Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bottle After Bottle

Clunk! Ping, ping...ksh, ksh, ksssh...Gurgle, shhhp, boomp...tap, tap, plunk! Crinkle, wrinkle, shwoosh, bump...shhhhwap, shhhwip...plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk....

One case down!
100 cases to go...

Our new Labelmatic
Last weekend was yet another session of bottling for us.  We are bottling our 2011 wines and readying them for you!  This past Saturday we bottled over 100 cases of our Summer Solstice Red, one of our blends.  The Summer Solstice is a mostly a Cabernet (44%) and Malbec (44%) blend with just a touch of Syrah (12%).  When we first transfered the Summer Solstice out of its oak barrels and into the stainless tank before bottling, we were blown away by the nose on this wine!  Great wafts of floral, ripened fruit intoxicated the air of the production room.  We couldn't help stealing a small taste (or two or three) to find out how this wine has been progressing.  Immediately the smooth, clean taste of this wine hits the front of your mouth, and we believe that further aging in the bottle will truly mature the lingering layers of sophisticated flavor in this wine.  It's really hard to resist its charms, though.  Whether or not you choose to age this wine, it will make a great addition to your wine collection and provide enjoyment for years to come.

Mister Jackson doesn't quite love bottling as much as we do; hang in there buddy! There is a tennis ball and a trip to the river in your future.
Next weekend marks the final wine bottling of our 2011 wines!  We will be bottling one of our varietals, the Malbec.  Our family, friends, and neighbors have truly been a huge help these past few weekends with the bottling, and we can not thank everyone enough!  We hope to celebrate the end of bottling season with a Saturday night concert event, our first since our Summer Solstice grand opening, and it definitely will not be our last.   We have artist Olivia De La Cruz coming to perform, and we couldn't be more excited!  With the help of Kickstarter, Olivia just released her first album (titled Olivia De La Cruz) and you can find it on iTunes and cdbaby.com.  Olivia is a local artist born in the Lake Chelan area, and after her many travels, now calls Seattle home.  Her music has been described as "a mixture of Lyrical, Soul, Americana, and Rock."  You can check out one of her songs "Old Fire" that she sings with some of her friends here.  There will be a small cover charge that goes to Olivia, and wine (of course!) will be available.  Our tasting room is open Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the concert will start around 7 p.m.

We can't wait to see you all next weekend!

This is one full barrel room.  Come help us empty it!

Tasting room hours:

Saturdays 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Fridays & Sundays by appointment only

you can also visit our website www.plaincellars.com

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Weekend to Remember

Our grand opening party was a huge success!  On the longest day of the year, we celebrated what was a long time coming.  The wine was flowing, the food was incredible, and we danced and sang under the light of the "super moon."  We owe a huge thank you to everyone who helped us along the way, and we just feel so blessed to have so many friends & family who support us.
Jake's longtime friend Blake catered the entire weekend for us.  (He also catered my summer solstice wedding six years ago.)  Blake has been a chef at Ivar's Mukilteo Landing for many years, and this man knows how to cook!  If this was to be your last meal, you could die happy: grilled salmon with beurre blanc sauce, soft shell crab sliders, razor clam chowder, chanterelle soup, cured meats from Salumi, strawberry shortcake with lemon curd and whipped cream, freshly baked macadamia nut cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries.  Many of the main ingredients were fished and foraged for by our family & the (outstanding) strawberries were brought from a farm in Lynden by the Scholten family.  It was a meal to remember.
Jake and Chef Blake unwind after dinner

Daniela & Justin
For our evening entertainment, I asked my friend Daniela that I met in college to come and perform.  She brought her friend Justin (they often get together to play gigs in Seattle) to join her on vocals & play guitar.  I've known for some time that Daniela has a great voice, but I really found out how great a performer she was as well.  Daniela & Justin sang many covers & classic crowd pleasing songs, but the style in which they sang really enhanced the attitude of the evening.  They played hits by Michael Jackson, Tom Petty, and Johnny Cash (to name a few) with a mellow twang and intoxicating energy.  Even my grandma Ruby got up to dance!

We sampled our Tempranillo straight from the barrel

There must have been something to that Super Moon (or maybe the wine was just really good!)

The Super Moon rises behind the clouds
After the excitement wound down on Sunday, we recalled the past nights of celebration with a fondness and warmth of heart.  We could acknowledge that we had finally accomplished our great undertaking and also knew that we would find success in our future.  It is so nice to really reflect on life's moments & remember why we work so hard.  We truly look forward to the many years to come with Plain Cellars, and we cannot wait to keep sharing our love for wine with more and more people.

Please visit us again soon; Our tasting room will be open:

Friday 3 - 7 p.m.
Saturday 12 - 5 p.m.
Sunday by appointment

Enough celebrating, now back to work! We will be bottling more wine this upcoming weekend. (Somebody must have drank it all.)

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Race is On!

Jacob muscles the chandelier up the ladder to wire it
Summer seemed to sprint right on past Spring with a streak of hot, dry days in the 80s- all before Mother's Day!  It was the sudden onset of warm weather that we suddenly realized how soon the Summer Solstice would be here.  As you might already know, the Summer Solstice weekend is our scheduled grand opening.  On Saturday, June 22nd we will finally be open to the public.  With that in mind, we have been frantically racing to get things done at the winery.

Morgan puzzles it together
Jacob has been installing exterior light fixtures that really look spectacular at night.  After all that hard work wiring the place, he finally gets to add the "icing on the cake," as everyone gathers to (drumroll, please) ooh and ahh.  Our evenings sipping wine will feel magical amidst the soft glow of these fixtures (further enhanced by more drinking of wine).

