Crushed at CRUSH 2012

Welcome to Terroirist Tuesday. Today’s Topic: Woodinville, WA. –  CRUSH 2012

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Images: L.M. Archer, binNotes©

Note to self while attending Woodinville CRUSH 2012: Crush is noun, verb, AND state of mind.

If you’re a Woodinville winemaker, Crush means trekking back and forth across mountain passes to check on Columbia Valley AVA fruit, haggling with growers about hang-times, and running labs to determine brix (sugar) levels. It also means networking and negotiating with fellow winegrowers about trucking the fruit from Eastern Washington to Woodinville winery warehouses.

If you’re winery staff or a volunteer, Crush means unloading fruit once it arrives – ton of it – as well as de-stemming, sorting, crushing, fermenting, and man-handling barrels. To Woodinville wine folks in general, Crush means participating in a well-honed, fairly drama-free system built upon strong relationships, mutual respect, and exhaustion.

If Crush is a team sport, then the fruit fly serves as mascot. To fruit flies, Crush means an endless all-you-can-drink buffet of stainless steel, double-hulled plastic, and fiberglass vats of fermenting fruit. Fruit fly control methods run the gamut from tarps to sheets to cups of wine on vat corners to entice and drown the little suckers.

Fermentation protocols vary as well. Some winemakers take a more ‘by the book’ or scientific approach, using commercial yeasts and traditional fermentation processes. Other winemakers opt for an ‘off the hook’ i.e., artistic approach, preferring natural yeasts and unconventional varietal co-fermentation.

The complex array of varietals delivered adds to the Crush State of Mind. Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah – each varietal demands a different level of care and nurturing during fermentation before extracting and barreling.

The brief window of opportunity to pick, ship, and handle the fruit at optimum conditions means intense, long, sleep-deprived days. Remarkable, considering the upbeat attitude of the winemakers and staff ushering binNotes around this past week.

Thanks to Woodinville Wine Country and Wine PR Maven Katie Sims for coordinating this press event, and to hosting cast and crew:

DeLille Cellars
17621 128th PL NE, Woodinville, WA 98072
Jason Gorski, Assistant Winemaker
Melissa Kennedy, Customer Relations/Volunteer Coordinator

Brian Carter Cellars
14030 NE 145th St., Woodinville, WA 98072
Mike Stevens, Managing Partner
Brian Carter, Winemaker

Sparkman Cellars
19501 144th Ave. NE, #E-400 Woodinville, WA 98072
Linn Scott, Assistant Winemaker

Covington Cellars
18580 142nd Ave NE, Woodinville, WA 98072
Dave and Cindy Lawson, Proprietors
Morgan Lee, Winemaker
Dinner at Covington Cellars: Julie Bergstrom, in-house chef


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