As many of you may have heard, Fidelitas is closing its doors for the holidays beginning December 18th and will re-open on January 2nd. The reason being? Well, it seems that our members really, really, really loved the 2015 vintage reds. And now we are SOLD OUT! Did anyone see that coming? I know how much you would love to come in and chat it up with Will in Woodinville, or Chelsea on Red Mountain. But, it’s just not as fun when they don’t have wine to pour you. This is also a great time for the Fidelitas team to sit back and celebrate a wonderful 2018 with their families.
We have some exciting things to come in January including the brand new 2016 Red Mountain Malbec. Everyone’s favorite black label! An invitation was also just sent out to our Optu and Magna members inviting them to the Preview Tasting which is being hosted on Sunday, January 13th both in Woodinville and on Red Mountain. If you haven’t already, make sure to reserve your two tickets online! This will be your only opportunity to taste these highly allocated wines prior to selecting allocations.
Just a few days remaining to come in and snag those last-minute bottles for the holidays. Come in and visit us so we can cheers to exciting things to come in 2019!
First off I'd like to apologize to our members who have their wine shipped or pick up at our Red Mountain tasting room - I promise I'm not forgetting about you and thank you for being loyal members! But as our Woodinville tasting room manager, I figured I'd speak to my strengths. Even if you aren't one of our members who picks up their wine in Woodinville there still should be plenty of good information in here.
If you haven't been to one of our Preview Tasting you need to check them out. There's one in January and one in July - available in Woodinville and on Red Mountain. Taste through the future releases and choose your club allocations as your tasting the wines. It's the best way to make sure you get exactly what you prefer for your allocations.
Preview Tasting is scheduled for January 13th in Wodinville at the Hollywood schoolhouse (a 2 minute walk from our tasting room) and January 13th on Red Mountain - keep an eye out early December for the email to make your time slot reservation
Plus, you may get the chance to meet our rockstar winemaker:
Check out our recently updated Wine Club FAQ page
Next time you're in the tasting room ask us if we have anything else open - we often have club-only pours available!
If you're finding it difficult to make it out to Woodinville we also offer flat-rate shipping on club allocations + we recommend shipping it to your business address so there's always someone there to sign
Follow us on istagram, facebook, and check our events calendar which is updated frequently
On busier days there is parking available behind Brian Carter - parking area highlighted - red arrow is a path that leads to the parking lot:
Fidelitas fans made this year one to remember. We launched a brand-new way for our members to buy Fidelitas wines; allowing the Club to select from our newest releases and create their own, unique allocation. Through the loyalty and dedication of our Club, we have now (nearly!) sold out of every wine we released in 2018. These faithful, loyal, and true members push us to keep ‘making our best wine yet’ as we look for new ways to surprise and delight them in vintages to come.
Magna Dinner, Red Mountain, July 2018
Summer in the City, Seattle, August 2018
Charlie is what makes our jobs easy. Obviously, he makes amazing wines, and that is the best part. But he’s also just an amazing guy to work for and work with.
This year, Charlie was awarded 2018 Vintner of the Year by his peers at the Auction of Washington Wines. This recognition gave credit to the 30+ harvests he has committed to making wine in Washington. Charlie’s effort and dedication, along with that of his peers, is what continues to advance the Washington wine industry.
Charlie Hoppes, Honorary Vintner, and Marshall Edwards, Honorary Grower, at the Auction of Washington Wines, August 2018
Skye, Jess, Will, Charlie, and Michelle at the AWW Picnic and Barrel Auction, August 2018
We call this tiny AVA home. At just 4,040 acres, with nearly every plant-able acre now under vine, this is a really special place. Charlie often remarks that there are only a few growing regions in the world where you can stand in one spot and see the whole AVA, block by block. The unique terroir, devoted growers, and outstanding neighboring wineries, have established Red Mountain as one of the most premium wine producing regions in the world.
