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Port Townsend Vineyards

2017 Harvest Report

We finally pressed our last red wine last week, thereby officially ending the crush season. As you all know, this is basically what we do from mid-September to mid-November. This harvest was a little later than average because we normally wrap up before Thanksgiving.

2017 Varietals by AVA

We had a lot of different grapes made in a lot of different styles this year. Here’s a list of our 2017 grapes and our partner vineyards from whose vines they were plucked:

From Columbia Valley:

Tempranillo from Cave B
Syrah from Cave B
Cabernet Sauvignon from Cave B
Merlot from Firethorn
Viognier from Inland Desert
Sagrantino from Inland Desert (Custom Crush)
Cabernet Franc from Firethorn
Syrah from Firethorn (CC)
Cabernet Sauvignon from Firethorn
Sangiovese from Portteus
Petit Verdot from Portteus

From Willamette Valley:

Pinot Gris from Keeler
Pinot Noir from Keeler
Gewurztraminer from Mora Family

From Puget Sound:

Field blend from Portuguese Hill, AKA the PTV vineyard!

Who done it?

We had a lovely crew this crush. Every crush brings together a different crew of folks willing to sacrifice some comfort, sleep and social lives to set the young wines off on the right path. It's basically boot camp for the wines, but for the crew too. A couple of us brought some previous wine experience, a couple of us hadn't been in a winery before. I think the combination of experience and fresh perspective is the best, and we certainly had that this crush.

Lauren Dixon womaned the wine press when she was able to join us late in harvest after serving as engineer aboard the Westward’s southward journey to Mexico. The only problem with having a talented engineer among your crew, is that their services are in high demand! But she finished her trip and we got her back just in time to press all our red wines in our old German winepress.

Sydney Stolmeier headed up the lab all harvest, among other things. Tracking the daily readings in the constantly changing wines is crucial to being able to make adjustments during harvest. Having consistent lab results is one of the keys to making good wine. Sydney's precision and care this harvest will best be on display in the balance and health of the final wines.

Dustin Ryerson wandered into camp one day and we promptly threw a net over him and have made him do the brunt of the grunt work during harvest, which is mainly the punch downs on the red ferments and a whole mess of cleaning. He's taken the role on with dedication and good humor and has even been reading up on the process of wine in his spare time.

Chloé Boland gracefully and ably covered for the days that Sydney didn't work this harvest. She nailed Sundays down, sometimes by herself when I'd sneak over to the Hilltop to watch a Seahawks game. She focused on lab work and additions during her time. My only complaint is that we didn't get enough of her and her brightly colored clothes.

Brett Townsend and Jens and Karle Coppenrath spent many, many hours hauling our grapes over mountain passes and across state lines. Early in the morning and late at night, driving into the sun or through the rain, we don't take this role for granted at PTV.

And special mention must be made for the Crush support work of Sally Giesler, Annette Gardner, Alyx Coppenrath, Alex Tienda, Niels Nielsen and Andrew Wiese. We could have done it without them, but it wouldn’t have been as fun and the wine wouldn’t be as good. It takes a village, sometimes, to make good wine.

Since the dawn of agriculture, the harvest season has been about family, community and village. It's a celebration of bounty and a bonding in shared work before winter. I'm really happy to see Port Townsend Vineyards play a role in keeping that venerable spirit alive in our town. It's a wonderful think to be part of.

Barrel or tank of the week:

2017 Portuguese Hill Field Blend (working title). We've treated this wine in a fairly unorthodox manner, starting with picking the different varietals together in the vineyard, which is method of a true "field blend." We pressed the grapes and started fermentation with a yeast known for protecting pretty aromas. We stopped the fermentation and transferred the frisky young wine to a new French oak barrel for a week to develop its charms even further. It's now living in a stainless steel drum awaiting it's next step. It'll be the first thing we've made with any significant RS (i.e. it's sweet). It's yummy and unorthodox, and I think this could be a really fun wine.

À votre santé!

Ben