I don’t know about anyone else, but the week after the Pendleton Roundup I’m tired but still wanting to get out and go. It seems like life just slows down in the third week of September. The leaves start to officially change colors and the mornings are crisp and cool, yet I’m not quite ready to hibernate yet.
The crush is on, and if you aren’t ready to hibernate either I suggest you join me by visiting the Columbia Valley, Red Mountain, Prosser, and Yakima Valley Wineries this weekend.
Wineries all over the region are participating in this year’s Catch The Crush event this weekend. The event has been growing for the past 30 years, and this year is no exception. You can literally visit dozens of wineries, or as many as your designated driver can stand.
Many of the vintners open their doors to offer tours, show the crushing operations, taste barrel samples, and offer food and wine pairings to visitors this weekend. If you haven’t ever gone to a “Crush” event, I think I could best explain it as fun, high energy, and one of the weekends where everyone is a friend.
My friends, the Whitelatch family, who own Claar Cellars in Zillah will even be holding a grape stomping contest for teams of two who want to try it. The contest will be a fundraiser for the Tri-cities Cancer Center, and will happen from 10a.m. to 6p.m. the 25th and 26th. The cost to get your feet in the barrels is $2 per team. Claar’s Busty Blush will even be on hand to sample.
The cost to attend the crush is free, however is has become quite customary in the past few years for the wineries to charge a tasting fee. Usually the fee is waived with the purchase of a bottle of wine.
To get the best bang for your buck I suggest getting a Premier Pass to the event. The pass includes a wrist band, a wine glass, and a map of all the participating wineries. For the cost of $35 you can taste all day and not have to pay at each bar when you get there. To find out which wineries will be offering the wrist bands go to www.wineyakimavalley.org and click on events.
While you are traveling through the region make sure to either start early or end late as you go through Prosser. Prosser’s annual balloon rally is this weekend, with balloons filling the skies at sunrise, and participating in nightglow events in the evening.
My friends Jesse and Susanne Ayala who own Tuscany Grill, and Kari from 6th Street Coffee will be open early for breakfast. So, after you take in the balloons you can start tasting wines with your tummy full. The Ayalas and another friend Frank Magana at Picazo’s and Mojave, located in Desert River Inn Winery will remain open late in order to keep that belly full for your safe drive home.