Crush Hour

Gorge Harvest in Hood River

Demonstrating the “push down,” Carey Kienitz, winemaker at Spring-house Cellar in Hood River, said 2012-13 are shaping up as prime wine years in the Gorge. Kienitz stirs the 1.5 tons of merlot grapes in one of 18 fermenting tanks that will fill the winery by the end of this weekend, one of the busiest times for wines in the area.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Demonstrating the “push down,” Carey Kienitz, winemaker at Spring-house Cellar in Hood River, said 2012-13 are shaping up as prime wine years in the Gorge. Kienitz stirs the 1.5 tons of merlot grapes in one of 18 fermenting tanks that will fill the winery by the end of this weekend, one of the busiest times for wines in the area.

Demonstrating the “push down,” Carey Kienitz, winemaker at Springhouse Cellar in Hood River, said 2012-13 are shaping up as prime wine years in the Gorge. Kienitz stirs the 1.5 tons of merlot grapes in one of 18 fermenting tanks that will fill the winery by the end of this weekend, one of the busiest times for wines in the area.

Crews up and down the Gorge are busy sorting, de-stemming and crushing the juice-filled orbs. It takes two hours every day for the by-hand “push down,” which is done to rotate and agitate the tannin-rich grape skins to ensure full flavor when the wine fully ferments.

“It’s like painting the Golden Gate bridge: once you finish you have to start again,” Kienitz said.

With Grenache, Cabernet, Sangiovese, Pinot noir and other grapes in the works for 2013 bottling, Kienitz is optimistic: “The 2012 vintage is going to be the one that blows people’s minds; for the red wines around here, 2013 is turning out the same way. The two years back-to-back will be a massive splash. 2012 was a perfect storm of ripeness and high acid and physiologically right fruit; it’s just crazy intense wines.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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