Friday, December 24, 2010
Roxi, a colleague, recently asked me on Facebook what caused her headaches when she drank wine. My standard “bar talk” on the subject was not enough because she gets headaches from all kinds of wine, red and white including grape juice but not the actual fresh unfermented grapes.
So I was stumped and started researching the subject more. I’ve read everything from the Harvard Health Letter, to a great New York Times article to a blog from Winegeeks.
What I found was a plethora of information and for the last few days I’ve immersed myself in ‘wine headaches’. I had to smile though because every article or research paper ended with words to this affect. “Don’t confuse red wine headaches with the headache that comes after a full evening of drinking. That's called a hangover!” You think?
Bottom line I found out there is no definitive answer because the food you eat is so unbelievably coupled with your body's chemistry that each of us may react differently to what we consume. While there seems to be no doubt the syndrome exists, definitive causes of it are as varied as the cure for hiccups.
I did find many helpful suggestions from the research that can help you conduct your own personal tests with different wines looking for a grape varietal type, production style or origin of grape that would provide relief from Wine Headaches. If you have RWH syndrome it can come on within 15 minutes of drinking red wine and be accompanied by nausea and flushing.
First, here is the list of top causes of wine headaches. I tried to keep it short and concise. The more practical suggestions and testing options follow.
Top Causes of Wine Headaches
Sulfites are a naturally occurring compound that nature uses to prevent the microbial growth found on grapes and is used as a preservative for dried fruits, lunchmeats and cheeses. White wines generally contain more sulfites than red wine. Sweet white wines have the most sulfites. Sulfite can cause an allergic reaction and will give headaches to asthmatics. Over 20 years ago the FDA determined that a little less than 1% of the population is allergic to sulfites, meaning they lack the digestive enzyme which would allow the processing of sulfites commonly found in foods like lunch meat, sausage, and cheese. Therefore, the FDA required that wines containing certain levels of this compound say so by placing the phrase "contains sulfites" on the label. This information has long been translated by some into a warning that people who get headaches from red wine should stay away BECAUSE OF the sulfites. That is incorrect. The language is intended only as a warning to that small minority who are in fact allergic to sulfites. At this point in time, no study has proved that sulfites are the culprit.
Alcohol has a powerful dilation effect on the blood vessels of the skin and your extremities. This means that it causes the vessels to open, allowing increased blood flow. The alcohol stimulates blood flow to the skin and extremities making you feel warm inside. However, it also makes you lose body heat more quickly. Therefore, the alcohol in wine can cause the blood vessels in your nose and sinus area to swell causing a feeling of pressure. Depending on how sensitive you are to this effect, you might experience a headache.
Histamines Many people may be sensitive to histamines. Histamines are found in many food products, but mostly in fermented foods and beverages, and are more common in red wines than in white wines. Histamines have also taken quite a bit of blame for causing red wine headaches. Histamines are compounds found in plant and animal tissues that cause an allergic reaction in humans. They stimulate gastric secretion and cause dilation of capillaries, constriction of bronchial smooth muscle and decreased blood pressure.
While histamines are found in grape skins, researchers believe that they are not found in high enough volumes to be considered problematic.
Tannins have recently taken most of the blame for causing red wine headaches. Tannins are natural defense mechanisms in plants that create a bitter, astringent taste which induces a negative response when consumed. In wine, these plant polyphenols are derived from the grape skins and provide the flavanoids in wine that give you the dry, puckery mouth sensation. They’re not only found in wine, but also in cheese, nuts, chocolate and tea. The tea industry has recently been touting the healthy effects of antioxidants provided by the tannins.
One possible link is the fact that tannins bind starches together, and prevent these starches from being used by the body to produce serotonin. Serotonin is used to dilate and constrict blood vessels in the brains. When there is a serotonin deficiency, these vessels tend to constrict, thereby reducing blood flow to the brain, which will cause a migraine. Tannins are also naturally found in wood, especially in oak. Most wine is aged in oak, so logically the tannins found within the oak are going to be transferred into the wine.
Suggestions and Testing:
1. Dried Fruit Headache? If you think you’re allergic to sulfites, eat a dried apricot or other dried fruits which have a higher sulfite level than wine. This will cause a stronger headache than red wine would.
2. Chocolate Headache? Tea, soy, or chocolate — though all contain tannins. So if chocolate doesn't give you a headache look for other causes. I didn't even get in to the cacao chocolate content and tannins.
3. Young or Older Wine: Joe Coulombe, the founder of Trader Joe's, may have an explanation. He opines that most Americans today drink very young California red wines. Some of the substances which cause hangovers become inert with age, so Coulombe believes that drinking older wines will reduce exposure to both hangovers and wine headaches.
4. French or American Oak: Something that has not been studied is the difference between tannin transference from American oak and French oak. We know that American oak leaves stronger impressions in wines and wines stored in French oak barrels receive more subtle barrel flavors. Why is this important? Because many people have claimed to be receive a migraine every time they drink American red wine, while they are able to drink most French and Italian red wines without any ill effects.
5. Take and Aspirin and Call Me In the Morning: One suggestion for histamine sensitivity, take a non-sedating antihistamine like Sudafed, Claritin or take an aspirin to stop production of prostaglandins which cause pain and swelling.
6. You Get What You Pay For: Stick to the Good Stuff. Many articles mentioned that the quality of wine can have a great effect on a possible headache.
7. Rotate Black Tea and Wine: If you suffer from headaches and/or flushed skin when drinking wine, try drinking a cup of black tea before you drink the wine. If you will be drinking over the course of an evening, have another cup or two of black tea during the evening. Quercetin, a bioflavonoid found in black tea, significantly inhibits the headache/flush response (which is an inflammatory effect from histamines), according to Tareq Khan, M.D., a pain expert with St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas.
8. Bottom Line Experiment: This could help lick your problem. Dr. Fred Freitag (read a lot of his research) advises a potentially long, maybe painful, and costly experiment. A sufferer of the headaches himself, Dr. Freitag finds that he can drink some reds and not others. “Try different brands, different grapes, different countries of origin. That’s the only way you are going to find out.” Drink a half a glass of red wine; if it is going to give you a headache, it will do so within 15 minutes. If there is no reaction, stick with that wine for the evening, keeping your alcohol consumption to no more than two glasses. Keep a journal.
Whew! That's it. If you suffer from Red Wine Headaches, please consider this an executive summary. There is so much info on the internet.
