October and November are busy months in Washington State as winemakers get their grapes in before the frost and start on another adventure in creating fabulous wines. There are a fair number of winemakers who live in the Seattle area and make wine out of "garages". I decided to volunteer my labour helping winemaker Tim Narby of :Nota Bene in return for learning about the process of making wine. I got really good at deck swabbing, washing buckets with antimicrobial solution, labeling barrels. Here I am in action filling the press with grape skins to squeeze out the last of the juice.
For my work, I was paid in delicious blends and Syrahs....aaaah, what a life.
This last weekend was the annual Cayuse barrel release weekend in Walla Walla. Eastern Washington was aglow in autumnal tones, the cloudscapes were a wonder, and the warm welcomes at the wineries was a pleasure. We visited Cayuse (it's 13th birthday!), Sapolil, Adamant, Buty, K Vintners, Forgeron. We ate a fabulous dinner at Whitehouse-Crawford and ran into our favourite sommelier, Robert, formerly of 26 brix. We had our first meal at Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen, a wonderful addition to Walla Walla's culinary scene: Chris and Island Ainsworth are fabulous chefs, hosts, and humans! The interior of the restaurant has subtle Ottoman touches: Turkish screens, Moroccan lights, warm tones, nothing overdone. The menu is interesting and well executed.