CARLTON CRUSH: WINE HARVEST FESTIVAL

With Summer burning records (and ripening grapes) throughout the North West, we drive to 2013’s grape harvest festival of Yamhill-Carlton AVA: The Carlton Crush.

image

Brown, dry, rolling hills…California?

The endless auburn fields and early harvests remind of California or Tuscany, not the great, green Northwest.

Quaint Carlton’s mill looms iconic above Main street’s shops.

image

Monumental Milling.

However, a brisk walk reveals that every shop, every factory, every barn, every gas station has converted into a winery tasting room or cellar.

image

Fancy $1,000 French barrels fill space that pigs once milled about.

Honestly, it’s too hot to appreciate $5 wine sampler trays.  So we find the Carlton Crush Harvest Fair.

Tents with face-painting and painted canvases frame the parking lot.  Sure a secluded, fenced green serves wine, and Carlton Cellars pours pleasantly free samples, but sober parents, kids, and shaved ice dominate.

We stumble upon the Wine Thief Relay.  The MC announces the semi-final contestants, who brace with their tubes above barrels.

They jam them into the water-filled barrels, and then off they run.

Truly a test of only the finest winemakers.  The older team surprisingly beat the younger.

image

Exciting filling of water.

Next, the festival’s namesake: The Carlton Crush.

image

Yum?

Hornets swarm four open barrels full of this year’s (mostly disposable) harvest:

Barefeet of all ages and genders ready themselves.  In teams of four, one stomps against the clock.  Another desperately jabs to unclog the pipe.  While the other two panic.  Then they switch.

We back away from the green splatter of grape and sweat.

image

Crushing defeat.

Wiped down.  Winners and losers chosen (well done team Crazy Feet and your athletic ladies).  We then wander back to the main drag to kill time before the day’s last loosely wine-related event: the barrel roll:

Youth trounces experience.

image

Nice technique!

With suntan lotion fading against brutal rays, and the kid’s watermelon eating context straying from the theme, we head home.

The Carlton Crush is enjoyably ridiculous.  Watching this wine-olympics, we got too caught up in the locals fighting it out, to want a drink.

Carlton has clearly sold its soul to Bacchus.  This town’s fixation on wine worries me a bit (coming from the blackest kettle).  Yet it has so much local pride and so few tourists today.  Let them have their cake of grape skins and eat it too.

Advertisements

About waywardwine

Follow Wayward Wine (WSET3) to tour the world's exciting vineyards, breweries, and distilleries, while discovering new drinks.
This entry was posted in Oregon, WINERIES WANDERED and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to CARLTON CRUSH: WINE HARVEST FESTIVAL

  1. There are not enough family-friendly wine-related events. Thank you for sharing, I laughed through the entire article.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s