Olympic Cellars Winery
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Friday, December 10, 2010
I always felt something was wrong with me… feeling more comfortable at work then at home. I failed miserably at soccer Mom, car pooling and after school play dates. My daughter even took control of her hair brush in third grade… apparently I didn’t know how to “do” hair.
Maybe all this started with my Dad. I grew up in the 50’s with a stay at home Mom. My parents were always entertaining, my mother in the kitchen. And me… I was the bartender! The evening always found the men and women split into two groups, with me hanging around the guys talking business.
It’s just ironic that 60 years later I stand behind a bar and have a wine brand called Working Girl.
I’ve been talking and planning all the things I was going to do during my “60th decade” birthday for some time. It was the “biggest” of all birthdays to me. To be honest, it scared the crap out of me. My own mortality was not far from my mind, my parents both passing away in their very early 60s. It also didn’t help that I had the sheer pleasure of regretting my ‘fun in the sun’ years with a new nose via skin cancer in December 2009.
2010 was the year to do all that ‘stuff’ I had put off for so many years. Tick-Toc, Tick-Toc. But of course, what I was planning was also tied to events or marketing at the winery. Still just couldn’t have fun without a business purpose.
But all that changed.
First, someone asked if my plans were my bucket list? Well I don’t know where I was when the phrase was coined but I’d never heard of it. (If you haven’t either… it’s your list of what you plan to do before you kick the bucket”.)
So can that… I’m too superstitious. What if I accomplished everything then I really did kick the bucket! I would predetermine my own destiny. I know… GROSS… but all this was going through my head.
So I quietly got out of my comfort zone… trying not to be so structured and inflexible. Stop rating the success of the day by how much was checked off the list. Everything in my life had been scheduled… and yes even time in the bedroom if you get my drift.
My routine was predictable even down to when I poured myself a glass of wine… at 7:30 p.m. Then one more hour of work, fix dinner, watch TV for an hour, get ready for bed, read for an hour… sleep. Boring.
Then I heard an old song from my past, “Afternoon Delight”. Yeah, I know the lyrics but the song to me meant way more than an afternoon in bed.
Think about it for a moment… these lyrics from the song taken out of context says it all.
My motto's always been; when it's right, it's right.
Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night.
Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon delight. Afternoon delight.
I’m making progress. I did do a few things on my list… walked on fire, got a tattoo and a dog.
And, I’m considering a new Working Girl Wine… Afternoon Delight!
Might have to explain this one a bit but damn it will be good.
Who knows what I’ll do next.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
This glass is “just me”. It was given to me by my best friend who knows my most favorite flower in the world is Sunflowers. The glass is literally drenched in bright yellow flowers and green leaves making it impossible to see the wine, the legs of the wine on the glass or the color of the wine. But I don’t care because the nuances I miss drinking wine from this glass is more than made up for by the warmth of memories. I will hand wash this glass each evening just so it is ready for the next day.
Molly, Lisa and I all shop together for the gifts at the winery. We all have to agree before we buy anything. And if you know any of us, we all have strong opinions.
Our space at the winery is limited so what we buy has to “speak to us”, i.e. we need to immediately relate and can think of someone in our lives that would just love it. If it meets that test and even better yet is made by a small or fair trade business then it’s a done deal.
For the holidays we have a large selection of what I describe as ‘hostess, co-worker, girlfriend gifts’ in an affordable price range which I can almost guarantee won’t hit the “re-gifting” shelf because they will be treasured. When you pick out a gift it will remind you of the person you’re buying it for and that makes it special… for you and them.
And if you want to buy wine… you’re at the right place. We’ve always specialized in a wider variety of wines because we know that individuals’ tastes vary. The wines are award winning… white, red, dry, sweet and sparkling. All award winning including my own "YUM" judging criteria... Yummy, Yummier and Yummiest
Molly, Lisa and Kathy
PS. I just gave myself an idea... I'll do a video. Stay tuned
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PS. Just gave myself and idea… I’ll do a short video for those of you that can’t come to the winery. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Ralph and I are on “working vacation” in Cabo. Both of us with laptops at the pool (and towels over our heads so we can see our monitors). But we do take time… walk the beach and discuss everything under the sun, literally!
Our hotel beach front walking distance is limited by a huge rock outcropping at one end. The first day, I took this picture. Really wanted to climb over the rocks and see what was on the other side, but as you can see that would have taken some climbing gear.
So take a good look. What do you see?
At first I saw a whale, breaching in the Straits of Juan de Fuca where I live. Then I thought the whale had that carved, indigenous Indian, NW art style.
Ralph and I stood there so long staring at this monolith that we began to draw a crowd. People wondering what we were looking at and why I was taking so many pictures. Conversation started… folks from Chicago, Montana, and Columbia, MO. One young boy thought it looked like some animated monster from a movie I’d never heard of…
What I quickly realized was that each of us looked at this huge hunk of rock from a different perspective... sort of our own personal photo lens.
Anyway, it got me thinking. And I realized Working Girl Wines and this “rock sculpture” have a lot in common.
Our wine labels are seen through each individual’s set of experiences. And often the labels start conversations. People definitely have different opinions and also judge the potential of the wine by its label. The old cliché, ’you can’t judge a book by its cover’ definitely applies.
Sometimes our wines get stuck near all the other labels that are considered “sarcastic and irreverent” like Fat Bastard, Bitch and Frog’s Piss (yuk!). Yet some of these wines have earned prestigious awards just like our Working Girls wines.
Many of you know the story of how our wine brand got named “Working Girl”… very much tied to the three working women who are in their second careers and now own and operate Olympic Cellars Winery. Our ages are spread across multiple decades giving us quite a different perspective and breadth of experience… a good combination for running a business.
When we look at our Working Girl wine labels we see strong, diverse women working each day to make a living for herself and her family.
But there are times as we pour the wine in our tasting room or at wine events, we hear the same old “trying to be funny” comments or snide remarks about the real “Working Girls”… you know the Ladies of the Night. We often keep our replies light or launch right into the description of the wine ignoring these derogatory comments.
But as I think about this, why should we let anyone else control us by their bad behavior? We always tell people it’s about taking the name and image of the Working Girl BACK. Maybe in the past ‘working girl’ referred to prostitution but not anymore. Back then it was the only job women were allowed to make money at. But not now.
