Saturday, May 1, 2010
WALLA WALLA - Forget about the music, the barrel-making demonstrations and the outdoor massages in the middle of a vineyard.
At Tamarack Cellars owner Ron Coleman said the draw is what's in the barrels.
"We just made great wine again," Coleman said, explaining why he believes his crowds were up from the previous Spring Release weekend.
Though the entertainment factor was minimal for his and the next-door wineries, Revelry and Mannina, the crowds were plentiful, especially when a bus loaded with Pasco tourists were dropped off.
"It comes in waves. This is a big time of year, a busy season ... We had a very good, busy Thursday and Friday. So it has been a very good weekend," Coleman said.
One of the reasons the tour buses like to stop in front of Tamarack, Mannina and Revelry wineries is because all three are a short walk from each other.
At Revelry Cellars, a downpour sent a covey of the Pasco tourists rushing through the door to get out of the rain. What followed was a mad rush for glasses and pourings, and the crowd slowly meandered into the overflow room, where food was served.
Next door at Mannina, the roll-up door was kept open, revealing a stunning view of the Blue Mountains over green wheat fields.
More than 100 wineries are expected to participate in Spring Release activities. Many will offer food and some will provide live music to draw in crowds.
Over in the vineyards of Tero Estates and Flying Trout wineries, 52015 Seven Hills Road, Milton-Freewater, pastries and massages are part of the program today.
A master barrel-making demonstrations will also take place today at Watermill Winery, 235 E. Broadway, Milton-Freewater, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Most wineries will extend their normal operating hours today, and some will even be open early and late on Monday.