Spring in the wineries and cideries!

Spring in the wineries and cideries!

With the snow a distant memory, the daffodils blooming and the trees and vines budding, it is time to catch up with the Olympic Peninsula wine and cider makers to learn more about what is happening behind the scenes.  After the rush of harvest, stemming and crushing and pressing the grapes and apples, the wine and cider takes a more leisurely path forward through fermentation, barreling, aging and bottling.

After crush, red wine begins its fermentation process with the skins still part of the mix to give it the red color.   In red wine, fermentation causes the fruit to rise to the top  of the tank.  The wine maker has to be punch the fruit down or pump the wine over the skins during the fermentation to ensure a complete process.  White wines and ciders are pressed during crush and the sediment settles to the bottom and removed before the liquid is tanked for fermentation.  The wines and ciders are transferred to clean barrels or stainless steel vats to age after fermentation.  White wines and ciders might be bottled within a few months, whereas red wines may age in barrels or vats for 18 to 24 months.

In the wineries|cideries

Six months from the 2018 harvest and crush, fermentation of the Olympic Peninsula wines and ciders has been completed and the crafters are watching and tasting how the 2018 vintage has developed to date.  At Finnriver Farms, Head cider maker Andrew Byers gives the following rundown:

We have recently moved our bittersweet blend (estate fruit only) from fermentation tanks into whiskey barrels for final maturation to create Finnriver Fire Barrel Cider.  Multiple blends of high acid (sharps) fermentations are being combined after filtration, to begin a final stride towards Finnriver Golden Russet Cider. The 2016 Pommeau is also out of barrels and spending a few weeks with itself in a single vessel before bottling.

In the wineries, the winemakers were busy over the past month racking – moving the wine from barrels to other barrels or vats in order remove sediment.  This process happens up to three times before bottling and allows the winemaker to assess how the wine is developing, and if changes need to be made.  The wine might be moved from a new barrel to an aged barrel to help soften the tannins.  In some cases, the wine is moved from large casks to smaller barrels to allow the wine to have more contact with the oak.  The process is hard work and messy, but the results are wines that are well balanced and clear.

In the vineyards|orchards

While the Northern Olympic Peninsula isn’t home to too many vineyards, Ben Thomas, the wine maker for Port Townsend Vineyards had this to say about their 11 acres of grapes and their first vintage of wine:

We’ve had the distinct pleasure this past vintage of playing with our very own grapes that we grew right here in town. We had a nice little harvest of Siegerrebe, Madeleine Angevine, Garanoir and Golubok in 2018. The first two have made light and pretty whites, the latter two an interesting rosé and a port, respectively. None of them taste anything like any wines I’ve tried before. It’s been fun seeing how the grapes respond to neutral barrel fermenting, lees stirring and the native yeast gathered from our own vineyard. They will all be on the lower range of alcohol level, which should give them a nice role at the table, either as an aperitif or with lighter foods that many wines wouldn’t play well with. And overall they should complement our lineup well.”

In the vineyards and orchards, buds and blossoms abound.  Much of the heavy pruning work is done after the leaves are gone from the branches and buds, but the more intricate work starts as the weather begins warming.  In the vineyards, workers will thin the suckers sprouting out of the vines to provide a stronger foundation for growth as well as shaping the vines.  As the buds begin to break open, decisions will be made as to which shoots will be allowed to grow and which will be added to the compost pile.  In the orchard workers are also pruning trees to allow for the best fruit growth and harvest.  Grafting is also taking place in both vineyard and orchard to prepare replacement plants for those that age out of production or are damaged during the year.

The 2019 Wine, Cider and Cheese Tour is great time to catch up with your favorite winery or cidery and those that produce the beverages you love.  This tour is laid back with plenty of time to chat with your fellow “tourists.”  It is the perfect time to meet up with old friends as well as meet new wine lovers and discover all you have in common.  Of course ~ it is the perfect time to taste all sorts of interesting wine and cheese pairings!

Sunshine and Wine Release

Sunshine & Wine Release

June 16th-17th (Father’s Day Weekend)

In celebration of the warmer weeks ahead of us we are proud to unveil a plethora of mouthwatering and refreshing wines. Some of these tasty treats are in limited supply and won’t have the opportunity to reach the public eye for more than a quick blink. Stop by at one of our nine participating wineries over the weekend to experience a special sampling of these wines.

Don’t miss this extremely limited release of Summer Wines from Harbinger Winery’s Small Batch Research Project!

2017 Sieg-MA (a field blend of Siegerrebe and Madeleine Angevine)
This deliciously crisp and ethereal white wine was grown on the sun soaked hills of Palo Alto Road in Sequim, WA and exhibits tropical aromas of guava and crisp, zesty white grapefruit characteristics on the palate. Only 45 cases produced. $22/bottle

2016 Roussanne
All stainless fermented and aged, this wine exhibits a nice balance of acidity, elegance and aromatic complexity. The bouquet opens with the fragrance of fresh cut flowers, starfruit and sweet spice. While it carries weight on the palate, the acidity keenly checks any wayward coyness and the wine finishes extremely crisp. 40 cases produced. $19.99/bottle

