Celebrate the harvest at CRUSH

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Fall is a busy and exciting time in the winemaking industry, and to celebrate the upcoming harvest, 10 of the top artisan production wineries in Woodinville are holding a special event.

During “CRUSH,” visitors will receive a true behind-the-scenes experience of the activities that happen during this all-important season.

Participating wineries, which include Brian Carter Cellars, Convergence Zone Cellars, Davenport Cellars, DiStefano Winery, Elevation Cellars, Hollywood Hill Vineyards, Michael Florentino Cellars, Page Cellars, Patterson Cellars and William Church Winery, will offer brief presentations on different aspects of production, along with wine tastings and paired appetizers.

Over at Brian Carter Cellars, for example, the focus will be on the harvest, and at Hollywood Hill Vineyards, the topic will be vineyard assessment

At Convergence Zone, owner Scott Greenberg plans to delve into white wine fermentation in particular, a process he notes that differs markedly from that of red wine.

“We’re going to have white grapes coming in by then,” he says, “and they will all be at different stages of fermentation. Folks will get to taste our Pinot Gris right out of the tanks.”

To present the red wine side of the business, Mark Newton and his crew will be giving an overview of the fermentation process involved in producing DiStefano’s famed reds.  Davenport Cellars’ owner and winemaker, Jeff Jirka, is going to zero in on the subject of yeast for his presentation. Visitors will be able to see what the yeast looks like during fermentation via a microscope.

“This whole process is a bit magical,” comments Jirka. “I want to make it more real for people and give them a firsthand experience in the cellar.”

Lab work will be the name of the game at Michael Florentino Cellars and pressing will be the topic over at Elevation Cellars, which has its own state-of-the-art press.

“This process is crucial, but it’s very slow and tedious,” explains owner Mary Fazendin. “Pressing the juice out of the grape skins will start to release the tannins. You need to really control this and the only way to do it is very slowly and methodically.”

Visitors to Patterson Cellars will learn about the rosé making procedure and they will see the crushing process in action with the winery’s large crush pad.

“We do community crushing for 20 plus wineries,” says owner and winemaker John Patterson. “It’s a huge crush pad and I think people will enjoy watching how it’s done.”

Those interested in learning about flavor and color will want to head to William Church Winery and if you’ve ever yearned to understand how that buttery flavor is put into white wines, make your way to Page Cellars to hear a talk on “malolactic fermentation.”

Participating wineries for “CRUSH” are looking forward to giving visitors an understanding of what goes on behind closed doors during this very crucial time period in the winemaking business.

“We are all artisan production wineries,” notes Scott Greenberg. “This means we are small production wineries and we’re all very hands-on. We don’t do things by a formula.”

Greenberg adds that the idea behind the event is to connect wine aficionados with the wine making process.

He says, “It’s about educating people and giving them the opportunity to learn more about the wine they drink and buy. When people understand what goes into the bottle, their appreciation and enjoyment of wine increases.”

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