Experience Harvest Season with the Lake Chelan Crush Festival

The end of the water sports season is always a little bit bittersweet for us; time to take a well-deserved rest, but also time to say goodbye to all the fun we have (and share with our customers and friends!) out on the lake. At least until it all starts up again next summer!

Fortunately, Fall holds a few treats in store for Chelan. It’s still typically sunny here, but the foliage begins to shift from green to the brilliant oranges, reds, and yellows we associate with Autumn. It’s warm and hospitable, but quite different from Summer.

And as you probably already know, Lake Chelan is a world-class wine region. Fall brings perhaps the most exciting time of the entire year for wine lovers: The crush, when ripe grapes are harvested and crushed, the first step in making delicious wine.

Chelan celebrates the crush with a yearly festival called, naturally, Lake Chelan Crush Festival. This year, it falls on two consecutive weekends: October 7 – 8 and 14 – 15. Here’s a little taste of what you’ll find there.

Pressing the Grapes

The Crush Festival is an excuse to throw a big party, but it’s also an actual process. Grapes are picked and stemmed, then sent into giant stainless-steel juicers (no, we don’t use our feet for that anymore). At this stage, the wine is just grape juice (many winemakers will set aside some for you to try!); it’s the addition of yeasts that sparks the fermentation into wine.

Winemaker Dinners

We love wine on its own, but it’s almost impossible to separate it from delicious foods! Many of our favorite local wineries are hosting special winemaker dinners, harvest meals, and other culinary celebrations of the end of the season. Check this Wine Events page for updates about specific meals and activities, or browse the list of Chelan wineries to contact the wineries you’re most interested in visiting.

Winery Parties and General Merriment

Of course, actual wine tasting is limited to adults of legal drinking age, but many wineries are planning family-friendly, all-day events featuring live music, dancing, tastings and more. Just as for the special harvest dinners, check back with the Wine Events page as we get closer to the Festival for updates and announcements of new harvest parties.

We hope to see you for this end-of-summer finale; it’s such a sweet way to end the season and welcome in the change to Fall. To help you plan your Crush experience, here’s a list of Chelan Valley wineries; many will be hosting dinners, parties, live music and more!