2017 Pinot Gris
Just released in time for warm summer days, the 2017 Pinot Gris is sure to wake up any sleepy palate with its bright fruit and crisp acidity. There’s a truism about food pairings with this grape that goes like this: “Pinot Gris and things from the sea.” Enter the bounty from the Salish Sea
(that’s our backyards folks): dungeness crab, halibut, salmon, shellfish….enjoy this limited wine with good friends and enjoy it often as it won’t last. 90 Cases produced. $19.99/bottle

2017 La Vie en Rose’
This roguish Rhone blend consists of mostly Grenache’ and Roussanne with a splash of Viognier, and is hands down a staff favorite. It has seen a bit of barrel aging which adds a caramelized flavor to all that strawberry and cherry notes zipping around. This year’s blend has a clean and light personality that makes it a versatile playmate for many different personalities and events (grilled salmon, pizza, any cheese you can name, or after- work decompression
elixir…you get the picture). $19.99/bottle

2015 Grenache
This wine packs a summery punch with the truckloads of wild strawberry, plum and layers of toasted sweet spice yet remains mysteriously light and refreshing on the palate. It is the perfect summer red. This is a first ever Grenache to be bottled at Harbinger and we have a feeling it will also win the hearts of both staff and public. 65 Cases Produced. $40/bottle

Raspberry Bliss

While we usually make a limited supply of this wine each year, we experienced a nationwide shortage of Raspberries in 2017. So we only have about 60 cases to last until the 2018 berries are harvested, transformed into wine, aged, bottled and releases. In other words once this is gone we will be in a Raspberry drought until the summer of 2019…gasp! If this is a favorite of yours, stocking up might be in order. $22/bottle

Wind Rose Cellars is excited to release five new wines:

2017 Pinot Grigio deliciously balanced rich and with more body than your typical Pinot Grigio. Great with shellfish and white fish.

2017 Rosato, dry rosé. Layers of flavor and acidity make this on of our best rosés. Great with just about any food pairing.We have also released a new label for us: Barrel select. These three wines were a very limited bottling. We only produced one barrel of each of the below wines: 25 cases of each.

2016 Carménère very rare varietal for Washington.The palate has hints of spice, licorice, cocoa and savory herbs. The wine has a finish of mocha, raspberry and black tea. Pairs nicely with herbed meats, grilled tuna and goat cheeses.

2016 Cab Franc On the palate, Bing Cherry, raspberry and vanilla are supported by smooth tannins. Plum, black tea and hints of walnuts give a lingering finish. Pairs nicely with soft cheeses, pork and poultry.

2016 Petit Verdot On the palate, the wine has bold fruit flavors of black berry, dark plum and currant. The wine has a finish of dark chocolate and ganache. Pairs nicely with lamb dishes, BBQ, and aged cheeses.

FairWinds Winery offers a “no tasting fee” weekend–no tasting fee for anyone!  In addition, we are releasing our first blush of the summer– a little sweet, a little tangy.  We are also closing our our Chardonnay line @ $12 a bottle or $120 a case.  Did i mention no tasting fee?

This month, Camaraderie is releasing two great summer wines:  2017 Pinot Gris and 2017 Rugosa Rose.  Also new this month is our 2014 Malbec and 2015 Dolcetto—wines that will pair well with summer picnics and BBQs.


Join us this weekend for a special summer release of Finnriver‘s beloved Lavender Black Currant Botanical Cider featuring organic Washington apples, organic black currant juice and locally grown organic lavender from Wilderbee Farm, Jardin du Soleil Lavender and Purple Haze Lavender. We will also be serving locals bratwurst, summer salads, wood-fired pizza, vegan ice-cream and more! Now open EVERYDAY from 12-9pm! Get your updates here: www.finnriver.com/music.


Stop by Olympic Cellars for these beauties:

Rose’ The Riveter, 2017                                                    $14.99 / Wine Club Price $11.99

Dark pink color. Fresh tasting.  Flavorful, fruity and slightly sweet, this version of Rosie tastes of fresh strawberries. A delicious Syrah Rose’. Rosie’s ‘can do’ attitude shines through in this wine.

Cranberry Jubilee                                                             $19.99 / Wine Club Price $15.99

Bottled in limited quantities, this blend of Cranberry and Chardonnay and Riesling is medium-bodied with a fruit-filled Cranberry finish.  Tart, crisp and just a little bit sweet.  Enjoy on the  patio with a fruit and cheese plate.

Barn Nouveau Red                                                           $16.99 / Wine Club Price $13.59

A unique lighter style red blend of Touriga (50%), Souzao (25%), and Merlot (25%). This wine will pair beautifully with your summertime meals.  It tastes of berries and smoke with a lovely touch of vanilla on the finish.

Port Townsend VineyardsJoin us out at Port Townsend Vineyards this weekend as we celebrate dads, grads, and our One Year Anniversary! On Friday, June 15th, from 5p-8p, we’re having our One Year Anniversary Party with live music, lawn games, wine raffle, and food from Hama Hama Oysters and Barbarian Burgers. Free and all-ages!
We’re excited to be pouring some of our summer favorites in our tasting room, open daily at noon, til 7 Su-Th, and til 8p Fri-Sat. We’re offering tastings, flights, glasses, carafes, and bottles of our current wines: Discovery White blend, Discovery Rosé, Discovery Red blend, Chardonnay, Reserve Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.