Fidelitas Estate Vineyard on Red Mountain, September 2018
Estate Vineyard Dinner, September 2018
We’d be nowhere without our staff! On a very personal level, I am so grateful to have such a dedicated, positive, and all around great team representing Fidelitas every day. They tell our story and share the wines with our customers, sweep the floors, pack boxes, haul wine, make dinner reservations, throw parties, and SO MUCH MORE.
Team Fidelitas Staff Vineyard Tours, July 2018
Team Fidelitas at the Mariners, June 2018
Team Fidelitas of the Future: Charlie and Brynn, January 2018
Seems simple enough. As a winery, you make wine, you pour wine, you sell wine. But our wines were somehow extra special this year and I am thankful for that.
10 of the 19 wines we released in 2018 were sold exclusively to our members in Club allocations, meaning they never even made it into the tasting rooms. We had exceptional releases such as varietal Malbec from Quintessence Vineyard, intense Cabernet from Blackwood Canyon Vineyard, old vine Merlot from some of the oldest blocks on Red Mountain, found in Kiona and Ciel du Cheval Vineyards, and of course our own Fidelitas Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
Washington wine is growing. Red Mountain wine is growing. But, Charlie’s longstanding relationships with growers allows us to select fruit from specific blocks to make exceptional wines for our members, and this is what sets Fidelitas’ wines apart.
Fidelitas 2018 Releases, start to finish!
Holiday season is about to kick off and I am still in shock that summer is over. Before you know it, you’ll be getting invited to different holiday events, family gatherings, and neighborhood block parties. Lucky for you, Fidelitas has your wine list covered. Bring any one of these bottles and you’ll be the hit of the party!
(Being released to members in November! Join the Club to get in on this limited release)
(Being released in November!)
To reserve any of these wines, please contact us! Inventory goes quickly this time of year so be sure to stock up now.
We love seeing what you are up to when drinking Fidelitas with friends and family! Be sure to share your photos with us this coming holiday season. Cheers!
Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
clones 2, 6, 8, 412, 33, 169
picked on September 26 + 27, October 10
fermenting in Oak Uprights, Oak Tanks, Roller Fermenters
Estate Vineyard Merlot
picked on September 18
fermenting in Oak Uprights, Oak Tanks, Roller Fermenters
Estate Vineyard Petit Verdot
picked on October 10
fermenting in Boutes Oak
Estate Vineyard Malbec
picked on September 26
fermenting in Stainless Steel
Estate Vineyard Cabernet Franc
picked on October 10
fermenting in Oak Uprights
I got a text from Charlie at 6:15 this morning with picutres of him doing pump overs. At that hour, I'm still dragging and dealing with the kids. Charlie's picture, however, showed him smiling, looking at the soon to be wine, while it's still dark outside. Is he a little bit insane? Maybe. But I'm starting to realize that is what harvest is all about.
Here are some memories of harvest over the years from both Charlie and his wife, Terri. Raising 4 kids and being a small business owner is no joke. Throw in some 14 hour work days, 6 days per week, and that's just fun for the whole family.
What were some of your first impressions those first few harvests, starting in 1988?
CHARLIE: It’s always been intense. My first few vintages were crazy, super busy at a big place like Langguth. I was thrown in to the mix quickly, running the crush pad before I really knew what I was doing. That’s Mike Januik’s fault…it was really overwhelming and exhausting. 12-14 hours per day with just Sundays off. After the first few years, I was much more comfortable. Especially being at Ste. Michelle, where the staff works like a machine to make it all happen.
Harvest this year seems like a constant juggling act. I’m thinking about 10 days out while Mitch is trying to figure out where we are putting the grapes that are coming in tomorrow. Hillary is constantly focused on the day to day…getting each wine through fermentation. On any given day, we’re doing 70 lots at a time. Pump overs started at 6 today, and at 9:30 he’s still going. We’ll start this all again at about 2:30 this afternoon.
I’m looking at the new guys and they really don’t know what they are getting in to. Not only is in physically exhausting, but mentally. But, they all come out with a greater appreciation. And I think it gets in to their blood. Some of the guys are turning around to do southern hemisphere harvest too.
