Saturday, October 31, 2009

Washington's First Auction of Wine "Art" Barrels

Retired wine barrels from the North Olympic Peninsula's six artisan wineries were donated to the Port Angeles Arts Council (PAAC) early this summer. Volunteer artists transformed the wine barrels into unique one-of-a-kind "art barrels" which are offered for sale using a unique online auction format.

The PAAC is hosting the auction to support its mission to nurture the vitality of the arts community and showcase the talent of local artists.

The ten local artists who volunteered their time and talent to the project were given free creative rein. Most artists worked in their garages, a.k.a. "Studio G", developing picturesque themes ranging from rustic, barnyard scenes to aquaculture to vineyard panorama using paint, fused glass, paper collage and hand painted silk.

The public is invited to visit (click on Auction), to view and bid on a series of 10 wine barrels that have been transformed into visual - and functional- works of art. Artists bios and video interview with Donna Cloud.

Bids will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6. The winning bids will be announced on Friday, November 6 at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center during Paul Chasman's One-Man Guitar Festival, which begins at 7:30 p.m. The concert is PAAC's inaugural fundraising event.

For more information on the Art Barrels Auction or the Port Angeles Arts Council, contact Eric Neurath at 360.452.5911,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Semper Gumby - Bottling At Olympic Cellars

For the last 3 years a volunteer group from the Coast Guard stationed in Port Angeles has been our bottling crew. I recently had to change our November bottling date by a week and received an email back... No Problem. Our Coast Guard Motto is "Semper Gumby" (Always Flexible).

Well, I hadn't heard of this before and Googled it. Semper Gumby is the unofficial motto referring to the cartoon character with the official motto "Semper Fidelis", always faithful.

Cheers and a Toast to our bottling crew as they are both faithful and flexible. For 3 years they've touched every bottle that has come off our mobile bottling line and stacked thousands of cases.

We have a volunteer program called 2xSuccess. For every hour volunteered at the winery you earn 1 bottle of Working Girl Wines. The "earned wine" goes on the books until the volunteer organization has a fundraiser.

The Coast Guard uses their funds to help CG families in need. Each crew member also receives a "love box" of a bottle of each wine that comes off the line. They are first to taste our newest wines and vintages.

Bottling is scheduled for Tuesday November 10. Here's some prior year photos.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vineyard Angel Gets A Full Body Makeover

Last year all of the wineries on the Peninsula created Scarecrows out of wine barrels. Olympic Cellars' creation was inspired by my love of sun flowers and the desire to have a watchful "angel" over our La Petite Vineyard.

I can tell you we had a pretty good laugh when our scarecrow was completely assembled and in the ground. Molly said she had quite a "bootie" and I thought she looked vaguely like a "telly tubbie".

Our Angel braved the frigid winter and (believe it or not) the heat wave of summer. Guess we should have watered her or at least given her a few glasses of wine... because alas she began to shrink, her "oak" was drying out! Her face was cracking and her body was literally falling out of her metal barrel staves.

Libby came to the rescue to give our angel a facelift (we had to decapitate her first). Then metal artists John and Cynthia Dash took her aging barrel body back to their studio and breathed in new life with a whole new sinewy shape. Her hand is even on a spring... she greets winery guests with the perfect Beauty Queen wave. And her loose barrel stave skirt actually blows in the wind scaring off pesky grape eating birds.

It was a late Friday afternoon when she was installed. All of us were exhausted after crushing grapes all day and a bit slap happy. So when someone mentioned that the upper torso was a "bit flat" and needed some embellishment, you can only imagine the topic. To stay authentic it was suggested that we use the "punts" cut from a very large wine bottles and attach them it to her chest. (The punt is the concave portion at the bottom of a wine bottle.) Bottle sizes suggested were called Jeroboam (3L) and Methuselah (6L) which are way bigger than a magnum. I learned something new but don't know if I'm going that far!

I rang the harvest bell again and poured us some wine. The Working Girls are tired. It's been a good harvest. Cheers, Kathy