So, I think the Working Girl brand name is an important statement about strength and ownership of words.
And, as I so often say…. I am Women, Here Me Pour!!!!
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Monday, November 22, 2010
on my very slow drive to the winery and it was my inspiration!
As you can imagine the winery is closed except for Harley, me and of course, Moakie, the cat. Need to check that all is well and buttoned up, so to speak. And I really expect the only other visitor today will be UPS making the second set of tracks through the parking lot.
As you’ve undoubtedly heard, TV and radio news have been all over what’s happening this week at the shopping malls on “Black Friday” Nov 26, the busiest shopping day of the year. Now there is “Small Business Saturday” on Nov 27 and next week it is “Cyber Monday”, Nov 29.
So I’m thinking… how can a “Small Business” turn White into Green, get ahead of Black and do it in Cyber space with the help of Brown (UPS Brown that is)?
The answer: We need to come to you and the only way is to ship wine.
So, Olympic Cellars has dubbed the week November 21 through November 29 “ White Monday Monday” for this Mama’s and Papa’s business. (Get it? Although here we’re all Mamas)
If you order 6 bottles or a case (12 bottles) shipping is only $10, a huge savings. You can mix and match. Cases get an additional 10% discount with this ‘Monday Monday’ offer. (Wine club member discounts also apply.)
Molly and I can start shipping tomorrow.
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Monday, November 15, 2010
Middle-aged women who are moderate imbibers are more likely than teetotallers to be "successful survivors" -- free of major chronic diseases in their old age, according to a new study. The study is one of the first to link moderate alcohol consumption -- 15 to 30 grams daily, or the equivalent of one to two drinks -- with "successful aging."
I am so excited to know that I am "successfully aging" and that my wine is HELPING!
And, I'm sure the Working Girl in Working Girl Wines is making all the difference.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
This year though we have great news for all of you who love our Cranberry Jubilee and want it for Thanksgiving. The wine is ready to ship NOW! Because we bottled it in late summer this year (instead of mid-Nov) it has had 2 months to get over bottle shock. The wine is perfect. I love this year’s blend… the perfect balance of a classic Chardonnay with the tart finish of cranberries.
I really wish I had a cold glass now… while we only produce this for the holidays it is perfect year round. So if you want more than your holiday supply, order now… because by sometime in December it’s all gone.
While we usually do case discounts… I am going to offer our 10% case discount on 6 bottles of Cranberry Jubilee. We just don’t have that much and we need to limit sales to 6 bottles per customer. If you decide to order additional Olympic Cellars’ wines and bump your order to a case (12 bottles) the discount on the cranberry and the rest of your wine selections will be 15%.
Wines we love on our holiday table include our Chardonnay, La Galopine, Dungeness Red Lemberger and by all means our Lemberger Rose… Rosie the Riveter.
Holiday Wine - $15.99
Bottled in limited quantities. This blend of Cranberry and Chardonnay is Full-bodied with a fruit filled cranberry finish. Crisp, tart and just a little bit sweet. Enjoy this wine is front of a warm fire with fruit and cheese. Perfect for Holiday dinners and all the leftovers Order Now
Friday, October 29, 2010
I can't think of a more perfect wine for Halloween.
At a party? Deep dark wine bubbles to the top of your glass as you sip and stir your bubbling caldron with your witches broom.
Handing out candy? One Hershey for Batman and two for you... sip sip.
Watching one of the top ten Halloween Movies... A Nightmare on Elm Street? Drink champagne... no nightmares! I'm not making this up :)
Or, maybe the night is Dark, the fog is rolling in, the trees are dripping creepy with rain and the wind is howling... or is it the werewolves???
Pop a bottle of Sparkling Twilight... Aim, Pop, Fire... Bulls Eye! You took out a vampire!
Saturday only... Sparkling Twilight wants to fly out of the winery and protect you on Halloween. Mention my email and I will take $10 off.
I really have to do this... need to provide you with extra protection.... especially on the Olympic Peninsula!
Olympic Cellars Winery
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Friday, October 22, 2010
Consider this a Public Service Announcement from a Working Girl at Olympic Cellars.
I thought this was a good and practical idea. Also, one I will use at the winery.
Put your car keys beside your bed at night If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it.
It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won't stick around.
After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there.
Olympic Cellars Winery
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Monday, October 4, 2010
You don’t need to have a pet "date" to attend. Join us for Yappy Hour, support the OPHS and just maybe you'll find your new best friend... dogs and cats will be looking for adoptive parents.
Meet Dr. Suzy Zustiak, the new Shelter Manger and On-Site Veterinarian
Signature Yappy Hour "Human Treat" by Viaggio Catering and Pizzeria
Human Munchies, Healthy Dog Kibble from Best Friend Nutrition
Wine By the Glass, non-alcoholic beverages and complimentary water bowls
Thursday, September 30, 2010
This is a festival like no other... rain or shine the fairgrounds at Shelton are full. A lot of folks seem to make it their annual gathering, RV spaces full with laughter and the smell of good food whiffing into the air.
When I saw my first Oyster Shucking contest it took my breath away. Hand-eye coordination, a very sharp knife and then you add "whose the fastest", holly Toledo. I found a video on YouTube below.
The wine garden is a popular building with lots of local wineries... plan you sipping time because you can't take the wine outside. But on a rainy day... there's no better place to be. We will have all the favorite wines of our Oysterfest friends. Stop by our table.
This year, our original Handyman, Michael Smith, will be pouring our wines. We dedicated Handyman Red, our Cabernet blend and one of the Working Girl Brand wines, to Michael. He is our "go to guy" from helping move barrels to shoveling grapes. He has been with the winery longer then I have owned it.
I will miss Oysterfest. Darn! Enjoy for me and also enjoy our wines.
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010
We have received even more national publicity this year being included in the Coastal Living Magazine, Top Ten Fall Festivals on the Coast" and even more amazing American Bus Associations, Top 100 Events in North America.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
But this is totally not like me. So I Googled September Holidays to see if there was something special to celebrate that had a link to the winery.
Well you can imagine my surprise at the following list… 16 month-long and 8 week-long observances with 44 holidays! AND, I deleted famous birthdays including Sesame Street characters and inventions… all except one; on September 22 the Ice Cream Cone was invented.
There were a few holidays that got me thinking about different winery celebrations but as hard as I tried I couldn’t find a link to “Elephant Appreciation Day”!
