Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards – Lake Chelan

Hard Row to Hoe Vineyard Blog

“Cat pee on a gooseberry bush”

Posted by Judy Phelps on January 20, 2009

That is how New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is described by some reviewers and it can also refer to the Hard Row to Hoe 2008 Sauv Blanc still in the tank.  It is meant to be a complimentary description, highly sought after by Sauv. Blanc lovers. Very aromatic, pungent, racy, citrusy,  herbaceous … you’ll either love this wine or you hate it.

Well we’ve got a tank of it waiting to be bottled in March. Of course we will be genteel about the whole thing and call it juniper or boxberry aromas but I giggle about the cat pee description.  Its like that off note that adds complexity to a piece of music.  Its got me humming!! Bottling in March and due to be released around Chelan Nouveau celebration, the last two weeks in April (2009).  Come get some!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

I’m shocked I tell you , shocked!!

Posted by Judy Phelps on January 20, 2009

We are in the process of remodeling the tasting room more  in keeping with our theme of the old Edgemont Lodge and the ladies that worked there. Think red velvet,  fancy french lingerie, feather boas…!

To that end I’ve been shopping for wallpaper and found this  naughty pattern.

Look Closer

Look Closer

From a distance it looks quite innocent but I think that it will look great on one or two walls in the tasting room. What do you think?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher on Washington State Syrah

Posted by Judy Phelps on January 18, 2009

I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal mainly to read Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher’s article each week on wine.  I love their writing and their honest, no-nonsense descriptions of wine. If you love reading wine reviews you have got to seek them out and start reading this column, always so informative and entertaining. This week they reviewed Syrahs from Washington. In a nutshell they loved them  and said that Washtington Syrahs were  ‘bringing back the “wow” that Zinfandel used to pack”.  I am smiling widely because I know this. Read the review here.

For those of you that have tasted Hard  Row’s Syrah, you know that “wow” feeling and I always say to people that you can’t go wrong with a Wahluke Slope (Columbia Valley) Syrah. Most of them, including ours I might add, are excellent.

Thanks for the recognition Dorothy and John.  It is a shame that Washington Syrah’s are not very widely distrubuted. However many small, boutique wineries such as Hard Row to Hoe do ship out of state. I hope this review gets more people tasting these fantastic wines! Call us at the winery at 509-687-3000 and we’d be happy to send you some.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

2008 Harvest

Posted by Judy Phelps on January 6, 2009

barrelsNow that the 2008 harvest has come to an end and the wines are tucked away in the barrels, it is time to develop some preliminary impressions.


 I just tasted all the wines from 2008  over the past week and I’m convinced we all did a great job. I am really happy about this vintage the wines so far are superb.

 My team did excellent work in the in the cellar as well as in the vineyards. Higher acids than usual will produce some really fine, crisp whites, especially the riesling and sauvignon blanc. Although it will be at least another 12 months before we make the first red blends, it is already clear that we have great wines in our barrels. The single-varietal wines all show a terrific balance in color, acidity, alcohol and tannins. This is a great feeling!

Next we have to focus our attention on  bottling; first the 2008 whites in March and then the 2007 red wines in June (the vintage 2007 is also a beauty).  

It’s a nice feeling to see the last wine get into barrel, get all the equipment clean, one last time for the season,  and  get it put it away until next year. The fermenters are all stacked up and out of the way, and the barrels are all lined up in their tidy rows in the barrel room. The work is never completely done, but it is a good feeling to have survived another harvest

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Wino Magazine

Posted by Judy Phelps on January 5, 2009

Wino magazine has been devoting some ink to us in their Sept/Oct and their Nov/Dec issues.  In Sept/Oct they did an article called “Women of Wine: Behind a good wine stands a strong woman”  where they featured me plus 4 other female winemakers in the state. Brooke Young wrote the article. Its still a male dominated field but women have great palates and are able to make wine that have more femnine touch… less tannin, less oak, less acid but smooth and rich. That is what I shoot for anyway.

Also Wino picked the Hard Row label as “label of the month” and had a nice write up and an explanation of our double entendre. Check it out here.

Its a great new magazine and they give it away free!  Look for it at your local wine shop or winery and if you don’t see it, ask for it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

New Year Quiet Time

Posted by Judy Phelps on January 3, 2009

Its been another year at Hard Row / Balsamroot. Our second full year and the best one ever. With the economy in the dumps we were expecting the worst. But the new name and the great new wines have kept us growing and improving this past year.

snow, sun, peaceIts a quiet time of year. The highways over the mountain passes have been closed so not too many visitors to the tasting room although yesterday and on New Year’s the limos were out and about. Wapato Point Resort also is booked full so we get folks who are staying there dropping in. Many of the other wineries in the area are closed for winter. But we’ve got the bonfire burning and on some of these cold but sunny days its fun to sit around it and roast a marshmallow ( or three) and RELAX with a glass of wine. Sounds good.
My New Year’s resolution? To get our wines out to the Seattle-area so they are available at wine shops and restaurants. If you have any suggestions of places where you’d like to see our wines, please let us know. Think I’ll wait until the weather is a little better though.
The December wine club wine has shipped and should be sitting in your wine cellar if you have not already opened it and drank them. Save the Barbera for a special occasion.. it is really one of those bottles that deserves it. And the o8 reds, in the barrel, have finished malo-lactic fermentation. Yeah!! So the two big  tasks of December are behind me.
Don and I will be heading up the Echo Ridge today.. for the first time this season to do some x-country skiiing and see the new yurt up there. Rudy’s got the tasting room covered. Echo Ridge Skiiing
The snow make the hillsides so beautiful and peaceful. I need this time of year just to relax, ski a little and maybe sit outside with you all around the bonfire and enjoy some vino. Hope to see you at the winery soon.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Judy Phelps on January 3, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »