Tap the barrel

To mark the beginning of another growing season and to remember the fruits of last year’s labor, Saint Croix Vineyard is taking a sneak peek at the 2016 vintage during a winemaker’s barrel tasting weekend.

During Memorial Day weekend, some of wineries of the Three Rivers Wine Trail will offer samplings of their mid-process wines, along with their regular tastings in an event called Tap the Barrel. A tasting of an unfinished wine at Saint Croix Vineyard will be included with the usual $6 wine tasting flight during the event.

“The winemaker has not chosen the wines yet for this year, but in past years we have done a sampling of a red wine and a port wine,” said Colleen Bartels from Saint Croix Vineyards.

The event started in 2009 as a way to celebrate the new growing season, and Bartels said visitors will be able to notice the differences in wines from a bottle and wines right out of the barrel.

“Each barrel of wine is unique and has its own characteristics,” Bartels said. “A winemaker will sample barrels and then will blend at least four barrels for bottling.”

Because of the blending of characteristics, single barrel wine may taste different than the winemakers desired finished product.

“By tasting a single barrel wine, you get to taste what a winemaker may taste,” Bartels said.

The Tap the Barrel event is noon to 5 p.m. May 27-28, with participation from some of wineries on the Three Rivers Wine Trail. For more information, visit 3riverswinetrail.com.

Contact Alicia Lebens at alicia.lebens@ecm-inc.com