Grape Harvest

Michelle, Ella and I spent the weekend in Yakima with family. This time of year, several of our family members are busy with one kind of harvest or another. My father-in-law is busy with hops (another post, I promise) and my aunt and uncle are busy with grape harvest. On our way out of town, we stopped in at Windy Point to see how the grapes turned out, and to pick up some wine for ourselves.

Pinot Noir grapes

The tasting room was quiet, being only ten in the morning on a Sunday, so we did our shopping then headed down to the winery to see what was fermenting. We saw the winery’s first batch of Pinot grapes happily on their way. It was not only the first batch year they had made a pinot noir, it was their first harvest of grapes they’d planted a few years back. If the other wines are any indication, the pinot should be excellent.

I love looking at oak barrels. It doesn’t really matter what is aging in them, the stamped logo of the cooper, the twisting and darting of the grain in the slats, and the stains of the barrel’s contents around the bung. Apparently my ancestors were coopers, which might explain the fascination, but it might just be the wood too. Or the promise of some delicious pay off. I should really try and snag a used barrel once they’re done with it and age some beer in it. Five gallons would disappear into a barrel though, so maybe it would be more effective to take shavings from a barrel instead.

Shoveling merlot grapes

Just outside the winery, bins of merlot grapes were stacking up. Today was merlot day, and we stuck around to see them fire up the de-stemming and crushing machine. My brain thinks of each step as it pertains to brewing, so I’m consistency surprised how much more simple the wine making itself is. The machine was happily de-stemming and crushing the sweet little fruit, Aunt Liz occasionally turning a wheel to adjust how much of the fruit was left on the stem. I helped shovel the fruit pulp around to make sure there was an even layer in the fermenter. Tiny grapes are quite heavy, so we made some excuse to go home. “Well, we’ve got a long drive ahead of us…”

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