Events – Two Mountain Winery Fri, 11 Nov 2016 20:30:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 One Year in the Yakima Valley Wed, 21 Aug 2013 18:31:00 +0000 Before we get all excited about harvest and crush in September, here is a snapshot of our year in the Yakima Valley, verbiage courtesy of a rediscovered vintage Visitor’s Center brochure.

Spring, First Signs

IN THE VINEYARD: Buds begin to swell, budbreak, and the vines begin to show the new season’s green. Cover crop and grasses begin to grow and surrounding orchards bloom.
IN THE CELLAR: Bottling wines for summer wine releases (fresh and fruity white wines, dry roses) and young reds for fall release. Warmer temperatures encourage the red wine barrels to complete their secondary, or “malolactic” fermentation.

Summer, Grow Grow Grow


Vines flower and their delicate scent perfumes the air. Grape clusters “set” and begin to show this vintage’s crop. Winemakers take advantage of the warm weather to check out the upcoming crop in the vineyard.
Red grapes color up after going through “Veraison” and begin to soften and build grape sugars. Toward the end of the summer, the varietal flavors are apparent and sampling for harvest maturity begins.
Fall, The Action Begins
IN THE VINEYARD: Harvest begins! The entire year’s crop will be harvested between September and November. If you’re lucky, you can see some of the activity and share in the excitement of a new vintage.

IN THE CELLAR: Fermentation turns the cellar into its own “aroma-therapy” center. Yeasty, fruity and delicious aromas are everywhere.
Winter, Peace & Quiet
IN THE VINEYARD: Frost generally drops the last leaves off the vines, and they descent into dormancy for the winter. The bare vine architecture is in stark contrast to the way they looked in mid-summer with lush, green leaves.
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Let’s Chill… Wed, 07 Aug 2013 23:32:00 +0000 It’s hot out there! Like, 90 degrees outside hot. All the more reason for a chilled, crispy glass of something delicious.  If you’re strapped for time or if you’re not, Dr. Vino has you covered. Here are his best tips for getting that wine from zero to chilly in no time:

Two Mountain rocking the ice bucket

Fast: Contrary to popular thinking, sticking it in the freezer is not the fastest way to chill wine. There’s simply too much air in the freezer; air doesn’t wick heat away as fast as water.

Faster: Add a gel sleeve to the wine bottle in the freezer. Getting something cold touching the bottle transfers the cold to the wine faster.

Fastest: Get a bucket and fill it about half full of ice. Then add the coldest water you can get from the tap, filling the bucket to about 3/4 full. Now you have something approximating the ice floes of the Arctic–in fact, add salt to the water to decrease the liquid range of the water to below 32 degrees. Submerge the bottle in the bucket. Stir or swirl for fastest results.

See more here.

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Cowboys & Wine Sat, 20 Jul 2013 22:51:00 +0000 In late June we had the privilege of joining K Bar L for their Wine in the Wilderness retreat—where we tasted and paired wine, rode horseback, and enjoyed the gorgeous sweeping Montana views. It was an unforgettable weekend. In honor, a cowboy poem.

Mornin’ on the Desert
Mornin’ on the desert, and the wind is blowin’ free,
And it’s ours, jest for the breathin’, so let’s fill up, you and me.
No more stuffy cities, where you have to pay to breathe,
Where the helpless human creatures move and throng and strive and seethe.

Mornin’ on the desert, and the air is like a wine,
And it seems like all creation has been made for me and mine.
No house to stop my vision, save a neighbor’s miles away,
And a little ‘dobe shanty that belongs to me and May.

Lonesome? Not a minute: Why I’ve got these mountains here,
That was put here just to please me, with their blush and frown and cheer.
They’re waiting when the summer sun gets too sizzlin’ hot,
An’ we jest go campin’ in ’em with a pan and coffee pot.

Mornin’ on the desert– I can smell the sagebrush smoke.
I hate to see it burnin’, but the land must sure be broke.
Ain’t it jest a pity that wherever man may live,
He tears up so much that’s beautiful that the good God has to give?

“Sagebrush ain’t so pretty?” Well, all eyes don’t see the same,
Have you ever seen the moonlight turn it to a silvery flame?
An’ that greasewood thicket yonder — well, it smells jest awful sweet,
When the night wind has been shakin’ it — for its smell is hard to beat.

Lonesome? Well, I guess not! I’ve been lonesome in a town.
But I sure do love the desert with its stretches wide and brown.
All day through the sagebrush here the wind is blowin’ free.
An’ it’s ours jest for the breathin’, so let’s fill up, you and me.

