Saturday, September 15, 2012

The grapes of what?

My second Saturday in Seattle and the alarm was set on 04:55 am... Even I thought that it was rather on the ungodly side of sunrise, but was nonetheless happily picked up by Shani and Scott at 05:20 for a 3.5 hour drive across the Cascades to yet another adventure in the Washington Wine Country. Our destination this time was Red Mountain, or more precisely the Force Majeure Vineyards, where we were about to help out with the grape harvest. Why? I quote from the vineyard's website:
Inspired by the vineyards of Hermitage, Priorat, and Cote Rotie, we challenged existing viticulture practices and embarked on an ambitious plan to pioneer the very first vineyard on the steep, upper slopes of Red Mountain.
Due to the rough, rocky nature of the acreage and elevations ranging from 960 to 1,230 feet, mechanization is virtually impossible in the higher portion of Force Majeure, requiring true "farming by hand." This extreme viticulture has led some blocks to receive the nicknames El Terror and The Devil's Playground.
Our base camp in the middle of the hill.

Not that devilish, if you ask me. More heavenly, actually.

The actual picking of the grapes was performed by local workers, but a crew of approximately 30 volunteers of varying age and composition was gathered to assist by carrying the full crates and dumping their content into larger trays, as well as sorting out leaves, bugs and other unwanted material. I did both chores but spent most of my time as a "runner", i.e. carrying boxes with grapes up and down the steep hill. A good workout!

Before setting off we were warned about both rattlesnakes and scorpions, not to mention the black widows that were supposedly "all over the place". Although I saw a whole lot of spiderweb, I was almost a bit disappointed by not seeing any actual spiders... Maybe next year?

A happy runner.
Hello, I'm Syrah!

All in all, we had a lot of fun together, and after about three hours of hard work in the scorching sun we got back in the car, sweaty and dusty, to head back towards Seattle. (Our rural apperance did not stop us from taking a short break for some quick wine tasting on the way home, however.)

A snapshot of the landscape we passed on the way back from Red Mountain. The smoke in the background comes from forest fires, which have been troublesome all summer long because of the draught. Still no rain!

The terrain in the state of Washington has really impressed me with its beauty, and I feel mighty lucky to already have been able to see so much of its versatility. And yet there is so much left to explore.


  1. Men åh vilken grej att göra!! låter helt fantastiskt. Och vilket fint landskap!! kram

  2. Underbart! Håller med Karin, lätt värt att gå upp tidigt för att vara med om detta!
    Massa kram!

  3. Woop woop!
    Det ser ju superhärligt ut. :) Vi hade inte en fullt lika aktiv lördag, jag var seg (läs: bakis) efter Crucified Barbara-spelning och Tomas spelade Civ hela dagen.

    Nu har iaf även jag bokmärkat din blogg, och det ska bli himla kul att följa dina äventyr där borta. Och måste säga att du skriver väldigt bra.


    1. Tack för snälla ord! Bakis + civ är ju inte helt dumt det heller - låter som en rätt mysig lördag... :) Kram!

    2. Civ var bra iaf! Oklart hur fräckt det var att vara bakis... :-)