TERRI: Was it intense? Yes! You put your life on hold during harvest. Not only is he gone physically but also mentally, but yet he was always there if we needed him to be. We felt like he was here and were his priority. Intensity for me was the worry of his long-distance commutes throughout different harvests - from Walla Walla, Mattawa, Wenatchee, etc. Once I heard him come through the door my prayers were answered - driving with so much fatigue isn’t the best!
Langguth/Saddle Mountain in 1988
Did you ever think that Charlie was insane for making a career shift from Boeing?
TERRI: Never - even if fall can be bittersweet each year. My wish to experience a fall foliage trip in New England with Charlie someday will just have to be a trip to the vineyards!
What are some traditions at home or in the cellar surrounding harvest?
CHARLIE: I always work on my birthday but we always managed to have a party when I came home at night. My birthday and harvest have always been closely related for me.
At the cellar, we’re playing Shakira every morning. This started for me at Three Rivers in 2000 with Holly Turner after she had worked harvest in Mendoza. We’re able to do it with Spotify now…which we definitely weren’t doing in 2000. Nowadays, the cellar crew is requesting it to start the day.
I also try to help the crew out during harvest. Sometimes we’ll do a big bbq for lunch or even go out to breakfast, just to break the monotony. Many years, we’ll also host a lunch for the vineyard crew once the grapes are off the vines.
TERRI: I always remember when our family was young that Halloween was a big deal because Dad was finally home! Harvest was ending, and we would be normal again.
Are there any times Charlie fell asleep at the dinner table after working in the cellar all day? Any other dirt on him?
TERRI: No - no funny story to share about falling asleep. He was just always trying to stay awake once he gets home! And then always waking in middle of the night for a while thinking. He is never able to really rest until end of harvest.
Is there anything you both like to do as you finish up the harvest season?
TERRI: It’s hard to unwind at the end of harvest, especially when you are working many, many weeks with no days off. We just enjoy the time to rest and catch our breath! We’re always looking forward to holidays with family and can’t wait for a new grandbaby coming into our world in a few weeks!
CHARLIE: Just take the time to slow down. You know, in some ways Terri is the one who has really put in all the work. She takes over and raises the family, which is not easy, during fall especially.
This year, we are just really looking forward to meeting our new grandbaby.
At Fidelitas this month we’ve brought in fruit from our neighborhood growers as well as our own Estate. All fruit is hand-picked and then transported to our facility in Richland, where it will undergo fermentation, barreling, and eventual bottling. Here’s a brief rundown of what Charlie and the crew have been working hard on these past weeks!
Handpicked clusters come in on the rakis, so upon arrival at the cellar, they will be de-stemmed and sorted.
Here is some of the Fidelitas Estate Malbec after a 3-Day cold soak. Charlie and the team will pump over this fruit twice a day to ensure heat dissipation and a balanced maceration. Inoculation will occur by mixing our chosen yeast strain into each tank. Right now the residual sugar in this particular lot is sitting at about 10.1 Brix, which means it has a few days to go!
After fermentation is complete and most of the sugar has been converted, the team will begin pressing the fruit. Charlie prefers to use a Basket Press shown below- this is a gentle method of pressing that doesn’t extract all the juice, but will also result in a softer extraction of green flavors and tannins.
The wine will be removed and “racked” which is a method of filtration
While talking with Charlie today he became animated discussing all the new oak treatments he’ll be implementing and the new fermenters purchased which will debut this vintage. Here he is explaining his new roller fermenters:
Stay tuned for this show-stopping vintage! Charlie is excited about them already!
This is our first official harvest off the 2015 Fidelitas planting! One of the most exciting things of the year is pulling fruit for a brand-new vintage. Especially when it comes from our Estate Vineyard which by early next week we'll have most of the Merlot picked. Who’s ready for some Estate Merlot? Our Cabernet Sauvignon is at 24 brix and Charlie is planning to let it hang on the vines for another 2 weeks or so if everything goes according to plan with the weather.