So why am I trying to make this so difficult. We’ve already declared our own self-designated observance, the “Working Girl NO LABOR Day” Holiday, the only day dedicated to doing whatever you want. We just didn’t have a winery event commemorating it.
So you pick a day! Enjoy it the way you want… No feeling guilty because the house isn’t clean or the lawn isn’t mowed (remember the Working Girl Wine Brand includes Handyman Red… this isn’t just for women).
And, if you want to sip on some of our wines on your special day I think you deserve a bottle. So here’s what I’m doing. While I can’t just give it away (and stay in business) with an order of 4 bottles, we’ll only charge you for 3. The 4th bottle, being of equal or lesser value, is free. This “Working Girl NO LABOR Day” offer is good through September 30.
Don’t delay, enjoy Your day, Kathy
Ps. Club members receive the better of 4 bottles at club discount or the above offer
Month Long Observances (16)
• Baby Safety Month
• Better Breakfast Month
• Cable TV Month
• Children's Eye Health and Safety Month
• Classical Music Month
• Library Card Sign-Up Month
• National Chicken Month
• National Courtesy Month
• National Honey Month
• National Pediculosis “Head Lice” Prevention Month
• National Piano Month
• National Rice Month
• National School Success Month
• National Sewing Month
• Read-A-New-Book Month
• Women of Achievement Month
Week Long Observances (8)
• 1st Week - Child Injury Prevention Week
• 2nd Week - International Housekeepers Week
• 3rd Week - National Child Care Week
• 3rd Week - National Farm Animals Awareness Week
• 3rd Week - National Flower Week
• 4th Week - Equal Parents' Week
• 4th Week - National Dog Week
• 4th Week - National Roller Skating Week
Holidays or Special One Day Observances (44)
September 2: National Blueberry Popsicle Day
September 3: Skyscraper Day and Uncle Sam's Birthday
September 4: Newspaper Carrier Day
September 5: National Cheese Pizza Day
September 6: Labor Day and Read a Book Day
September 7: Neither Rain Nor Snow Day
September 8: International Literacy Day and Rosh Hashanah
September 9: Teddy Bear Day
September 10: Swap Ideas Day and T.V. Dinner Day
September 11: Make Your Bed Day and Patriot Day
September 12: National Chocolate Milk Shake Day and National Grandparents Day
September 13: National Peanut Day and Positive Thinking Day
September 15: Make A Hat Day and National Hispanic Heritage Month
September 16: Collect Rocks Day, National Working Parents Day and Stepfamily Day
September 17: Citizenship Day, National Apple Dumpling Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day and Yom Kippur
September 18: Mushroom Picking Day and National Play-Doh Day
September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day
September 21: International Day of Peace, Miniature Golf Day and World Gratitude Day
September 22: Dear Diary Day, Elephant Appreciation Day and the Ice Cream Cone was Invented
September 23: Great American Pot Pie Day
September 24: National Bluebird of Happiness Day, National Punctuation Day and Native American Day
September 26: Good Neighbor Day, Johnnie Appleseed Day
September 27: Crush A Can Day
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Angus cattle in British Columbia's Okanagan wine and cattle region are being fed red wine with their grain. Chefs in this Canadian Pacific Coast province said it makes for a unique beef taste.
The idea is the brainchild of Janice Ravndahl of Kelowna, British Columbia's Sezmu Meats. Ravndahl said the beef produced has an enhanced flavor, the marbling is finer and the fat tastes like candy.
"You don't get any better than steak and a wine," she said. "We just start a bit earlier."
Ravndahl said she started with one young cow who took to the bottle immediately, quickly earning the epithet "Wino."
It definitely changes their personalities. They moo a lot more with each other. They get really chatty," she said.
.... No mention of the varietal of red wine served or the quality... do you think the cows know the difference between jug wine and a hearty, full bodied Cabernet from Washington State?
Here is the rest of the story... The Seattle Times
Next race is at the Port Townsend Wood Boat Festival, September 10-12.
Congratulations to the entire team!!!
I'm editing my own videos taken in Victoria... will post soon. Kathy
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
This was not a hard decision to make! "Of course", I said, and tell me more...
- 70% of the rowers are women
- Rowing is a lifelong, low impact form of exercise
- Rowing can be year round, on the water or off using an ergometer (rowing machine)
- More scholarships are available each year to women rowers
- Rowing machines are in schools (elementary to high school). Electronics on the machines allow kids to race and connect with other kids around the world.
- The wooden rowing shell was built for Washington State University (my husband's alma mater)
- Named the "City of Naches"
- Built in 1947 by George Pocock (In 1936 , the UW-eight won Olympic gold in Berlin in a Pocock shell). He also supported and was very active in high school rowing programs.
- By 1999 'she' belonged to the Everett Rowing Association and was surplus to their needs
- We refer to the Working Girls (wines that is) just like a boat is referred to as "she or her"
- The Everett Association was about to sell her to a NW restaurant chain to be converted to a SALAD BAR (no way)
- The Orcas Island Rowing Association saved and refurbished her
- Olympic Peninsula "Y" Rowing Association purchased her in 2009 when the rowing program began
- The crew of the Working Girl in an intergenerational team of 8 women and 2 men
Would you be interested in Sponsoring the crew of the 'Working Girl' in their first race... 2010 Victoria Classic Rowing Regatta?
Yes and Can I Do T-Shirts!!!
Ralph and I will be cheering the crew this Saturday, September 4 in Victoria!
The video was taken on August 27 when we Christened the "Working Girl".
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Friday will be my last day at Olympic Cellars after almost 6 years with the Working Girls. I was in Pasco and came to help during crush 2004 then stayed for a few more years.
We did a lot in 6 years and I’m proud to leave the winery in the shape it is today. Olympic Cellars has now all equipment and structure to compete with the best winery of the state. We bought a new press, a new destemmer, some new pumps, new barrels, a new forklift. We are getting grapes from the best vineyard of the state and have a good reputation for the quality of our wines, from the working girls wines to our fancy Cabernet Sauvignon from Paul Champoux Vineyard.
I had 6 great years here but it is time for me to move on and go back to my home land. As you know I am going back to school to graduate for the National Diploma of Oenology, a two years program. That was my intention 14 years ago when I started my degree in viticulture and oenology. I wanted to get this degree, but after 3 years, I got a good job offer in Bordeaux and was probably just impatient to work (and get a paycheck).
