BY SUSAN WENZEL
Whidbey Life Magazine contributor
Sept. 18, 2013
How about a glass of wine with that farm tour?
The eighth annual Whidbey Farm Tour is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22. This kid-friendly and completely free event features the fruits (and vegetables, livestock, wines, crafts, and other culinary delights) of the labors of 14 island farms.
Spoiled Dog Winery is not on the Farm Tour this year, but if you’re into wine, you might maneuver your tour to add this stop for a special treat.
Like other island farmers, winery owners Jack and Karen Krug recognized that the mild temperatures and a series of diverse microclimates create perfect conditions for the cultivation of an array of farm goods ranging from beef, bees and mussels to blueberries, cabbage and grapes. The couple guessed right that their Maxwelton Valley property would be the ideal place to bring the dream of producing a line of noteworthy wines into fruition.
Indeed, Spoiled Dog Winery is home to several award winning labels, but it was the 2009 Estate Pinot Noir that validated the Krugs’ efforts by earning Double Gold at the 2011 Seattle Wine Awards when it was chosen as the “Best of the Best” by an elite panel of wine professionals.
“We grow the grapes for our specialty, our Pinot Noir, but we make many other exceptional wines including a Pinot Gris and our Deception Red and Pomo di Moro which is translated as ‘apple of love’ and made from heritage apples and pears grown right here on the property,” Karen Krug said.
Prominently featured next to the vineyard and orchard is a big gray barn which houses the winery and tasting room, where spoiled Australian shepherds Sami and Blue are often on hand to steal the hearts of visitors when they stop in to sample the aforementioned wines and perhaps select a bottle or two to enjoy at home.
One of the newest items available for purchase in the tasting room shop is verjus, a non-alcoholic “green juice” made from unfermented estate Pinot noir grapes and, in this case, is infused with locally grown Lavender Wind Farm lavender.
The verjus, a tantalizingly crisp non-alcoholic recipe alternative to lemon juice or vinegar, is not the only product at Spoiled Dog to highlight other island food purveyors. John Auburn of JW Desserts in Clinton crafts two savory cheeses exclusively for the winery by blending Spoiled Dog’s Crimson wine with gorgonzola and either fresh rosemary or basil.
Spoiled Dog Winery’s cooperative efforts with both Lavender Wind Farm and JW Desserts are of great importance to Krug who works tirelessly to showcase local foods and farms. Indeed, the Whidbey Island Farm Tour, was born of this desire.
“I wanted people to learn about local farms and visit them so they could fully understand the efforts of the agriculture community here on Whidbey Island,” she said.
“In many cases people were living right around the corner from a farmer and didn’t even realize it. Family farms are an integral part of the island, and I thought it was time they were recognized as such.”
While Spoiled Dog Winery is not officially on the Farm Tour this year, Whidbey Island Distillery and Whidbey Island Vineyard and Winery are, so plenty of chances to sample some wine and spirits made on the island. Plus, Karen Krug recommends their company.
Both are locally owned and operated by great people,” she said.
Click here for Whidbey Island Farm Tour information and to download a map of participating locations.
Visit Spoiled Dog Winery’s website for tasting hours, news and updates.
Susan Wenzel, food writer, believes in the power of locally produced food to fortify the health and wellbeing of both the individual and the community as a whole.