We’re getting active in Quintessence Vineyard as well, snagging some Merlot and Cabernet Entav clones 169 + 191, and hoping to pick some Malbec by early next week.
Given the warm weather we had in August it has compressed our window and we are expected to be done picking by the end of the month. Woah! We've seen Cabernet Sauvignon ready in so many vineyards we source from that we are just going to continue to pick and move fruit into the cellar as fast as we can.
As many of you know, its club processing time this week! Charlie decided to stop by to say ‘hello!’ to us girls and asked if we have listened to the Shakira station on Spotify. Turns out, this is all they have been listening to in the cellar. Nothing like dancing to Shakira on a ladder while doing Punch Down’s!
Harvest 2018 is here! This year we stepped up our game and brought new elements of modern craft winemaking to our whites. This means you get more, delicious, Bordeaux style whites from us and our crew gets to have some fun with their new toys in the cellar…win, win!
Fidelitas kicked off harvest last week with the Klipsun Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and a little bit of Semillon. The cellar crew is fresh and full of energy, ready to get this harvest undertow!
You may remember this spring when we introduced “Edith” our concrete egg. This will be her first official harvest. The egg shape increases lees contact because of the wider base and natural convection motion of fermentation. It also offers a unique minerality which will add more depth to white blends. Isn’t she a beauty??
What makes it even more special is that this is the first time ever that we are co-fermenting our Optu White blend! This means that both the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are aged together inside the concrete egg instead of being blended as separate wines. We also have lots of Optu White fermenting in barrels like previous years, but we’re excited to experiment with concrete co-fermentation.
Yesterday we brought in our highly sought-after Quintessence Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. Just take a moment to take in those plump and juicy green grapes.
More good news…this vintage we have not one but two Ovium barrels for this wine. The Ovium barrel is one of a kind in the U.S., made specifically for Sauvignon Blanc. This means we are taking our 50 case production of Quintessence Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc to 88 cases to be released Spring 2019. (Get your name on the list now.)
Today we're picking our first red, Merlot from Quintessence Vineyard, and expect our first Cabernet to come in next week. Stay up to date with Harvest 2018 updates by following us on Instagram + Facebook or check back in on our blog weekly.
As we’ve been celebrating Charlie for the last several months as this years’ Honorary Vintner we finally had the chance to celebrate with a week’s worth of festivities. We kicked everything off last Wednesday with the Annual Kick-Off Party that took place over in Woodinville.
Then on Thursday, we participated in the Annual Picnic + Auction. Our Team was representing Fidelitas as we featured some of our favorites, the 2016 Optu White Wine and the 2015 Red Mountain Malbec. Then for the Barrel Auction itself, we featured our 2017 Quintessence Malbec which happened to be what we were auctioning off for the evening and five lucky bidders snagged a case each of this unreleased wine.
On Friday evening we hosted an intimate gathering for Charlie’s family and close friends at our Woodinville Tasting Room. This might have been one of the more fun events, we had the chance to all get together chat, and open some of our favorite vintages, including a few bottles of bubbles to aid in the celebration. It was a lovely evening as we celebrated Charlie’s 30th Harvest. One thing Charlie recently said to all of us was, “I’ve only had 30 tries’ at making wine.” And that really resonated with all of us, for someone who’s been apart of the industry for so long, it’s humbling to know the recipe is always changing and we are always trying to make the best wine yet!
Saturday was the big Auction of Washington Wine’s Gala at Chateau St. Michelle, and it was a beautiful evening. We all gathered together for the big event which raised nearly $4.1 million for Seattle Children’s Hospital and WSU Viticulture and Enology Program. Our piece of Red Mountain: Vintner’s Experience, which we hosted along with the Honorary Grower, Marshall Edwards was auctioned off for $25,000. We are all so thrilled to have been a part of the festivities this year and to have had the opportunity to celebrate Charlie!