VineLines Dispatch: Harvest surrounding Lake Chelan

By on January 7, 2021
Donna Mellison, co-owner of Mellisoni Vineyards in Chelan, Wash., shows off a cluster of Sangiovese from her 60 Degree Estate Vineyard – one of the most steeply planted vineyards in the state.

Resident photojournalist Richard Duval continued his travels through Great Northwest Wine country through the harvest for the 2020 vintage capturing harvest and crush activities for a series of photo essays on the season. From Chelan to both sides of the Columbia River Gorge, he photographed winegrowers and winemakers focused on bringing in the fruit. Today’s column is Dispatch No. 5 – Lake Chelan American Viticultural Area. 

Mellisoni Vineyards

On the south side of Lake Chelan but nestled high in the hills is Mellisoni Vineyards, home to Italian varieties and in true Italian viticulture tradition features a vineyard that boasts of one section planted across a 45-degree slope and another at 60 degrees.
Nebbiolo at 60 Degree within Mellisoni Vineyards ripens with harvest near.
The upper section of the vineyard is too steep for tractors to deliver bins so . . .
Picking team members such as Riley Cobb funnel buckets of freshly harvested fruit into tubes that fill bins below.
While the view is dramatic, the pick of Mellisoni Vineyards can be traumatic.

Amos Rome Vineyard

On the north side of Lake Chelan near the town of Manson sits Amos Rome Vineyard, the estate site for its namesake wines. 
Merlot was the pick of the morning.
Travis Clark, winemaker; Chad Fanton, foreman; and harvest team member Ben Selcke crush the day’s Merlot pick.
Travis Clark, winemaker, starts the estate fruit on its journey to bottle.

Succession Wines

Devon Griffith, assistant winemaker, checks the Brix of the day’s Syrah pick.
Eben Haarhoff, cellarmaster, rakes Syrah into the crusher. 
Owner/winemaker Brock Lindsey near the end of the harvest picks. 

Cairdeas Winery

Syrah to co-ferment with Viognier is on its way to the de-stemmer at Cairdeas Winery near Manson, Wash.

Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards

The Hard Row team, led by co-owner/vineyard manager Don Phelps, harvests Viognier from the Farmer Jon Vineyard high above the hills overlooking Manson.
Don Phelps reviews the morning’s progress with harvest team member Jordan Sahlberg.
Morning sun bathes the rows, the buckets and the pickers.
Vineyard owner Jon Wadkins and Don Phelps check the numbers and the grapes.
Team member Jill Lukacs fills her bin.
A full bin glistens in the morning sun.
Morning sun illuminates Don Phelps picking grapes.

Fielding Hills Winery

From its perch on the south side of the Lake, Fielding Hills capped a busy day with test tasting Merlot before pumping it into massive oak tanks. Charles Sletten, harvest intern, checks the tank before winemaker Tyler Armour starts the pump over.
Winemaker Tyler Armour checks sugar levels of a bin of Merlot.
Founding winemaker/co-owner Mike Wade and his wife, Karen, sample Merlot.

Ancestry Cellars

Jason Morin, owner/winemaker of Ancestry Cellars – which moved from Woodinville to Chelan last year – drops off bins at Ribbon Cliff Vineyard for the next day’s Sangiovese pick.

Vin du Lac of Chelan

Richard Garzon, head winemaker of Vin du Lac, and consulting winemaker Derek Des Voigne seem pleased with the quality of this pic of Cabernet Franc grapes.
Harvest team member Carlos Blanco coming rakes Cabernet Franc into the de-stemmer.

Tipsy Canyon Winery

Tipsy Canyon owners Mark and Tami Garvin press Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at their winery on the north side of Lake Chelan near Manson. 

Parting shots

Smoke became a factor to monitor during the 2020 harvest throughout the Pacific Northwest. This smoke from a mountain fire appears over Nefarious Cellars along the south shore of Lake Chelan.

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About Richard Duval

Contributing wine photojournalist Richard Duval captures vivid wine imagery for Great Northwest Wine, Wine Press Northwest and other regional and national wine media. His images are found in wine marketing guides throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho and used by a growing number of wineries in the Pacific Northwest. From his studio in Woodinville, Wash., Richard creates bottle shots and captures the occasional portrait of wine personalities. His “Art from the Vine” fine art exhibit has been displayed in restaurants, hotels, wineries and wine centers throughout the region. He markets wine work, which includes a line of personal greeting cards, online via WinePix —

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