Today I have the opportunity to go back to school with a scholarship from the French Government (Thank you my socialist country…) and I thought it was a good time to go back home, finish this degree and start something new in 2 years (don’t ask me what, I have no idea).
We have 3 great vintages in bottles and one in barrels and I am sure Virginie will do a really good job with this new coming vintage. As my family-in-law live on the Peninsula, I will come back here probably at least one time a year and will follow the evolution of the wines we have today, some of them can be cellared for several years and it will be great to follow them aging.
Thanks all of you for drinking my wines, for your support and have all a great end of summer.
Olympic Cellars Winemaker
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Thursday, August 19, 2010
The Weather is a Changing... Hot August Nights! Now who coined that phase....?
Did I jinx the whole weather pattern on the Peninsula?
Last week a sundress... this Saturday night, well pull out your fleece.
But, who cares. We're from the Northwest. We have layers of clothes in our trunks. A little cold, a little rain... we're tough!!!!
Rain or Shine the concert goes on. Haywire is a local favorite. The concert benefits the Girls Scholarship Fund of the Jet Set Soroptimist organization. We can't let them down.
So pack your clothes and we'll cuddle close under the patio if necessary....
I send the Wine Gods an offering and you a personal msg via YouTube.
Many of you probably don’t know but Benoit almost didn’t live through his second day at the winery. The old bladder press blew up and the heavy stainless steel lid flew like a missile through the air and almost… “I can’t say it”… thank the lord all he has now is a faint battle scar.
So many memories… when you’re only a team of 4, there is not a phase of the winery operation we don’t share in some way.
Harvest was Benoit’s favorite time in the life cycle of wine. I think he just liked to clap his hands and tell us to get to work and start shoveling. Long hours, rain and cold, he took our wines from grapes to bottle.
I just looked at the calendar… 13 more days.
Been meaning to send this email but it sort of makes it final and I’m truly a “Scarlet O’Hara”, tomorrow-tomorrow.
Two of our best wines are bottled under Benoit’s Winemaker Reserve Label, the 2008 La Galopine and our 30thanniversary wine, Neuharth’s Legacy, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon blend. As of today, this label is officially retired with the departure of Benoit. I’ve asked him to sign bottles but don’t know how many he will get done given the long list he and Virginie have made for the next two weeks.
During an interview Benoit said the best wine he had made at Olympic Cellars was the Neuharth Legacy. I agree. Also, he loves Ciel du Cheval grapes in the Red Mountain appellation and was very happy to get our Roussanne and Viognier for La Galopine. This first 2008 release won an immediate Gold Medal.
If you would like signed bottles please come into the winery or place your order. If it’s too hot to ship, then we’ll pack it and keep it in the cellar waiting for cooler weather.
Another wine that Benoit created is My Sweet Syrah which many of you love. When I first asked him to make a really good red that was slightly sweet, he just looked at me and said in a very thick French accent, “Kathee, don’t you know red wine is dry”. To his credit a week later, he came back with the Syrah/Late Harvest Riesling blend idea and as you would say… the rest is history. We’ve had other wineries copy this wine style and even come to Olympic Cellars to taste My Sweet Syrah. I’m very proud of this wine… well I’m very proud of every one of our wines!
As a thank you to Benoit and his skill in winemaking innovation, My Sweet Syrah will be featured at $16… 20% off the retail price for 13 more days. Again, if you want a signed bottle this can only happen in August.
Many thanks. A personal email is still coming from Benoit. It’s on his list.
Adjusting slowly, Kathy
Olympic Cellars Winery
P.S. In August case discounts are 15%, 6 bottles are 10% unless you’re ordering My Sweet Syrah at its special August price.
Facebook is becoming the place to keep up with the happenings at the winery
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I finally got to welcome everyone to the Hot, Hotter, Hottest August Night Summer Concert ever.
As you may already know, Olympic Cellar's concert series benefits a different non-profit organization each Saturday night. We presented Jack Slowriver, director of Family Planning of Clallam County, a "$1721 wad of money". Through your generous donations and Star Anna's donation of 25% of her CD sales uninsured women on the Peninsula have access to health care. Thank you!
The band was heading out on to do 13 performances on a 14 day California concert tour ending with a recording session at the Pearl Jam studio. Pearl Jam's Mike McCready will be a special guest at Star Anna's Spaceland show in LA Wednesday 8/18!
Follow the band on Star Anna's Facebook
Great videos from Saturday night. I'm not quite a flip video "don't shake" expert yet. Ralph, my husband, took the video that is "not" jumping around. Both have great music.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
At the winery we sell the Vinturi Aerator. I noticed we could hardly keep them in stock. So this weekend I used it for our 2007 Neuharth Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon released for our 30th anniversary in 2009. We knew it was too soon to release but we wanted our best to commemorate this anniversary.
This Cab is a gorgeous, complex wine with tannins that I think still need softening with additional aging. The tannins were masking the fruit. When we pour this wine in the tasting room, we open it the night before to let it breathe.
Well, it was our first concert of the season and the Working Girls wanted the Cab... after all, we worked hard and deserved our best bottle of wine. No time for breathing. So we opened the Neuharth Cab... tasted it first then used the Vinturi.
I'm now a believer in technology I don't understand. Immediate Gratification! The wine poured through the Vinturi was Night and Day Difference. The nose was noticeably more aromatic, the tannins had softened and the fruit came through in luscious elegant layers.
Bottom line, I now have one in my house. It is as essential as a corkscrew.
Enjoy the Wine Geek video I found on YouTube about this same product. (It mentions a $50 price tag. At the winery it is $40.) And, I would have no problem taking the Venturi to a restaurant.
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Friday, July 30, 2010
Was it real, did I forget something?
No, I’m free!!!!
Quickly processing the possibilities of what I could accomplish and check off my list...laundry,weed the vineyard, vacuum the cellar, clean out the refrigerator. No, No and Hell No.
So what does a Working Girl do… Google It!!
In less than an hour I found a rental in Clallam Bay available for one night only, got Harley a grooming/overnight boarding (didn’t know if we would be places that are not paw friendly), emptied the refrigerator into a cooler, and we’re the heck out of Dodge… a.k.a. Sequim, WA.
The sun is shining and Ralph and I are headed West!
