This is the time of the year that winemakers love and dread at the same time. The excitement of the harvest is here. The cool summer was offset by the hottest September in Washington history. This has us on par with last year’s late harvest, but with some lower acids. Many whites are pressed an in the stainless steel tanks fermenting, while others are still hanging a little longer and all are hoping the light rains will not have any ill effect. The earlier ripening grapes like Merlot are being harvested from the hotter regions and we slowing starting to harvest other varietals. It will be a very short harvest this year and the wineries will soon be full of grapes fermenting from wall to wall. If your local winemaker looks a little warn down, remember there is a lot on his mind. They are monitoring the weather, the fruit, the wine that is fermenting and the space they hope they have for the fruit they have on order. Even with all that is on their mind, they always appreciate those customers that are interested in the process they love.
This is the perfect time to visit the Woodinville Warehouse District and experience the harvest first hand. You can still try your favorite wines, or venture out and try something new. Many wineries will have some fresh grapes and may even allow you to try some of the fresh pressed fruit. You may even get the pleasure of trying some of the fruit that is partially fermented. The combination of alcoholic infused fruit juice that is carbonated by the fermenting yeast if a very unusually treat. It is the season we all look forward to — harvest 2011.