The author of “Mornin’ in the Desert” is unknown, though the poem is sometimes attributed to John R. Nielson. This poem was published in a single-author collection of poetry published in Arizona in 1910, called “Songs from the Sage Brush” by Katherine Fall Pettey. The poem was also featured in an episode of the old radio show called “Death Valley Days” as well as used in many periodicals, newspapers, books throughout the 20th century, and recently has had an upsurge in popularity on webpages on the internet.  
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Complex and Elusive: Mouthfeel Wed, 17 Jul 2013 22:03:00 +0000 This is a post about body and mouthfeel. Whoa…! Easy killer. This is a wine blog! We’re talking about the texture of wine here…

Creamy, rich, smooth, silky, juicy, supple, viscous, lean… These days, balance, body, and astringency (all factors contributing to the texture of wine) are right alongside aroma and flavor as factors leading consumers buying choices. Said some Pacific Northwesterner somewhere: It’s all about the way it feels.

Contributing market trends, nationwide:

–         Steady influx of new wine consumers who are demanding “smooth” wines—more inclined toward fruit and silk and less so leather, cigarbox, or firm tannins.
–         Consumers who are not aging their wines but drinking them relatively quickly after purchase—a turn toward winemaking techniques that “do the cellaring” for them.
–         Trend toward high-extract, high-alcohol reds, adjusting winemaking techniques so that high tannin levels don’t stick out.
So how do we go about catering to this in our highly tannic Washington state? Here are some of the traditional techniques:
–         Malolactic fermentation (the effect that made California Chardonnay famous) produces a broader, fatter mouthfeel by transforming sharp malic acid into gentler lactic acid.
–         Barrel aging can add oak tannin for structure and, over time, increase roundness through evaporation and concentration.
–         Yeast additives, which break down and contribute to a creamy texture.
–         Residual sugar, a natural mouthfeel enhancer (think dessert wines), can make wine feel full, like syrup. Even a half percent more residual sugar can change the entire feel of the wine.
Matt’s philosophy is that mouthfeel is predicated on how everything is in balance—alcohol, acid, fruit, oak. Harvest decisions play a lot into it—too early, more acidic; a bit later, lower acid, etc. We do a bit of experimentation every year with the yeast we use, must mostly for the purposes of creative exploration.
So when you walk into a winery with mouthfeel on your mind, go forth! Be not afraid of that elusive but oh so important quality of the you consume. And use some fancy words while you’re at it:
–         Weight (viscous, full, thin, watery)
–         Texture (syrup, creamy)
–         Heat (hot, warm)
–         Irritation (spritz, prickle, tingle, pepper, chili)
–         Dynamic (puckery, chewy, grippy, adhesive)
–         Harsh (hard, aggressive, abrasive)
–         Patriculate (talc, clay, powder, plaster, dusty, grainy, chalky, sawdust)
–         Surface Smoothness (furry, fine, energy, velvet, suede, silk, chamois, satin)
–         Complex (soft, supple, fleshy, mouthcoat, rich)
–         Drying (numbing, parching, dry)
–         Unique (green, sappy, resinous)
–         Acidity (metallic, steely, sour, soapy)
–         Flavor (concentration, activity, lift)
[developed by researchers at the Australian Wine Research Institute]


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Punching Down Tue, 09 Jul 2013 21:53:00 +0000 WARNING: Muscles required.
There is a point in the wine-making process, after crush and when fermentation is just beginning, that muscles are required. Not that they aren’t required throughout the rest of the year for basically everything that is done around here (lest I am remiss)… but it is during this time that they are put to the test: can you punch down with the professionals?
Since the color and most of the flavor in red wines is derived from the skins, it is important to extract as much as possible from fermentation. The creation of CO2 during fermentation causes the skins to rise, forming a cap. The cap needs to be pushed down and broken up so that the color, flavor and tannins can be extracted by the fermenting juice. The more aggressive you are about breaking up the cap, the more wine will be extracted, dark and tannic. Other than enhancing the flavor and a great upper body workout, here are reasons to punch down:
–      During the early stages of fermentation, it helps introduce oxygen to yeast cells, helping them “kick start” fermentation
–       It helps keep harmful bacteria or mold that could ruin your wine from forming
–      It helps dissipate heat that naturally occurs during fermentation—left alone, the cap can reach high temperatures

At Two Mountain, like most wineries punching down by hand, we use what looks like a life-size potato-masher to push the cap down, break it, and submerge it again. Here, we punch-down at least twice per day (once in the morning and once before bed). Each bin gets about a week and a half of punchdowns—which, depending on when the bins come in, lasts from two to eight weeks. It is not an easy task!
If you’ve ever attempted to make a red wine at home, but the finished product lacked color, taste, or astringency, changes are your wine could have benefited from doing punch downs—something to keep in mind.
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Artistic Inspiration Thu, 27 Jun 2013 22:19:00 +0000 …with a touch of comic relief.


This one is dedicated to Matt…
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Yak-deaux Wed, 26 Jun 2013 20:42:00 +0000 If you’re a Yakima Valley wine enthusiast, you probably already know that our valley is located on the same latitudinal line as Bordeaux—a wine region known for its profoundly complex and age worthy wines—in France. This is part of why so many Bordeaux varietals can thrive here: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot for reds, and, most popularly, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for whites. (At least, of the Bordeaux varietals.)

