Harvest has come to Yamhill Valley; grapes hang heavy on the vines and local wineries are bustling with activity. While most tours take place in summertime, guests looking for a hands-on approach to wine visit in the fall. A new Harvest Experience at Hyland Estates in Dundee aims to allow guest to help work the sorting tables, taste juice directly from the press and visit the lab and learn from the winemakers. We asked event organizer Pauline Wlodarzyck about harvest time, hard work, and getting guests in the vineyards.
TYV: How did you come up with the idea for the Harvest Days experience and what do you hope to show guests through this event?
Pauline: I come from France so the American wine industry is completely new to me. So far, I’ve observed that part of the wine culture in America is to try to offer the best possible wine experience. There are beautiful tasting rooms, private dinners, and tours. I felt like the one thing that is missing is that we don’t always bring people to the product, we bring the product to the people! I wanted to create an experience to put people in the winery, have them meet the winemakers and understand all the hard work and processes that go into making great wine. Harvest is the time to show people how we tend to and pick our fruit and turn our beloved grapes into intricate wine.
TYV: How does this experience differ from other tours?
Pauline: We want to really bring people the full harvest experience. I’ve noticed that some wineries have grape stomps, but that is not common practice anymore. Instead, we want to show all those who are curious how the magic really happens. We want our guests in the vineyards. We want them smelling, touching, thinking about the decisions our winemakers make on a daily basis when they’re trying to get the very best out of each vintage. We’re trying to do this by giving them a range of events.
TYV: How would you describe the atmosphere at Hyland during harvest time?
Pauline: When you walk into the winery during harvest, you are inundated with stimulation in all your senses. Seeing the beautiful fruit coming in and the unity of the winemaking team, it is exciting. Then you couple that with the living smells of fermentation and the music blaring in the background, it’s the best. There’s a really good team spirit here and lunchtime is a great time for all the employees to eat together and share their adventures in the vineyard or in the cellar and keep these stories in mind in order to stay motivated and keep going!
Harvest Experience Days at Hyland Estates
September 23, 30 & October 1 – $30
Hyland Estates: 20980 NE Niederberger Rd. Dundee
For more information and to make reservations, visit hylandestateswinery.com