Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wining at Tucannon Cellars

Just had to share some of our wining experiences with you...

Fall at Tucannon Cellars
When we planned our holiday in the USA, we never even thought we would be working - hah!
Ready to fill
But we arrived just in time for the big Grape Harvest.

Krystina and Kohner picking
Phil and Danette purchased a winery in the Red Mountain area near Benton City last year - Tucannon Cellars.

Hard day of picking

It is a beautiful location and they make wonderful wines - we sampled every one...
Doug - lots of hours picking

And, the whole family got involved in the process.  We learned a lot!

So tasty right off the vine
It starts with the grapes - of course.  Lots of choices:

Beautiful Mouvedre' grapes
  • grow your own grapes
  • pick other peoples grapes
  • buy picked grapes
  • just buy the Juice

Ethen cooling off a batch

Buying the Juice is definitely the easiest from our perspective - hah.

Lisa, Ken, and Ryan filling the buckets

But more expensive and you lose some quality control.
Feeding the Crusher

Once you get the grapes picked, you fill the buckets and pour then into the Crusher.
Crusher ready for the next batch

The Crusher removes the stems and breaks the grapes - keep your fingers out of the way!
Phil - Forklift Man

The bins of grapes are moved into cool storage.

Now the Winemakers, Phil and Ethen, can work their magic!
Lisa working the dry ice

When the grapes have "brewed" for awhile, they are ready to be Pressed.
The Family at work

Grab the buckets again and scoop the grapes up and load them into the Press.
Ken and Eric loading up the Press

A very simple piece of equipment that came all the way from Italy.
Phil and Ethen getting Purple

It just squishes and squishes all of the wonderful juice out of the grapes.
Lisa getting all of the juice

The juice tastes so good!
Ness and Phil filling the barrels

Grab your buckets again - it is time to fill up the barrels and tanks.
Danette filling up the barrels

Ethen filling up the Press
Yes, buckets are a key piece of equipment at a winery!

The white grapes are placed in stainless steel tanks and kept very very cold.
Bexs having a wine attack

The white wines will be ready in about 4 months.
Filled with lots of red wine

You have to be patient to taste the red wine though.

Working hard - hah!
It has to be stored in the barrels for 3 years before bottling.
Pizza for the workers - yeah!

But, it will be worth the wait - promise!
Steve and Bexs are done

We handled all kinds of grapes and juice:

Carmenere, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer.

Ken gone Grape Crazy
Per the Winemakers, we put up almost 6000 gallons of wine, 50 tons of grapes, and 70 barrels during our short visit.

Lisa and Ness filling barrels
Of course, that doesn't include all the wine we drank - hah!
Serious work, Eric!
It was a very interesting experience.

Plus, we got to spend lots and lots of quality time with the family.

Who knew you could have so much fun while you worked?
Bucket Brigade

Looking forward to visiting Tucannon Cellars and tasting the new batch next time we are back in Washington!

The Juice!

More and more crushing, Ken!

Wine bubbling away
Moving barrels around

Reisling is almost ready

The Grape Stomp!

Phil and Ethen crushing away

Cooling down the grapes

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Road trip to Leavenworth!

What a beautiful time to be in the Pacific Northwest - fall!

Mountain view around Leavenworth

Bright blue skies, rivers flowing, colorful trees and all of the apples and grapes are ready for picking!
Traveling along the big Columbia River
And the rivers are flowing and full of salmon coming up to spawn.

We are surrounded by the Columbia, Yakima, Snake, and the Wenatchee.  Amazing.

Perfect time for a road trip to Leavenworth! 
Monument along the Columbia
We decided to take the back roads and found this great monument in George, WA. "Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies Monument".  Pretty cool.

Gotta pose
Leavenworth is small Bavarian style village right in the middle of Washington.

Bavarian Lodge - great place!
It made us think we were back in Germany - except everyone spoke English!

Looks like Germany!

They are famous for the Christmas festivals and Octoberfest - which we just missed - oh well.
Danette and Phil relaxing in Leavenworth

We were only there one night, but we had a great time.
George and Pam - what sweet friends!

We stayed at the Bavarian Lodge, right downtown.

Love the painted buildings
Very nice place with great beds, plus walking distance to everything. Perfect.

Beautiful Danette and Pam
We spent the day (and night) strolling around the restaurants, shops, and bars of course.

Busy day!
Morning stroll along the Wenatchee

We didn't buy much, but it was fun to check out all of the cute shops and eat some German sausages.
The Band warming up

But, one night was enough.

Unless you just want to sit back and relax and enjoy the view - which is just fine!
What a view

We enjoyed a very brisk (cold) walk down to see the Wenatchee River - what a pretty view.

And then started our road trip back - back roads again - of course.
The Brick Saloon

First stop - the Brick Saloon in Roslyn - established in 1889.

Washington's oldest operating saloon - too bad it was closed!
Cool old General Store

Rosyln is where the TV show Northern Exposure was filmed.

Art in Roslyn
It looked very familiar!

We also checked out the Swiftwater Cellars Winery at Suncadia Resort - it was closed.

And the Bale Breaker Taproom in Moxee - it was closed too - oh well!
Hops, Hops, and more Hops!

But, it was a wonderful drive thru the Yakima Valley.

Which contains approximately 75 percent of the total United States hop acreage. Good to know!
Traveling along the Yakima River

We finished our road trip along the Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway.

The colors of fall
Lovely drive along the Yakima River, which is popular for fly fishing.

Lots of guys floating along the shallows with their fishing poles.
Glad the Sno-Cat wasn't needed

It really was a wonderful weekend with friends and family.

So happy that we got to experience it all!
Strolling around Leavenworth

Totem in Roslyn