Summer is over – I’m “crushed”- and so are most of the grapes in the Chelan Valley.
This is a busy time of year for all of the wineries and winemakers. Opportunities abound for those interested in experiencing winemaking procedures. Each winery offers a little something different during the Crush event--check with the Chamber, or the local wineries for information on these events.
Benson (www.bensonwinery.com) sets out different varieties of grapes to try right off the vine. It’s really interesting to get a sense of each grape flavor, then go inside to taste the wines made from each variety.
Lake Chelan Winery (www.lakechelanwinery.com) allows willing visitors the chance to stomp grapes right in the barrel for a kind of “Lucille Ball” experience.
Other wineries allow you to watch the grapes crush as they pass through the press, and maybe even taste the raw juice. If you have never tasted wine before it is fermented and fully matured you don’t want to miss out – it is the best “grape juice” ever! Many wineries engage their Wine Club Members to help with crush. I have had that opportunity on a couple of occasions, and found it not only thoroughly enjoyable but extremely informative.
Several of the wineries also offered Winemaker’s Dinners with incredible menus and wine pairings – a true delight for all of those lovers of wine and food. Check with your favorite wineries to see which events they offer.
Events like this draw more and more visitors to our beautiful valley not only for the wine but also for the enjoyment of the gorgeous scenery and the luscious fragrances that fall brings to the Chelan Valley. As Crush winds down and all of that delicious “grape juice” ferments, the wineries are preparing for the next big event – “Fall Barrel Tasting”. I for one can hardly wait to taste the fruits of their labors.