Every year we are met with the same signs that summer is here. At Fidelitas it’s a once brown and bare vineyard turned to lush green, the release of our Semillon for patio season, and our dreadfully quiet tasting rooms once again filled with friends and new faces. One less obvious indicator that summer has arrived is bottling week at Wine Boss. There’s nothing like watching the bottling truck pull up knowing that soon the wine that been waiting in barrel for the last 2 years is finally going to make its way into bottle, and eventually out into the world.
Bill Hamlin of Custom Mobile Bottling spent much of his early career bottling and packaging fruit juices and wine at Ocean Spray then Chateau Ste. Michelle which is where he and Charlie met back in the ’90s. At that time, Charlie encouraged Bill to branch out on his own and what do you know, he just as well did it, and he’s arguably the best in the biz.
His mobile bottling truck doesn’t look like more than a semi-truck from the outside, but on the inside is state of the art bottling machinery. Most small to medium-sized wineries, like us, choose to use mobile bottling as it’s more cost effective than investing in a $50,000 bottling line that only gets used a few times per year. Instead, we call in the expert who does this every day. He and his truck are an invaluable part of the final process before wines get introduced into the world.
In addition, Bill uses a cross-flow filtration system for filtering wine before bottling. Yeasts that escape the filtering or fining process, for example, can result in refermentation in the bottle and can alter the flavor. His equipment is the best for filtering out all the leftover junk and leaves nothing but the purest juice. You can actually see and taste the difference between the wine before and after cross-flow filtration, the latter being less murky and much softer on your pallet.
His truck has a bottom-feed volumetric filler, designed to minimize splashing as the wine is transported into bottles. After the bottles are vacuum-sparged, wine pumped from tanks into the filler is measured into the bottles, and then automatically leveled to a consistent volume. Then bottles are sealed with a cork and pushed off the line and placed in boxes. From there the wines are palletized, 56 cases per pallet to be exact, and sent to Vintners Logistics until they are ready to be released.
This week we are bottling the 2017 vintage red wines for Fidelitas, roughly 7500 cases or 90,000 bottles. These wines will be released in 2020.
Honorable mention to our team of bottlers who put loads of manual labor on bottling day. Thank you for waking up with the sun and lasting through the long, hot, hours in the truck.
Ideas and facts for this post came from https://www.goodfruit.com/bottling-on-wheels/. Thank you for the great publication.
We prepped the days before getting everything ready for lots and lots of packing and formatted our email late in to the night Tuesday until it was just right. We fiddled with our UPS strategies making sure the promotion was set up correctly and you’d receive free shipping just like we promised. Team Fidélitas was in place ready to field calls and emails and tell you all about the amazing wines that we could send your way.
When we sat at the computer early Wednesday morning and tried to send the email, unfortunately, we ran into technical difficulties. Of course, this happens on Free Ship Day! The posts were already out on social media so we thought that would be good enough and we worked all day with the amazing support team at WineDirect to get our emails back on track and try the email again Thursday. It turns out that the Facebook and Instagram algorithm didn’t like our posts because it included text on the image. We got only 20 likes (shout out to you 20 people!).
Yesterday, technology was not on our side. The cool thing about it was the amazing people who worked together to resolve the issues and get us back on track today. Did you know that our small team sees every single order that comes in and, quite literally, does a little happy dance every time? Free Ship Day is more than a promotion to us. It’s a day when we get to send a little piece of Red Mountain out to all of our friends. We pack each box in house, by hand, with care obsessing over every detail.
Some days these are the tales of being a small business. We are so excited that today is (finally) Free Ship Day. We hope we get to send a piece of Red Mountain to you.
The Feast of St Fidelis is our longest running annual event dating back to when we first opened our tasting room on Red Mountain in May 2007. While this is only my 6th time attending, I must say the Feast is my favorite way to ring in warm Spring days on the patio while celebrating our wonderful members and the anniversary of making our home on Red Mountain.
Five Reasons You Should Attend the Feast This Year:
Members can purchase tickets here. See you in the taco line!
With our first releases of the year coming up in a matter of days, I need to take a moment to publicly recognize and honor a wine that is absolutely as good as one of our Cabernets and can stand up to our Bordeaux style blends with the best of them. I’m talking about our Red Mountain Merlot. “It’s just Merlot,” you say? This isn’t your classic Merlot that movies like Sideways put down back in the day.
