive hammer to repeatedly strike this rod and slowly chip away at the rock. The importance of this step was to create a slot where they would place the dynamite to explode the area where they hope for gold to be present. The engine shaft was used at these depths to take the rock from the explosion to the surface to create more room for the miners to work. Additionally, Mercury was used in the panning process in order to separate excess sediment from the surface and push the gold towards the bottom for easier extraction. Our group ended our time at Reed’s Gold Mine with a demonstration of panning for gold and we were lucky enough to find a small flake that we were able to take with us.
Stop 2: Dennis Vineyards Tour
Our second stop on our ISM trip was at Dennis Vineyards in Albemarle, which is family owned and operated. To begin, we were able to taste various wines that Dennis Vineyards produced on-site. Every wine label was designed around a significant part of their family history. Following the tasting, our group took a tour of the production site where we saw the entire supply chain process – from the grape to the bottle. Dennis Vineyards specializes in Muscadine grapes that they grow in their vineyard – however, they import other types of fruits to craft a large array of flavorful wines. The guide showed us all of the equipment used to harvest the grapes and the numerous steps involved in production. The onsite facility is where they house the process of fermenting the grapes under certain conditions depending on the type of wine they are producing. Our group was very impressed to see that Dennis Vineyards does the entire process in-house including the bottling and labeling of their wine. Incorporating the entire supply chain process is a large initial investment, however, Dennis is able to keep their costs lower while maintaining the family owned feel that their customers love.
These tours provided our group with valuable insights into how supply chain processes are used in unique industries such as these. Developing a well mapped-out process is crucial in order to develop an end product that is cost-effective while maintaining consistent quality.