Columbia Valley Harvest 2012: Midway Report

Oct. 5, 2012  ̶  Harvest is here and how!  We picked our first grapes on September 6th and are now at the halfway point, with an estimated three weeks to the finish line.   The weather has been picture perfect over the last month, allowing the grapes to mature beautifully and the flavor profile and tannin development is spot on.  Winemakers never like to predict a vintage too early, but so far there are plenty of smiles around the cellar.

The sunny skies and warm daytime temperatures we’ve enjoyed at the winery in Western Washington have ruled the day in Eastern Washington as well this fall.  Both here and there, nighttime temperatures have been cool, and that’s one of the great secrets to the quality of Columbia Valley wine grapes.  The warm days and cool nights this time of year allow the fruit to ripen completely, producing striking flavors and juicy acidity in the finished wine.

All our whites have now been picked and are fermenting in tank or barrel.  This weekend, we will be crushing Syrah and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you’d like to see crush in action for yourself, Novelty Hill Januik is the place to come for a bird’s eye view.   Visitors are welcome to watch grapes move through the crusher-destemmer from the observation deck on the top floor of the winery.  The fermentation room (shown in the picture) is visible from the glass-enclosed hallway.  Watch red wine pumpovers or barrels being filled here before they are moved to the aging room.  When we have grapes to share, the cellar crew will bring up samples to the tasting bar, always a fun experience to taste just-picked fruit followed by a sip (or two) of a finished wine.

Mike Januik Looks Back on 25 Years of Washington Winemaking

Mike Januik, Washington WinemakerThe Washington Wine Commission is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2012, and to mark the occasion the Commission is profiling 25 Washington State wine industry ground breakers who have been at the forefront of Washington wine over the last quarter century.  Read Leslie Kelly’s interview with Mike Januik to learn more about his career in Washington winemaking and gain insight on how his winemaking style has evolved over the years.  More at


Mike Januik, Januik and Novelty Hill Wineries

Mike Januik’s been called “the king of Merlot”, but that’s not a crown he’s much interested in wearing.

“I don’t want to be the king of anything,” said the soft-spoken native of California who has been making wine in Washington State since 1984. “As much as I love making wine and drinking wine, there are more important things in life. Like spending time with family, traveling and hiking on the Olympic Pennisula.”

Not that he’s crowing, but Januik has much to be proud of over the course of his long career, which began with a chance meeting on the campus at University of California-Davis, where he got his masters in enology and viticulture.

Seattle Met Names Novelty Hill Januik Among Best Washington Wines

Novelty Hill Januik Among Best Washington WinesWashington wines critic extraordinaire Sean Sullivan has compiled his annual list of favorite Washington wines for Seattle Met magazine’s Sept. 2012 issue, and we’re pleased to be named to the list five times for the following wines, all currently available from the winery: 2009 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Novelty Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, both Columbia Valley; 2009 Januik Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon; 2010 Januik Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay and 2011 Novelty Hill Estate Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. More at Seattle Met Sept 2012


Best Washington Wines: The 2012 List

Januik Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2009
Winemaker Mike Januik spent 10 years as head winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle before starting his eponymous winery in 1999. This is cabernet sauvignon at its most aromatic and rich with vanilla, cocoa, and dark cherry. 91 points — $30

Novelty Hill Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2009
Winemaker Mike Januik has a knack for making top-quality cabernet sauvignon at affordable prices. This appealing wine’s sweet cherry flavors are accented by vanilla, spice, and other oak notes. It’s a steal at this price. 91 points — $25 — Buy

Januik Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2009
This rare 100 percent cabernet sauvignon from one of the state’s top vineyard sites is as structured as a drill team, with chalky tannins and restrained fruit flavors. It should last in the cellar as long as you care to hold it. 91 points — $55 — Buy

Januik Chardonnay Cold Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley 2010
Though he left Ste. Michelle in 1999, winemaker Mike Januik continues to purchase grapes from the winery each year to produce this standout chardonnay. $30 — Buy

 Novelty Hill Wines Sauvignon Blanc Stillwater Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley 2011
Hailing from the winery’s estate vineyard, Stillwater Creek, this appealing sauv blanc is a riot of spices and tropical notes with a creamy feel on the tongue. $18 — Buy Features Winery Spring Wedding

Novelty Hill Januik Winery provided this new Mr. and Mrs. the perfect place to host their perfect fall fête.  And when such a gorgeous venue is taken to the next level with the gorgeous floral design of Mum Floral Design  – it all makes for a to die for affair. Angela & Evan Photography captured every moment so we could spend the afternoon getting inspired by all the pretty, and you can see it all in the full gallery of images!

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Washington Wine Country for the Insider

From the Wine Enthusiast

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