Did you know that Charlie says Merlot is actually his favorite grape to make wine out of and fun fact: it’s also the most planted variety in France? Merlot is what put Washington on the map. When Charlie works on creating his various Merlots, he fondly remembers his early days as a winemaker, working with Merlot in the early 90s and wowing fellow producers from neighboring regions with the quality of Washington wine.
Most of the Merlots that we will release this year will be club only and highly limited including vineyard-designated Merlots from Quintessence and Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, plus the super sought after Old Vines Merlot. But first, in February, will come our 2016 Red Mountain Merlot which we intentionally make enough of to have in stock for most of the year. It's so good, we don't want to run out. Red Mountain Merlot is a wine we can relax with, enjoying bruit red fruit tones, and a bit of a spicy, dusty quality that we expect from Red Mountain wines.
This isn’t just Merlot, this is the Merlot that you can have in your cellar all year and never get sick of. To be released on Friday, February 8th. Click here to reserve yours.
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
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.
This July, during Team Fidelitas month, we'd like to say THANK YOU for being true to us.
Give us your feedback!
Current members let us know about your experiences as a Fidelitas Club member. TAKE THE SURVEY.
Are you a Fidelitas fan but not a member yet? TAKE THIS SURVEY to let us know how we're doing and what you'd like to see from us.
All survey respondents will receive a code for special pricing on their next order, and be entered into a drawing for a Team Fidelitas swag bag, including a t-shirt, wine opener, and water bottle.
Share the love.
Members invite your friends to join the Fidelitas Wine Club to receive a $25 referral credit and have the added bonus of hanging out with your friends at upcoming summer tastings and events.
Get the look.
We have a limited number of 2018 Team Fidelitas t-shirts and water bottles available!
This July, during Team Fidelitas month, we'd like to extend a special invitation to Join the Club. This month, new members will receive:
extra 5% off day of joining purchase | immediate member benefits | club concierge experience | access to Red Mountain’s top wines | Summer in the City party invite + Preview Tasting invite | complimentary tastings
JOIN NOW or learn more by connecting with our Club Concierge Team:
509.554.9191 | email@example.com
Whether crossing the country, the mountains, or planning a stay-cation right in your home town here’s your no thought required itinerary for the perfect weekend on Red Mountain!
Arrive and check into The Lodge at Columbia Point. Use code "CORK" for a special rate. Check in begins at 4pm. Check out their daily happy hour featuring Washington wineries from 5-6:30pm.
Head to dinner at Fiction Restaurant at Bookwalter. You can often catch live music on the patio!
If you’re feeling up for a night cap stop in at Tap + Barrel to pick and choose what you want to sip on from their WineEmotion. They have an amazing selection of wines from Washington, Oregon, California, and beyond. Plus beer, cider, and food available too!
Otherwise, head back to the hotel and get a good night sleep in those comfy beds…you’ll be getting an early start on wine tasting!
Enjoy the sunrise while drinking coffee on your hotel room balcony and be sure to fill up at the complimentary breakfast bar. Don't skimp on the carbs, you've got a full day of wine tasting on the slopes of Red Mountain!
11:00am start your day with a tour and tasting at Col Solare. Col Solare is a partnership between two influential wine producers who are recognized leaders in their respective regions: Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori and Washington State's Chateau Ste. Michelle. They are my favorite place to start because they give a great lay of the land during their tour and have a view overlooking Red Mountain vineyards.
12:15pm Come see us at Fidelitas! Grab a spot on the patio and relax while taking in the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard. If you let us know ahead of time we can even plan to have a cheese plate ready for you upon arrival. Feel free to do a self-guided tour through the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard (just be courteous of the vines) and don’t forget to check out the magnificent Library!
1:30pm Visit Red Mountain originals at Kiona. The William’s family planted the first vines on Red Mountain in 1975 and their family run winery has one of the best stories around, not to mention great wines from their Estate. My personal favorite is their Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon!
2:45pm Just down the road you will hit Frichette. Owners Greg and Shae are living their dream on Red Mountain and their energy is contagious. Pair that with a great glass of wine and you are set!
4:00pm Cross on over to Anelare. Here is truly one of my favorite experiences in the area! Anelare sits just outside of the AVA borders but has a divine view looking back at Red Mountain. Anelare sources grapes from some of our favorite vineyards including Ciel du Cheval and Boushey and makes an outstanding Syrah. Order up a flatbread and enjoy the view of Red Mountain!