A perfectionist at work
Our friend Matt has been doing an outstanding job on all the tile work in the winery.  Matt is an all around great guy that we have known for years.  He runs his own business, Artisan Stone & Tile out of the greater Seattle area.  He has done the the tile work for my parent's house in Everett as well as all the tile for Morgan and I when we recently remodeled our home.  If you need a good tile guy, Matt is the guy to know.

My father was pleased to see the appliances finally arrive. He worked on finishing more trim and prepping the cabinets for the countertops (to be installed next weekend!).
The large (and beautiful!) doors to our barrel room go up

My big job was to create a large mural (about 9' high by 18' wide) above the bar in the tasting room.  Last year when my parents had traveled to Italy, they were inspired by all the realistic murals of the Italian countryside that they had seen.  They were hoping that I could do something similar for them here.

Jacob's original photograph
I knew immediately that I wanted to depict the feeling of the countryside in Plain.  It truly is a beautiful area in Washington, and I wanted to paint a mural that would do it justice.  I took my inspiration from the original photograph that my brother Jacob had taken a few falls back.  The big oak tree was looking colorful and majestic, and the street signs seemed so iconic.  I am really pleased with the end result, and I think I captured the true essence of Plain.

I think my parents were happy with the money they invested in sending their daughter all the way to California to study art.  Who knew that an art degree would ever amount to anything?  (Thanks for believing in me, Mom & Dad).

One tired but happy bunch
                           you can also visit us at our website www.plaincellars.com

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring is here?

Last Sunday morning we awoke to snow.  It had poured rain the night before (you know it's heavy rain when it can awake a Northwesterner from a full sleep), but dropped enough in temperature to turn to a good dusting of the white stuff by the morning.  This was only shocking because nearly all of the winter's snow had already melted away.  Even the yellow glacier lilies were popping up left and right as they usually do following each year's snow melt, and hopefully the morel mushrooms (a choice edible found near these parts) will be soon to follow.  Spring just seems to always have a mixed bag of weather in store for us around here to always keep us guessing, and this is why we dress in layers!  (I believe I had no less than five this day.)   

Luckily our construction focus last weekend found us indoors instead of out.  We can hardly believe that there is less than 3 months until our grand opening, but thankfully we are mostly down to the finishing details, (but oh how time consuming those last details can be!)

Bob sealed the flooring from the weekend before, and the color is really looking great with the desired "wet look."  We wanted to bring out those warm tones in the floor even more, so we decided to paint two focal walls of the tasting room.  The color is 'Copper Mountain' (appropriately named), and it just made the space so much more inviting.  The tasting room will certainly have that warm and cozy feeling that is needed for those cold winter days in Plain (or cold Spring days in this case).

Morgan gets the high spots!
(he has that 6'7" height advantage)

While Morgan and Roxanne painted the tasting room, Bob and I worked on moulding and window trim.  This is a tedious, time consuming job, but the finished look is completely worth the effort.  A lot of math and tricky cuts were involved; a good motto to go by doing this kind of work is measure twice, cut once.  The window trim has a contemporary Northwest feel to it, and the dark stain of the wood complements the room nicely.

By the time we had wrapped up our work on Sunday afternoon, the snow had already melted, and the sun was smiling down on us.  The warm sun on our faces felt good, and a sense of accomplishment felt even better.

you can also visit us on our website www.plaincellars.com

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A New Year with New Challenges

A tree we decorated for my mom
outside her cabin window
Somehow we all managed to survive the holidays (the wine always seems to help), and now the New Year is steam rolling right along into February.  One of my New Year's resolutions was to avoid alcohol for the month of January, which probably in hind sight wasn't the best idea for a blogger of a winery.  Nevertheless I have been successful, and now that February is knocking on our door with a wine glass in hand, my new resolution will be to post to this blog more regularly.  My father (and owner of Plain Cellars) will also be contributing some posts, which is something I will be looking forward to reading in the near future!

So in the meantime, let me catch you up on the progress of the winery that has happened in the past couple of months...

As the snow level grows higher and the icicles grow longer, the inside details of the winery have started to get checked off the list.

Plumbing, check.
Electrical, check.
Insulation, check.
Drywall, check.

Check, check, check.

But even when the list seems to get shorter, there are always challenges that arise along the way that could not have been foreseen...

The majority of the painting has been done, however there was some over-spray that got onto the concrete flooring that somehow did not get masked off.  (There must be mischievous gnomes that live in this neck of the woods).  Despite knowing who (or what) to blame, my mother spent the weekend on her hands and knees scrubbing paint off the floor.  Two steps forward, two steps back.  This is the constant ebb and flow of construction that we can all have a good laugh about later when the project is long done and over.

While Roxanne scrubbed away, the rest of us tackled the hardwood flooring in the upstairs office of the winery.  It was a true DIY experience with a little bit of a rocky start at first, with "too many cooks in the kitchen," but once everyone settled into their roles, we really got into a groove.  One man on glue, one man lining up the boards so they fit just right, one man cutting the end pieces to size, and one woman hammering away at the nail gun.  I have to say, it wasn't perfect, but when it was all said and done, we were all fairly proud of the work we had done.  And the floor didn't look half bad either!

I think we can all look back at this, have a few laughs, and drink a few glasses of wine- I know January isn't quite over yet, but hey, I've earned it!