Imagine seeing beautiful, deep purple grapes hanging from row after row of vines, filled with sweet, rich juice. Then imagine seeing those same grapes moments later in 4×4 white plastic bins making their way to a sorter that will separate those grapes from their stems. You can’t get any closer to wine than that unless you pull the cork and pour yourself a glass. That, my friends, is why we love visiting wineries so much.
Yesterday we took two of our friends who had never visited a winery to two of our favorite spots in the Willamette Valley. It is mid-September and wineries in this area are in the depths of harvesting grapes. They are picked by hand and then brought to the winery to sort and prepare for crushing. At both the wineries we visited, there were grapes everywhere! The owners were proud to show off their purple fingers and excited about the harvest so far. We attempted to visit a couple of other wineries that we had never tried before but both had signs saying they were closed for harvest. All hands on deck for those small wineries!
We have relied on organic farms and farmers since we arrived in Oregon. We love the idea of getting our produce from its source. Why should wine be any different? Getting to know the wine maker, the owner, the family makes every sip more special, every bottle more exciting. Seeing the grapes hanging from the vines is a picture you never forget and each and every time you open a new bottle of wine you are reminded of that vision. The rich, deep purples and the bright, sun kissed greens, those are the colors of wine at its source. Bees are everywhere, longing to take their own sip of the amazing nectar, but they seem almost drunk from the sugar in the juice. They rarely sting, they don’t bother the workers, they are as intoxicated by the grapes as we are when we drink the wine from those grapes.
Every visit to a winery provides a new and interesting experience, but visiting a winery during harvest trumps them all. The owners can’t wait to tell you how it’s going, the vineyards are alive with activity, and the anticipation of what’s to come is at its peak.
We hope you will get the chance to visit a winery near you and feel the excitement!