PASSPORT WINE TOUR – B.Y.O.G. (Bring Your Own Glass)!

The six artisan wineries of the North Olympic Peninsula invite you to enjoy award-winning handcrafted wines superbly paired with fresh Olympic Coastal Cuisine during the annual Passport Wine Tour, November 14-15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. New this year – bring your own glass! It’s a fun opportunity to show off the most unique wine glass in your collection. Tickets for the self-guided tour
are $25.00 and entitle holders to a label collection Passport, complimentary wine tastings and samples of local cuisine at each winery.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will highlight what each individual winery has in store for Passport Weekend. Today’s post features Port Angeles’ Olympic Cellars Winery.

On Saturday, Nov. 14 guests will enjoy Olympic Cellars’ new white wine release: La Galopine, 2008 Roussanne and Viognier blend from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, paired with fresh oysters from the South Puget Sound, Hood Canal and Discovery Bay, on the winery’s “heated” patio. Featured shellfish farms include Little Skookum Shellfish Growers (Little Skookum extra small and small Pacific
oysters); Hama Hama Oyster Company (Hood Canal extra small and small Hama Hama Pacific oysters); Taylor Shellfish Company (Totten Inlet Kumamoto oysters); and Port Discovery Sea Farms (Snow Creek extra small and small oysters). The oysters will be served both on the half-shell and grilled from
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A complete selection of wines will be available in the tasting

Clam Chowder (Grandfather Bishop’s family clam chowder recipe made with Little Skookum Shellfish Growers’ sustainably farmed Manila clams will be available on Sunday, November 15.

Bell Street Bakery breads made with local, organic grain will be served with spreads made from humus and local organic root vegetables all weekend.

Holiday Wine Release: Cranberry Jubilee

Additional wine specials will be featured to compliment the holiday table, parties and of course to give as gifts.

The life of wine

The life of wine is a long traveled road before it arrives at your table.  This post will take about two legs of the journed: Vineyard selection and Primary Fermentation.

Vineyard selection: The final taste of a wine starts in the vineyard, where the soil delivers nutrients and minerals to the vines, giving each vineyard a unique and distinguishable flavor from year to year.  During the spring to early fall growing season, the sun’s warmth and light allows grapes to go from a sour green state of high acid, low sugar to a very ripe state of lower acid and higher sugar.  Drier, sunnier climates (like Eastern Washington) and vineyard locations (ie: the South side of a hill) tend to produce sweeter fruit than fruit planted in cooler, more humid climates (ie: grapes planted on the North side of a hill).  The grape’s sugar and acid content is critical to both how much alcohol the wine will have after fermentation, and how dry the wine will be after fermentation.  Winemakers look for a subjective balance bertween sugar and acid when deciding when to pick.

Primary Fermentation:  Wine grapes are run through a machine that removes the stem and lightly crushes them.  The remaining juicy flesh, seeds and skins is call the “must”.  If a white wine or a rose’ is being made, the must is then pressed within the first 24 hours (depending on the winemaker’s style) to separate the juice from the skins and seeds.  The juice is then moved to tanks, vats, barrels, etc (again, winemaker’s style).  Yeast is added to begin fermentation, converting the sugar into alcohol.  Sulfites can be added (or not) to protect from any oxidation prior to fermentation…or after, but not during.  Red wine is made like white wine, except the jujice remains in contact with the skins and seeds during the fermentation process, thus picking up color, aromas, flavor and tannins.


((Next time Malolactic fermentation, racking, maturation, filtering (or not) and bottling

Next Event

Gorgeous scenery, warm temperatures and a jovial crowd made for a great Spring Barrel Tasting Weekend. The three day event brought out the best in everyone as they toured the scenic back roads, gazed at the snow covered Olympic Mountains, and tasted both wines in progress direct from the oak barrels and some spectacular current releases.

For more great fun in Olympic Wine Country you might want to put the Sequim Lavender Festival on your calendar. All the wineries will be open for the “Celebrate Lavender Wine Tour” July 12-20, 2008. Reserve your ticket and glass combination in advance on line or purchase at the door of any participating winery.

Most of the wineries are now on their summer schedules with expanded tasting room days and hours. Come for a visit … we are looking forward to seeing you!