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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wine Harvest Report: Welcome to Crush 2013

For many West Coast winemakers, harvest 2013 is officially underway. And last night we stopped by our Imbibe 75 Wine Bar of the Year, the SE Wine Collective, to see how things are shaping up so far. With five wineries under one roof, the Collective has created a new model for urban winemaking, and yesterday vintner Anne Hubatch of Helioterra Wines was busy sorting the first fruit of the season. Eager to get our hands dirty, we jumped on in.

Earlier in the morning Hubatch had trucked in 2.5 tons each of Mourvedre and Syrah from Washington State, and as the grapes from each bin made their way across the sorting line, it quickly became clear that the 2013 vintage from the Columbia Valley will be one of note. The grapes, plump and juicy, offered a perfect balance between fruit, acid and tannin with few raisins and nary a botrytis-infected cluster in sight.

From the sorting line, the grapes make their way into the destemmer (well, most of the grapes—Hubatch reserved some Syrah clusters for whole-fruit fermentation), which gently plucks each grape from its stem and into fermentation bins, where native yeasts will take over and turn the juice into wine. Stay tuned for more 2013 harvest reports from the winery!