Now is the time of year when we often pause to be thankful.
When giving thanks for family and friends we include special thanks for all the people who work to create unique local products and give Sequim that much more to be proud of.
Many exceptional and talented people are drawn here and we are fortunate to live in a community that is supportive of their endeavors.
Living in a small town makes it easy to connect with and support these people; they are our neighbors, friends, fellow parents and co-workers.
It just so happens they make famous salsa, grow amazing produce, raise grass-fed beef, craft artisan chocolates and produce great wine.
Countless experiences have made our life in Sequim fulfilling; most recently it was one night in early October when Sequim winemaker David Volmut and his wife, Jennifer States, gave us the opportunity to participate in something that turned out to be very special.
So many things made that evening extraordinary: the lavender sky as the sun set and the full moon rose, the sound of the night birds, the smell of the grapes.
A few thousand pounds of grapes, that is!
Shortly before we arrived, bins of delicate, golden-blushed Muscat grapes had been delivered and were awaiting the press — the next leg of a journey that would end as a bottle of Wind Rose Cellars “Windy Day.”
We had been invited to help transfer grapes from bin to press and couldn’t have been more thrilled to be there.
Although we’ve consumed our fair share of wine over the years, we were barely familiar with how it is made.
Washington at the beginning of the season.
He even visits his grapes a few times before harvest to check on their progress, confessing that he visited quite frequently his first year.
Once the grapes harvested into bins, everything happens relatively quickly.
The bins were loaded immediately onto a truck and driven across state to Sequim by a friend.
Once at the winery with everything and everyone in place, David brought the first bin over by forklift and set it in front of the press.
Using a large plastic pitchfork and shovel, we sifted through the grapes to remove leaves and then moved the grapes — stems and all — into the press.
The press itself is a large stainless steel cylinder with a door on one side and perforations on the other.
Inside the cylinder is a bladder that slowly inflates and gently presses the grapes, allowing the juices to drain out the perforated side and into a reservoir from which they are siphoned into waiting stainless steel tanks.
Sounds simple, right?
Only until you see the complexity of the automated press or David’s lab complete with test tubes and Bunsen burner.
How David programs the press determines the amount of juice released and over what period of time — choices that affect the finished product.
When the decision is made to move wine from vat to bottle it is partly based on tests to determine sugar levels — another judgment call that ultimately will affect the wine.
But all those decisions were for another evening; after the night’s first pressing and a simple meal we climbed back up on the platform to refill the press.
Wind Rose Cellars is just one of the many local, independent businesses that make Sequim such a special place to live and give us all a little more to be thankful for.
Eat well and be well!
Mark Ozias and Lisa Boulware are owners of The Red Rooster Grocery.
Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.