5:15pm Find your way back to Sunset Road to go to Cooper for one last stop. He’s one of the only wineries open until 6pm and will be sure to have a handful of Estate grown wines open for you to taste and a fun and memorable experience.
After all this tasting you are definitely ready for dinner! Head back to the hotel, freshen up, and walk next door for some great eats. Don't forget to take your wine out of the car where it will get hot!
7:30pm Dinner at Budd’s Broiler. Budd's is a premier steakhouse owned by Anthony’s restaurants. Their patio sits alongside the Columbia River and is perfect for catching the sunset. I always order the ‘Steak Oscar’ which is Wagyu top sirloin grilled to your liking and crowned with Dungeness crab, asparagus and bearnaise. I should also mention Budd’s wine list is one of the best in the area! Go ahead, order a glass of bubbles with your appetizers. That’s what Charlie would do!
Walk off your meal with a stroll on the pathway at Columbia Point. This serenity is just what the doctor ordered.
Take advantage of those hotel room black out curtains and…SLEEP IN! Not into catching extra Z's? Run or walk the path along the Columbia River.
Walk over to Anthony’s for Brunch from 9am-2pm on Sundays. Upon arrival you will be seated with a complimentary fresh fruit plate, warm blueberry coffee cake (to die for), and a glass of bubbles or a mimosa. And that’s all before picking out what you’ll have for breakfast! I recently had the Northwest Dungeness Crab Cake Bowl and was in heaven.
By this point you’ll probably be ready to hit the road. At least you’ll have wine as a memento and reminder of your weekend away on Red Mountain. Cheers!
There's tons more to do in Tri-Cities and surrounding wine regions. For more reccomendations email me!
PRO-TIP: It is always best to book tasting reservations ahead of time. Appointments can be made by visiting a wineries website or giving them a call. You will most certainly get the most bang for your buck if you let wineries know you are headed their way so that they can prepare ahead of time for your visit. I usually plan for about an hour at each winery, or longer if they have a great patio to relax on or if you plan on doing a food and wine pairing. It’s always best to ask the winery how long you should plan for. The wineries listed in this post are no more than 5 minutes drive apart from each other.
Note this is not an inclusive list of all Red Mountain wineries. If you have time, do stop and visit more of our neighbors on Red Mountain! We are blessed to be among so many great wineries.
We’re finally coming into that time of year when things start to get really exciting on Red Mountain, and we have no shortage of events to celebrate all that is great about the wine and region we love. Plan your trip and party with us this spring!
visit the links for tickets and more information
Explore the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard that sits outside our Red Mountain Tasting room. Join us at the tasting room as we venture through the vines and make our way to the heart of our vineyard. We will then make our way back to the tasting room and enjoy a seated tasting of 5 wines, all sourced exclusively from Red Mountain.
Fidelitas is visiting our neighbors to the south, bringing a wine tasting event to you at Union/Pine in SE Portland. We invite members and friends to mix and mingle with winemaker, Charlie Hoppes, and Team Fidelitas while sipping on our newest releases and enjoying bites from White Pepper. Invite friends to join you at this event to taste Club only wines + the opportunity to receive joining prizes!
The Feast of St. Fidelis is a celebration of all things good on Red Mountain. We're kicking off spring on the mountain with our annual event for Fidelitas Club members. Join us for new releases and amazing tacos while taking in the sights of the vineyards.
We are hosting an intimate Winemaker Dinner on Red Mountain to showcase the spring vineyard designated wines, and wonderful foods of The Q Wood Fired Grill. We have just 18 seats available for this paired dinner showcasing Red Mountain, with Fidelitas Owner + Winemaker, Charlie Hoppes.
An afternoon on the Red Mountain patio with delicious BBQ and lively tunes.
Take in the sweeping views of Red Mountain and The Yakima Valley while enjoying the highly acclaimed, hand crafted wines by Honorary Vintner, Charlie Hoppes, expertly paired with a memorable meal.
The Auction of Washington Wines is proud to present the 4th Annual Wine & Music Festival in the beautiful Red Mountain AVA area. The Wine & Music Festival will feature live entertainment, tasty appetizers and tastings from 20 Washington wineries.
And we’re just getting started! Check out our events calendar for more summertime fun!
Contact the Fidelitas Club Concierge for trip planning assistance and recommendations:
firstname.lastname@example.org | 509.521.9319