First Stop… the grocery store. I forgot two of the basic food groups, Coffee and Wine. Can you believe I forgot WINE? I did remember the corkscrew. More on the wine later.
First stop, Toga’s Soup House for lunch in Port Angeles. Dungeness Crab Sandwich for me and Salmon for Ralph. And, a Huge piece of coconut pineapple cake for later. Outside patio seating… I’m really getting in the Road Trip mood.
Second stop, Salt Creek… to just sit on the beach and soak in the sun.
Then, off to Allen’s Beach Hideaway!!!! The beach is unbelievable at low tide… tide pools as far as you can see. I got so excited because the beach had perfect white rocks which I collect. I stopped at 24 to commenorate my 24 hour get-away.
I had nick-named the beach the “White Rock Beach” until this morning when I started counting starfish in the tide pools. I counted ten, then I set the goal at 30, then I was going for the decade birthday number and when I passed 100, Geez Louise do we live in paradise or what. Pink, salmon, brown, purple and Sequim purple (deep lavender) colored starfish.
24 hour Get Away. Grab It When You Can. No Fuss, No Muss, Little Planning. Just Enjoy.
Back home now and geared up for tomorrow… I’m finishing off the bottle of wine as I write. It’s Goose Ridge 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. I drank this wine first at Wildfire Grill. This is a great wine; the fruit literally jumps out of the bottle. Makes me think there is some additional varietals in the wine because of the flavors and nose… in Washington you can blend up to 25% of other wines and still label it as a Merlot or Cab, etc. I think there is Syrah and maybe Cab Franc, but Benoit would know immediately.
I’m so use to drinking our wines which are 100% of the varietal grape on the label. Benoit is a “purist”; I think that comes from his French winemaking background. He told me that when he drinks a Cab, he wants it to be a Cab. If he makes a blend then you know it.
This weekend, I’m going to do taste our 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and “another bottle” of Goose Ridge side by side. A little education on my part. I don’t know if I can be objective because we are so loving our 2006 Cab Sauvignon… it has aged to a deep, rich, velvety wine with great flavors and a long finish. Just a perfect Cab.
Join us on Olympic Cellars Facebook.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
While most of our grapes come from Eastern Washington, we do make a local wine from grapes grown right here on the Olympic Peninsula.
We pick Madeleine Angevine (a grape originating from Germany) at Dungeness Bay Vineyard just about a mile from my home. The 2009 wine is our 4th vintage and I believe our best ever.
The first couple of vintages were not all that ripe and the wine just needed something to give it more flavor and depth. (Still a bit too cool on the Peninsula even for cool weather grapes. No global warming for us.)
Lisa Martin who has a chemistry background had just started working at the winery and suggested infusing lavender into the wine because the citrus notes of the wine and lavender naturally pair well together.
So we did... and the "New Blend" was born and aptly name, Le Mélange Nouveau.
I've been so thrilled with the 2009 vintage that we started tasting it over the 4th instead of waiting for our official release date of July 10. I justified it to myself as test marketing.
Our guests are loving it although many of the men declined to taste that "Lavender Wine".
But, the men who were adventurous were surprised how much they enjoyed it and one gentleman Made My Day!
To quote him (although he wants to remain anonymous), "It really is good. I guess Real Men Do Drink Lavender Wine".
Ps. Hope you can join use for our Wine Release Weekend on July 10-11
Friday, July 2, 2010
I just googled this amazing story about the Red Hot Blues Sisters and their band who will be in concert at Olympic Cellars on Saturday, July 10 at 7 p.m.
Imagine my 'glee' when I read about this being the only Blues Band that performed at the 2010 Olympics... And the 'Sisters' will perform on the Olympic Peninsula at Olympic Cellars. You know I'm still a bit sensitive about the USOC and our little tussle about keeping our winery name, Olympic Cellars.
This is a sign! An amazing concert during our wine release weekend and this Working Girl is going to celebrate... you know, that decade birthday. So join me... and share the night with friends, family, music, great wine and great food. Cheers, Kathy
I'm listening to this song while "Walkin the Dog", Harley... the winery dog.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Benoit’s 2007 vintage wines will be released including the very limited Le Mélange Nouveau made from grapes grown right here at the Dungeness Valley Vineyard. This wine is made with Madeleine Angevine grapes infused with the delicate essence of culinary lavender from Sequim’s Lost Mountain Lavender Farm.
On Saturday July 10 we will be breaking out the “Blues”… that is… the Red Hot Blues Sisters… a fabulous band that will heat up the Olympic Cellars Patio with hot music while we pour some very cool wines.
Viaggio Pizza with their wood fired oven will be at the winery from 4-8pm on Saturday serving samples of their artisan pizzas crafted to pair with our new red and white wines. One pizza not to be missed paired with the Le Mélange Nouveau will be a Lavender & Strawberry with ricotta cheese, basil and a drizzle of honey and balsamic vinegar. Yum!
Consider this your personal invitation… not only do I want to celebrate all the new wines but there is this decade birthday I want to celebrate… so it’s a party!
Come early, enjoy the pizza and grab your table for a memorable musical performance.
The winery is open from 11 a.m. each day. Music begins Saturday at 7 p.m. Music cover is only $5. Children are always welcome.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Molly, Kathy & Harley at the tasting bar
Photo courtesy of the Sequim Gazette
This is our 3rd year celebrating flip flops and word is really starting to spread. I can see a few years in the future, people from colder climates across the nation flip flopping their way through the third week of June in hopes of warmer weather.
Today through Monday we’ll be offering complimentary wine tasting to all visitors wearing flip flops, a special gift for Dads and pouring a special blend of “Rosie Sangria”. We hope all our locals will come “flip & sip” with us and maybe enjoy a cold glass of Sangria on the patio.
We are adding an in-winery special on Handyman Red and Rose’ the River at 20% off. Perfect for those who would like to whip up a batch of sangria at home. The Sangria recipe and more event details are posted on our website.
Have a wonderful weekend wherever your feet may take you!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
In preparation for our Natl. Flip Flop Day celebration this weekend we tested out sangria recipes made with our favorite summer wine "Rose' the Riveter". This yummy blend will be served all weekend, perfect for listening to tunes on the winery patio. Click Here for Printable copy of the recipe.
