Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Day Off with Whidbey's Wineries

Today started with two groups of classic cars coming to our farm! These people have an incredible collection of beautiful old cars and they get together to tour various places. This weekend they were on Whidbey Island, and the rally organizers decided to visit our farm. We had a lot of fun taking them around the farm. I guided the first group, and then Mare took over so I could have an afternoon off!
Classic cars at Lavender Wind Farm

Yahoo! My friend, Carol Bingman, organized a group winery tour for eight of us. We toured four locations and discovered more of Whidbey Island's treasures. As a destination farm it isn't often that I get off to have a look at some of the other farms and wineries operated by my friends and neighbors.
Watching Morris Dancers at Bayview Corner

First we went to Greenbank Cellars, founded by Frank and Betty Rayle. Sadly, Frank died last October, but the winery is in good hands with Betty as owner and David Moore, winemaker. I was greeted by a rowdy crowd in the tasting room, with bells on their ankles. Turns out the Mossyback Morris Men 30th Anniversary Tour was happening this weekend and we bumped into various teams throughout the afternoon. As an anglophile and past contra dancer, I was completely delighted!

 At Greenbank Cellars they not only have a beautiful winery with some great wines, they also have a collection of player pianos and wurlitzers. Amazing! They also built a cute out building that is an example of creating a unique place based on what is happening right there. The walls are of concrete and wine bottles!  The bottles go right through and create points of light inside the building. Outside it is beautifully tidy and the woodwork is carefully done. Really a piece of architectural art.

Holmes Harbor Cellars winery is brand new (in winery terms that means they've been here for about 4 years. Already they've stacked up some awards for their wines. The building is a Tuscan Style building which is a lot of fun to see when you drive up their driveway. We tasted the 2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition silver medal winner Cabernet Savignon. I loved it, and I bought some.

Holmes Harbor Cellars home
Theresa Martinez was there and we did some shop talk about signage on Whidbey. I hope they get some good signs on the highway, it will help the rest of you find their place. It's a delight.

Bayview Corner has a wine tasting shop in which three wineries (Bloom's Winery, Swede Hill Cellars, and Spoiled Dog Wines) have collaborated to show off their wines in a more high-traffic area. I was delighted to run into Karen Krug, owner of Spoiled Dog Wines, who was working that day. She is the force behind the Whidbey Farm Tour. She is on the board of Whidbey Conservation District and it was her organizational skills and sheer determination that got the farm tour going 5 years ago. Thank you, Karen! Meanwhile, the three wineries there have some nice wines - added to my day's collection.

Whidbey Island Winery
Then on to Lavender Wind Farm's old friends Greg and Elizabeth Osenbach's Whidbey Island Winery. Their wine tasting and gift shop is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. We had their wine at our festival in 2008 and 2009 (or even longer, if I remember accurately). This year all the winemakers who grow grapes on Whidbey are worried. It's been a summer that hardly happened and the grape harvest has either failed or is so late it might fail. Not a good omen for wine drinking with local grapes in the next couple of years. Luckily, most of the wineries here augment their local grapes with those grown on the east side of the state. Let's hope their harvest is ok!

Lavender Wind Product at Whidbey Island Winery
I couldn't resist taking a picture of our products on their shelves.... Don't they look beautiful?  The Morris Dancing folks were here when we arrived, and they danced on the green grass outside of the shop.

Shoppers at Whidbey Island Winery
People shopped inside, too. The picture is a little blurry. Is that because there were so many people jostling around or was it because I'd spent the afternoon tasting wines... we'll never know.

Wines I came home with from Whidbey Island Wineries
This is my stash that I came home with. I put them away for special friends!

1 comment:

Joe said...

Grape growing is difficult because the climate has a huge effect on it. It's completely understandable why wineries of Whidbey are concerned of the delayed growth rate of their wine grapes. Perhaps they should explore building hot houses for their grapes.