Catch the Crush Activities

Harvest is underway in the Yakima Valley, and with it is the anticipation of the next vintage.

Celebrate the season with the experts during Catch the Crush weekend, October 12, 13. Nearly 40 wineries invite guests to tour vineyards, enjoy harvest and crush activities, stomp in barrels, and wine and dine all weekend long. 

The best approach to navigating this event is preparation. Here are tips to help you get the most out of the harvest experience from start to finish.

Do your research. Log into the hosting organization, Wine Yakima Valley’s website and preview what wineries are offering during the event weekend.

Find your focus.  You maybe interested in activities occurring at the winery, in the vineyard, or focus in on process from grape to bottle. Choose a theme that will underscore the wines you taste and the activities you enjoy. 

Get into the vineyard.The first step in wine harvest is the grape. Barrel Springs Wineryin Prosser is offering an opportunity to get your feet dusty and taste grapes right off the vine. Kitzke Cellarsin West Richland is offering a blind taste test of five grape varietals. Taste and compare to the final product. 

Stomp grapes.Who doesn’t love the idea of crushing wine grapes with their feet? The foot is actually the perfect natural machine for crushing grapes. The pressure from human force is gentle enough so that the seeds won’t break, causing a release of an unideal astringent taste in the wine. Several wineries offer this once –a- year opportunity during the weekend.  Check in with Wilridge WineryVanArnam Vineyardsand Airfield Estates Wineryon when and how you can jump in – feet first and crush grapes.

Learn and taste the fermentation process.  Thurston Wolfewinery in Prosser will be tasting fermentation products and comparing them to wine in the bottle. Hightower Cellarsis also offering tastes from fermentation, barrel aging, bottle aging and long-term cellar aging.

Follow the journey of the grape.Yakima Valley Vintnersteaching winery in Grandview is offering tours of the winery and crush pad. Taste grapes off the vine and compare them to wine in the bottle.  A visit to Terra Blanca Wineryon Red Mountain will guide you through the entire winemaking process, starting with tasting grapes right off the vines and moving to tasting crushed juice on the crush pad. You will see and learn the fermentation process and taste the juices as they transform into wine. Next, visit the barrel caves where you will taste wine as it ages. The tour will finish with a seated tasting of the final product from the bottle.

Build your itinerary. Pick up, or download awinery roadmap at any participating winery so you can create your touring itinerary based on the activities you are most interested in. 

If you really want to dive in on learning, consider the Winemaker’s Table program. The perfect opportunity to enjoy intimate Yakima Valley’s harvest festivities with the winemaker. Four winemakers have reserved time exclusively for Winemaker’s Table guests. Each winemaker has personally selected a harvest activity and tasting opportunities of their best wines.  Learn the history, nuances, and stories of each wine in an intimate seated tasting.

In addition to these smaller more intimate tasting experiences, your Winemaker’s Table ticket will be honored as a Premier Pass to all participating wineries for the duration of the Catch the Crush event weekend.

Many wineries are offering discounts, entertainment, food-trucks and more. Check the full slate of activities, download your roadmap and purchase your Premier Pass or Winemaker’s Table ticket at wineyakimavalley.org. 

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