PAGO Harvest Dinner with RUTH Lewandowski Wines at Frog Bench Farms
with owner/ winemaker Evan Lewandowski
Sunday, October 25th at 5:30pm
$65 food, $55 wine pairings + tax/gratuity
At Frog Bench Farms, 2404 E Blaine Avenue, SLC, UT 84108
Limited to 40 seats
There is an interesting phenomenon happening in the lives of winemakers right now, especially the small, independent ones out there. Motivation is at an all-time low. It’s an eerily depressive state. Getting feet on the floor and out the door, accomplishing the straggling late harvest winery tasks, the few pumpovers, punchdowns and pressings, barreling down, clean-up, machinery stashing, tracking and reports, bills, paperwork/email catchup...all seem to take forever and the desire is incredibly low. You can't quite put your finger on it, but you're moping around like a zombie, spinning your wheels in no real direction...and really just, well...cranky.
After speaking candidly to the fellow winemakers involved in the communal-style winery in which I find myself working during harvest, realizing we all feel this way right now...and we all feel this same way year after year about this time...I think I've come to understand this phenomenon in the winemaking world. We are harvest junkies. Harvest is two solid months of high pressure, immense adrenaline, insane effort, camaraderie and fun, and we become addicted to it.
I think back to no more than two weeks ago and the scene couldn't have looked more different. Even at midnight, after the third 4am wakeup call in a row, energy was yet incredibly high, the speakers in the winery were on the verge of blowing and everyone was bewildered, but all were smiling, making forward motion towards the goal of awesome wine. You take stock on what you, personally, still have to accomplish before you can make a move to your truck: wash/sanitize 14 half-ton picking bins, load said bins on truck and trailer and strap them down securely. If so-and-so is still washing down the press or the destemmer when you're done with that, of course you help them before you just take off. Soon it is 1:30 and you know you're about to make it the fourth 4am morning in a row. You have to, the grapes are ready NOW, the picking crew is lined up, and everything is in place. There is no other option. So you breathe deep, crack a few beers and hand them out, laugh with each other about how crazy the day was and go home smiling knowing another one is nearly on the horizon.
The daily set up, tear down, clean up...frantic, friendly assistance, the borrowing of cars, trailers, trucks, picking bins, tie down straps, picking crews, babysitters...camaraderie, cocktails, beers, irresponsibly long lunches...equipment breaking/exploding/disappearing and still Making. It. Happen. Because it has to. Harvest is literally 6-8 of weeks straight of “GO TIME” pandemonium. And then?
All of a sudden, everything is picked and pressed and you're crashing face first on the crush pad from your 8 week adrenaline rush. Good friend, and amazing winemaker Ryan Glaab, said it best about this coming down, when he admitted, “Beer doesn't even taste good.” That's when you know it’s serious...
In my mind, this completely explains the advent of the harvest festival. Harvest parties, harvest dinners, “End of Harvest” this, that and the other, were all contrived by harvest junkies not unlike the modern day independent winemaker. Regardless of crop, we're all pushed to our limits fueled by the adrenaline rush and the only thing that seems worthwhile at this point in our lives is to eat, drink, and celebrate what just took place.
Frog Bench Farms is wrapping up their harvest season as we speak, and are keen to celebrate. The culinary team at Pago, led by Executive Chef Phelix Gardner and Chef de Cuisine Dallas Olson, (who are nightly dinner-service junkies that work directly with the spoils of the harvest) is always looking for a celebration. Thankfully, because Ruth Lewandowski is “jones-ing” for that one last yearly fix. The grapes are picked, the equipment is clean, the wine is fermenting and there's nothing left but all that boring organizing and paperwork and surely I can't bring myself to do that just yet. I'd be willing to bet many of you lead similarly seasonally driven lives and could use a little something to ease fall's downward spiral as well. So join us Sunday, October 25th up at Frog Bench, the Sargetakis' amazing urban farm for the third iteration of this collaborative harvest dinner. Bring your hunger, a thirst, and something warm for when the temperature drops. Space is limited to 40 people, so make haste to purchase your seats in a timely fashion!
The fixed-price menu and wine pairings are $65 food and $55 wine + tax/ gratuity. Full menu below (vegetarian and gluten-free options also available).
Buy your ticket online and join us!
Evan Lewandowski, Owner, Ruth Lewandowski Wines
Scott Evans, Owner/Operator, Pago Restaurant Group