The McCrea Cellars winery is located in a lovely country setting with a stunning view of Mt. Rainier. We're a half-hour from Olympia, the State capital, and benefit from being only about an hour south of Seattle, with its many fine restaurants, markets, and cultural riches. Our lush, green maritime zone has a moderate climate with warm summers and occasional winter snow. Puget Sound is very close, offering superb boating, while in the opposite direction, Mt. Rainier provides outstanding alpine hiking, and only about an hour from the winery. These are the reasons we live here, rather than across the Cascades at our vineyards. It's worth the three hour drive, a beautiful one at that, and it's great having a business that's a "tale of two worlds", the verdant environment of Western Washington and the expansive, dramatic, desert setting of Eastern Washington.
Both our home and winery are located on a twenty-acre property, so our lifestyle resembles that of many European winemaking families. It's handy to simply walk a few hundred feet down the hill to the winery at any time necessary. Most of the property will remain untouched, however, we plan to plant a small vineyard on a rather steep, south-facing, rocky hillside below the facility.
The new winery, completed for the 2005 crush is the realization of many years planning. The facility consists of two buildings connected by a steel covering that functions as the crush pad. One is the barrel room, and the other is a larger dual building with one room primarily providing multi-purpose use while the other is the tank room and production area. Two huge, custom doors create a riveting entry into the main room. The winery appears sleek and modern and has already provided excellent efficiency, promoting total quality control over all aspects of winemaking, from grape to bottle.
Our wines are produced in a somewhat low-tech manner. Reds are gently de-stemmed directly into two ton fermenters, cold-soaked for a few days, innoculated for fermentation and punched down several times daily until being transferred to barrel. All of the tanks are "de-juiced" rather than having the entire must put through the press. Some of the wine ages for just under one year, while the remaining wine is bottled around 16 months following the vintage. The latter are our vineyard-designated wines and our barrel select wine 'Cuvee Orleans.'
Our whites are pressed whole-cluster then the juice is transferred either to stainless steel tanks where it ferments very slowly at low temperatures or to barrel for fermentation, enhancing complexity and creamy mouthfeel.
We believe that great wines are made in the vineyard - it's there the stage is set, driving the ultimate quality of the wine. We view ourselves as guardians of the grapes, mostly letting them tell us the course to take with very minimal intervention. Winemaking requires many critical decisions and considerable science, yet intuition plays a major role. The winemaker enhances the essence of the grapes, in a sense, a personal signature that cannot be replicated. Ultimately, a great amount of time and care is spent in blending, constructing the wines' enhanced complexity, balance, texture, and fruit intensity. That's what makes us uniquely McCrea!