Rose’ the Riveter Sangria Recipe
1. ¼ Cup Sugar
2. 1 Cup Apple Juice
3. 1 Bottle Rose’ the Riveter
4. 2 Oranges Thinly Sliced
5. 2 Lemons Thinly Sliced
6. 2 Cups Seltzer or Club Soda
In a pitcher combine apple juice and sugar. Still well to dissolve sugar. Add Rose’, orange and lemon slices. Refrigerate until chilled (at least 2 hours) Stir well and add seltzer.
Pour into ice filled wine glasses and garnish with and orange wheel or paper umbrella for “sun showers”.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Olympic Cellars Hosts 4-Day Event
Celebrating Summer, Flip-Flops and
Dads Who Dare to Free Their Feet!
Flop in and the wine tasting is on us!
National Flip Flop Day is Friday, June 18th and it’s celebrated at Olympic Cellars all weekend long. Add to that Father’s Day and Summer Solstice and we have a triple reason to celebrate.
Flip flops and a winery? hmmm… maybe not the most natural connection but to the Working Girls it signifies something pretty special… summer, warmth and sunshine!
We’ve been shouting…Down with fleece!!!
So, just flip flop in to Olympic Cellars June 18 - 21 and the wine tasting is on us. We're also pouring a 'Rosie' Sangria that is truly summer sunshine in your glass, perfect with those summer tune’s playing out on our patio.
And, don't forget Dad. Bring him to the winery “in flip flops” (sorry Dad, no socks), and he get’s a special gift. Plus add in the perfect wine for Dad’s BBQ best and summer has truly begun!
Friday, April 30, 2010
We're Celebrating Mother's Day for the entire month of May.
Honoring mothers is more than a one day holiday at Olympic Cellars.
“Mothers” visit us in May and/or bring "The Mom in Your Life" to the winery for…
- Complimentary Wine Tasting for Moms every day
- Sparkling Twilight (Syrah) poured on Saturday and Sunday
- Chocolate or other tasty treat served on the weekends
We also have the perfect “just because I love you” gifts…
- Give her your heart - a Beautiful stained glass heart, all sizes and designs
- Bracelets with a special “message”
- Scarves that warm and adorn
- Beautiful wine glasses that will keep the memory alive of your special day with Mom
- And, of course, her favorite wine!
Drop by or post on the Olympic Cellars Facebook page “Your Mother’s Best Advice”. (Click on Discussions) We’re awarding a $100 gift certificate for the “favorite” advice at the end of the month.
Let the Working Girls at the winery help in your selection. After all, we’re Moms, too.
Kathy, Molly and Lisa
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I can just see my Mom wagging her finger at me, “Kathleen Ann… if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times…” And one of my favorites, “you’re not leaving the house dressed like that!” It seemed that I might have pushed the limit of her patience a bit too often.
But, one-liners or hand-holding advice… Mom was pretty much always right. There was wisdom and life’s lessons passed on that I will never forget.
My Mom would have loved the Working Girl Wines. She was always supportive and my biggest fan. And, she expected my best at whatever I did… waitress, receptionist, telemarketer, bookkeeper, dog walker, nursing school drop-out, college, and then my first job away from home.
I believe she would have said, “We’re All Working Girls and we can do anything!”
Mother’s Day is a time to “honor” and remember. It would mean a lot if you would share “your mother’s best advice” with me and all who decide to post. Your gem might just be what one of us needs!
I finally set-up an Olympic Cellars Facebook page. Click on discussions. (I guess you first have to become a fan first, I’m still learning.)
I’m not sure how it will be determined right now, but there will be a favorite “Mother’s Best Advice” chosen who will receive a $100 gift certificate to spend as you like at Olympic Cellars or on-line.
Cheers to all our Mothers… Kathy
PS. Mother's are our guests for complimentary wine tasting on Saturday and Sunday, May 8-9
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I strategically positioned myself in the cellar with the cheesemakers and our paired wines and literally sampled all day.... but not the wine till 5 p.m. :)
During Tami Parr's sessions on Artisan Cheeses of the Pacific Northwest, she talked about how closely linked the goat's or sheep's milk were to the quality of the cheese. You really wouldn't expect anything else... just like a great wine, it starts with great grapes.
Tami also talked about how a Chevre was a dead giveaway on the quality of the cheeses made. With a fresh Chevre you are tasting the "milk", no aging.
With our artisan cheeses the industry is still in its infancy. Our "sense of place" will evolve and not be as broad as Pacific Northwest Artisan Cheeses in years to come. Like our Washington wine industry where grapes are defined by Appellations (a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown), I believe cheese making will follow a similar course.
Just think, the Olympic Peninsula may eventually be known around the world for our fresh Goat Chevre because of our temperate climate that allows the goats to graze almost year round on grass and brush islands that makes up our lush terroir.
Mystery Bay, one of the creameries at Olympic Cellars, offers tours at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. You can Bring Your Own Coffee or BYOW... but if you choose coffee... then you can have a fresh (and I mean fresh) Goat-A-Chino.
Picture this, Rachael, the cheesemaker and owner, is milking the goat and you're standing beside her holding out your cup of coffee for some milk!
Got the picture? Rachael was entertaining our guests with stories of the farm and this was my favorite... once you have a Goat-A-Chino, you never go back!
P.S. Our Lemberger Rose , (Rose the Riveter) a fresh and young wine, was outstanding with the Fresh Chevre.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
April 17-18, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Another Creamery not to be missed on the tour and only at winery on Sunday..
Suzanne Tyler is the owner & operator of Wild Harvest Creamery, as well as our resident master cheesemaker (or “Big Cheese”). She has been handcrafting cheese for more than twenty five years, starting out in her kitchen, then studying under some of the best artisanal cheesemakers here in the Pacific Northwest.
Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington State University in Biology and Genetics and has fifteen years of experience as a veterinary assistant.
Dr. Mike Tyler has practiced Veterinary Medicine for twenty three years in Washington State, including the last fifteen in Sequim at Greywolf Veterinary Hospital .In addition to caring for all our animal’s veterinary needs, Mike is developing a small orchard at Wild Harvest filled with fruits and nuts that thrive in Washington State.
Aaron Tyler is a student at Jefferson Community School in Port Townsend. Aaron helps out in a lot of ways here at Wild Harvest, although now that he is sixteen, his favorite job is driving the tractor.
As stewards of the land, the Tyler Family practices sustainable farming, limiting their size to support their local community.
A rotational grazing system is employed that harnesses the complementary nature of our livestock.
