Welch’s Vineyard Tour

Remember last year when I got to meet Alton Brown at the Welch’s Harvest Dinner? Well this year, Welch’s sent Amelia on a tour of the Welch’s concord grape vineyards in Washington! Check out her experience below!

(Post by Amelia Seith)

This past week, I had the amazing experience of traveling to Washington State to explore Welch’s vineyards during harvest time to get an inside look at how the concord grapes are harvested and processed into juice. This was my first trip to Washington State and landing in Seattle was exactly as I had always pictured- cold, wet, and dreary. Luckily, the stop in Seattle was just a short layover before hopping on a small plane to Pasco, Washington where it was warm, sunny, and the perfect desert like climate for growing concord grapes!

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The fun started nice and early on Tuesday morning when we boarded a bus to the Welch’s vineyard. We spent the hour bus ride introducing ourselves and talking with Welch’s 3rd generation family farmer, Tim Grow. It was so fun and exciting to meet other dietitians from across the country and hear about Tim’s family and the history of his farm. Tim knows everything there is to know about growing grapes and take’s great pride in producing a quality product. Concord grapes aren’t exactly table grapes (which is why they are used for making juice), but they still tasted delicious and were fun to eat!

First we hopped on board the harvester, and rode through the vineyards as it shook the grapes right off the vine and scooped them right up! We then moved onto the processing plant where we had in in-depth look at how the grapes are crushed and pressed into fresh delicious juice. The most amazing part of the process is that Welch’s grapes are picked at their peak ripeness and pressed into juice all within eight hours!

Welchs Vineyard Trip

After our tour, we returned to our hotel and enjoyed a nice lunch as we discussed the science and health benefits of 100% Welch’s grape juice. I was surprised to learn that Welch’s juice is full of heart healthy polyphenols that support flexible arteries and healthy blood flow. While whole fruit is best, a 4oz cup of grape juice does equate to a ½ cup serving of fruit and is an excellent source of vitamin C along with potassium, folate, and magnesium.

Being in a room full of dietitians, it was a given that a taste test would follow. Robin Plotkin, a dietitian on Welch’s Nutrition Advisory Panel conducted several cooking demos using Welch’s grape juice in a Mediterranean quinoa dish and a peanut butter oatmeal dessert. The tasting did not stop here though! We continued on to the Bookwalter Winery, where we enjoyed a delicious four course dinner featuring concord grapes, of course. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the sweet tasting grape complemented each course!

The Welch’s vineyard tour and harvest dinner was truly an incredible experience. It was so great to meet other dietitians and culinary experts across the nation and take in all the health benefits and culinary uses of Welch’s concord grapes!

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