The Wine Bible on Bordeaux:
–      Bordeaux is a red wine region. 80% of the wines produced are red.
–      Although the very top Bordeaux wines are renowned worldwide, these constitute but a small percentage of the region’s total output. Most Bordeaux are neither famous nor expensive but instead, are good, every-night dinner wines.
–      Bordeaux wines are about elegance and intensity of flavor; they are rarely massive or powerful.
–      For the Bordealais winemaker blending is crucial; it is one of the methods by which complexity in wine is achieved.
From this alone we see a lot of similarities. In the red heavy Yakima Valley, Bordeaux blends are everywhere! Elegance and intensity of flavor are crucial in this state: yes we have bold reds—striking and tannic—but for the most part, Washington’s winemaking style is less about the alcohol and the obvious. Its wines are nuanced, dimensional, with full flavors. This is what wine is about: slowing down, savoring, the moment.
Another very cool concept is that the majority of valley wines, as in Bordeaux, are not massively produced viti-celebrities. There are over 800 wineries in this state and most of them produce under 5000 cases annually—with only a few labels producing over 90% of the wine. (Tasting room visitors from Abu Dhabi said last weekend that Chateau Ste. Michelle is the only Washington wine they can find there—practically across the world, CSM would be one example.) Some of our favorites in Zillah produce less than 1000 cases—Cultura at around 750 and Dineen at around 250, for example. (Both with outstanding, award winning wines that can only be found inside their tasting rooms.) Our case production at Two Mountain is around 2500, and although we have a few distributors, we’re only available in a few markets around the US.
An old article by the Wine Enthusiast took concept this a step further (in Could Washington Redefine Cult Wine?): “Keep the requirements for rarity, high scores and buzz, but lose the absurd prices, drop the alcohol levels a bit and substitute genuine terroir for 100% new French oak barrels… Start with the world-class boutique wineries of Washington. Washington’s Bordeaux-style wines and blends have the structure and balance to age for decades.”
Yes, we’re proud to be making wine in Washington, and no we wouldn’t be doing it anywhere else. There are innumerable reasons why we believe in this place—and for us, drinking locally is about quality, less so convenience. Oh, how do we love thee, let us count the ways…
Copeland Vineyard, you so pretty…
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Cricket, Cricket.. Tue, 18 Jun 2013 18:50:00 +0000 Has it been quiet around here? Blog activity might be misleading… because in the tasting room, on the vineyard, and quietly (but furiously) in the wine lab, we’ve been humming. As mountain-like as these brothers can be (towering over, say, a petite tasting room manager), Two Machines might be the more operative phrase here.

So what’s happening?
Wet gray day on the vineyard today
Patrick is finishing up the planting project that has taken the majority of the last few months. What was once just a flat brown lot of tilled dirt and trellis is now lush and green, with vines sprouting over grow tube (the white plant protector that serves to fend off rodents, and encourage healthy growth). And, fighting the unusual intermittent rain we’ve had over the last month, putting in the irrigation that will sustain it through the rest of its life.
Braden graduated last week and is finally done with his dual degrees (Vineyard and Winery Technology, with honors!). He’s off to Alaska for a 48 hour celebratory break before getting back on the grind. He and Matt have been racking and topping, and preparing to bottle later this week. After that, Matt goes to Montana—a new market for us—to lead a wine tasting leisure adventure of some sort. Oh, the things we must do to spread the good Two Mountain word…
Who knows… projects!
The tasting room continues to pick up, with people coming from just up the road or as far as foreign countries. (No, Seattle is not technically a foreign country…) We’ve had people passing through and others who made Yakima their destination—the latter being the adventurous, exploratory, wine enthusiast type, and the former usually the leisure lovers. (Zillah being a meeting ground for both.)
Zillah—and Yakima more broadly—continue to grow and change. In the last few months, more wineries have opened, restaurants are catering to the people who travel here, and activities either in town or at wineries are keeping visitors here for longer. (Multiple farmers markets, horses, outdoor concerts, galleries, theater, the symphony, a new brewery…)
While we prepare to release our Wine Club Sauvignon Blanc on Saturday at our Low Country Boil party, we’re enjoying the sunshine and the people who stop by to share it with us… and as usual, having a darn good time.

Now, back to the fun stuff… like this.

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Red & White & Everything In Between Fri, 14 Jun 2013 00:08:00 +0000 Pretty sweet infographic from Wine Folly for us newbies out there… although in all fairness, the color on the 2009 Syrah is even darker and inkier than anything on this sheet. Should that, then, be filed under absolutely delicious?

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Anatomy of a Grape Tue, 23 Apr 2013 18:13:00 +0000
Anyone geeky enough to get behind this diagram? You can see the difference between first, second, and third press – and why it actually matters – here. (Second and third press typically make the juice more astringent. Some winemakers don’t even press at all, that’s called free run.)
To Do Today:
Learn Something


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