Their Goats (forty Alpine, La Mancha & Oberhasli dairy goats) and Sheep (East Friesian and Locune crosses) feed on the verdant fields that surround our farmstead, allowing them to choose the browse and grasses that best suits their dietary needs. They also do a great job of mowing, leaving less work for our herd of humans!
They strive to ensure that our farm is as efficient as possible. Nothing is wasted. For example, in cheese-making, we separate the curds from the whey.
The curds become our tasty Wild Harvest Cheeses. The leftover whey is fed to our pigs and turkeys. Not only does this honor the contribution made by our ruminants, it also supplies the pigs and turkeys with an excellent nutritional supplement.
It’s a sustainable system in which all parts contribute to the whole. We believe the end result is much greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Specialty Handcrafted Cheeses include Chevre, Smoked Paprika Chevre, Alder Smoked Nettle wrapped Chevre, Positively Pesto Chevre and Dill and Garlic Chevre.
Looking forward to sharing our wines, meeting the cheesemakers and tasting all their wonderful cheeses.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Rachael's mission is to create a dairy where the milk and cheese production is not produced at the cost of the land or the health of the animals, and does not compromise the land’s ability to flourish and produce forage for years to come.
The goats are 100% American Alpine and she has chosen not to dehorn them, so all the goats (yes, even the females) have horns. The goats are bred in the Fall (September- November) which gives us spring kids – born 5 months later.
Rachael makes both Chevre and Ricotta cheeses. Chevre is made with pasteurized goat’s milk and is often rolled in herbs grown on the farm... chives, fresh garlic, basil and thyme, plus other seasonal flavors.
Whole Milk Ricotta Made with pasteurized goat’s milk in Plain or seasonal flavors.
Rachael also conducts three different farm tours (basic, milking or production) by reservation. Guests will learn the basic natural history of goats, their management styles/techniques and see examples of rotational mixed forage grazing. Tours also includes the milking parlor and cheese making facility.
The video below in a great introduction to Mystery Bay and Rachael.
In Celebration of All That's Local,
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Today, though, the sun is shining, there's Spring in the air and thought you might like a music video or two.
Just to let you know... there are over 183,000,000 videos on wine and 60,800,000 videos on cheese That's a 3:1 ratio in favor of Wine!
But during our Northwest Wine & Cheese Tour, April 17-18, the cheese gets equal billing!
So in honor of our event speaker, Tami Parr and her Wisconsin childhood roots, enjoy the 'Cheese Rap'.
And if you're a fan of 'UB40's Red Red Wine'... this is a music video version that you probably never saw, is really good and I wouldn't suggest performing at home.
In fact, I'm listening now as I sign-off. Enjoy, Kathy
Friday, April 9, 2010
As I write these daily blog/emails to share information, funny cheese videos and to immerse you in Cheese, Wine and All That’s Local… I find myself craving anything cheese. (You think?!)
Last night I walked into Sunny Farms (a local country-style grocery store) and instead of heading straight to the cookies, I made a beeline for the cheese, opened a single package of string cheese and inhaled it while waiting at the deli counter.
Well, you know, a ‘Working Girl’ can get mighty hungry and the string cheese was a way better choice then standing there noshing on a large wedge of cheddar or brie.
If "cheese" is also on your mind, not to worry. We've got you covered. Join us and all you have to do is.... Sample, taste, sip, taste, sample taste, sip, taste, sample, taste, sip, sip, taste (Got the hang of it?)
Mt. Townsend will have all their cheeses available for sale and sampling. Featured “wine paired” cheeses will be the Cirrus with our 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and the Washed Rind Tomme with our 2006 Syrah.
Below is a couple of YouTube Videos on Mt. Townsend owners and cheeses. After watching you’ll understand why we’re so excited to have their cheeses at Olympic Cellars,
Cirrus, a Pacific Northwest Camembert, is inspired by the small thin white clouds that hang over the Olympic Mountains, yet is rooted in the tradition of French cheese making. The white mold covering its exterior makes Cirrus come alive with an abundance of flavor as it ages. It is ripened four weeks to an indulgent soft texture with rick, butter flavor. It is a must for those who want to experience camembert as it was meant to be.
Washed Rind Tomme made in the style of Tomme’s from the French Pyrenees this cheese similar to Havarti or Cheddar. A ripe pungent flavor is complimented by the butter and nutty finish.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
And, believe me we've "Got Cheese and even more Wine"! We're hosting three of the five Olympic Peninsula Creameries. Mt. Townsend, Mystery Bay and Wild Harvest Creameries will be at Olympic Cellars on April 17-18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
She will give three short, interactive presentations at 11:30 a.m; 1 p.m; and 3 p.m., with input from the cheese makers and Olympic Cellars Winemaker Benoit Murat. Afterwards, she will sign copies of her new book, Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest.
From Parr’s biography she describes herself as a lawyer turned freelance writer and cheese nerd - not necessarily in that order. Since its launch five years ago, Parr's Pacific Northwest Cheese Project blog has become the preeminent source for local cheese news, producer profiles, and cheese reviews.
Her family originally hails from a small farming community in southern Wisconsin. Growing up, she visited Wisconsin just about every summer and while there, spent a lot of time with her aunt and uncle's dairy farm. It was there that she learned about the hard work that goes into creating the food that goes onto the dinner table, the relief of getting the milk check in the mail, and the joy of a good harvest.
Parr is fascinated by cheese as a living, breathing food and a complex intersection of animal, land and craft. Combined with her passion for cheese she incorporates all these aspects in her blogs, public appearances, articles and in her book.
Last May the Seattle Times interviewed Parr in honor of the upcoming Seattle Cheese Festival this weekend at Pike Place Market. It’s a great article for further information on artisan Washington creameries.
Wisconsin cheese is a way of life… and it’s fast becoming the same in the Pacific Northwest. Just a few years ago there were no cheese makers on the Olympic Peninsula now there are five and that’s a small industry! These creameries are making delicious, award-winning products using sustainable farming practices.
All five creameries will be represented at the Olympic Peninsula Northwest Wine and Cheese Tour on April 17-18. (Participating cheese makers include Wild Harvest Creamery of Chimacum; Port Townsend’s Mt. Townsend Creamery; Gothberg Farms of Bow, Wash; Mystery Bay Farm of Marrowstone Island; and Golden Glen Creamery, also of Bow.)
It’s going to be a great weekend!