Busy Time of Year for Local Winemakers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Busy Time of Year for Local Winemakers

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ZILLAH, Wash.--As people continue to celebrate Easter Sunday, winemakers start preparing for another holiday. Spring Barrel Tasting.

"58 barrels to taste and evaluate and come to conclusions, and then I've got tanks of wine also," said Paul Vandenberg, part owner of Paradisos del Sol. "I've got all these ingredients and every year at this time is when I start deciding what I'm going to make with those ingredients."

As temperatures warm up and the days get longer, the Yakima Valley starts filling up with tourists who spend their weekends traveling from winery to winery.

"Starting April, a day with zero people is pretty unusual," said Vandenberg. "We start seeing the number of people on a Saturday for instance, usually the busiest day of the week going from five or six people to 20, 30."

In four weeks, visitors from all over the North Pacific will come to local wineries for Spring Barrel Tasting. They'll get a chance to try young wine that's been stored in a large cooler.

"Now the wine's been in there sitting long enough, it's developed enough, we can really start to get a good feel of the characteristics and qualities of the wine of the future," said Vandenberg. "The wine that's in barrels, the wine that I'm not going to be selling for years."

Vandenberg said Spring Barrel Tasting allows people to get involved with the wine making process, a business that's vital to our economy.

The Yakima Valley Visitors and Conventions Bureau recently launched a spring campaign to attract visitors for wine touring and other recreational activities. They started online campaigns and even landed a Seattle radio commercial ad.