Summer’s Dog Days & Rolling Bay Winery

The dog days of summer are unusually doggy here in ExplorationKitsap land. We normally enjoy temperate daylight weather to do our thing, but with successive days of 90 degree plus temperatures and hazy skies from the fires in Canada, I’m reversing my active time of day. This morning I went for a power walk, shopped for groceries, watered and dead-headed my outdoor plants and baked up some barbecued chicken, all before 8 AM to take advantage of cooler weather. Last night I sipped a glass of my favorite local wine in the dark on my deck for the same reason.

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Fusion is a white blend made by Rolling Bay Winery, a Bainbridge Island establishment with a river rock tasting room resembling a Hobbit house. Fusion is my favorite wine to drink while listening to live outdoor music on the tasting room patio; my favorite wine to drink in the dark on my deck and my favorite wine in which to drop frozen peach slices. Shhh. Don’t tell Alphonse de Klerk, Fusion’s affable Dutch maker that I do that. Though really….it’s the perfect dog days of summer libation.  It might also be best not to mention that I drink my peach infused Fusion in a copper Moscow Mule mug because if it’s good enough for vodka and ginger beer, it’s perfect for a lovely white table wine.

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Rolling Bay Winery has a schedule of tastings accompanied by live music throughout the summer at its Hobbit house location and exciting plans to open a second larger tasting room and production facility a few miles away.  Check them out. No Moscow Mule Mugs. No frozen peaches. Just a great selection of award-winning whites, reds and a rose served properly in a wine glass, sipped on a sunny patio/lawn to live music. What better way to while away summer’s dog days?

Olalla’s Winery and Vineyard

It seems an unusual place for a winery – past the elementary school which has been in existence in one form or another since 1888, beyond the grange hall turned community center, near the infamous property that once held a sanitarium made famous by the book, Starvation Heights. If you come to the Olalla Bridge where the annual New Years Polar Bear Plunge occurs, you’ve gone too far.

Yes, it seems an unusual place for a winery that prides itself on hand making wine using an ancient method originating with the early Greeks and Romans, but the new owners of Olalla Valley Winery are determined to turn the venue into a community gathering place and model for agritourism .

The vineyard and winery opened to the public in 2008 under previous owners Joe and Konnie Serka. When they decided to sell, neophyte vintners, Stuart and Mary Ellen saw the possibilities of combining wine, music, art and community in the vineyard and the tasting room. All summer they’ve been trying out wine tasting plus music on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. On Halloween they plan on hosting their official Grand Opening.

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The winery’s flagship wine is a red Golubok made of Russian grapes originating in Ukraine. The vineyard has a new section of Pinot Gris grapes that will (fingers crossed say the owners) be ready for the 2017 crush as will a Malbac and Cabernet Franc.

The enthusiastic owners have regular tasting room hours from noon to 5 on Thursday through Sunday.