PASCO — The calendar says September but at Preston Premium Wines outside Pasco they're humming The 12 Days of Christmas.
Drop by this weekend and you might take up the tune, too. And perhaps leave with a memento to keep you in Christmas spirits for months and years to come.
The winery's newest vintage, their 12 Days of Christmas collection, was released Friday. The collection is a case of 12 bottles, each sporting a snippet of the famous Christmas carol on the front label from the "Partridge in a Pear Tree" to "12 Lords a Leaping."
"It's an idea my dad's had for a while, 10 maybe 15 years," said Chenyn Preston-Johnson. She's the tasting room manger and daughter of Brent Preston, the man with the Christmas vision.
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"We've talked about doing this off and on for ages but it really began to come together about three years ago when we were interviewing our winemaker, Dave Harvey," she said.
That was June 2006. The Prestons were discussing their future plans and Brent mentioned his idea.
"Dave loved it and said we really need to do this before someone else does," Preston-Johnson said.
The Preston family and Harvey kept talking about Brent's idea until finally, last September, they launched their 12 Days of Christmas project.
And it was a project. Twelve different labels meant 12 different approvals from state and federal agencies.
"That took forever," Preston-Johnson said.
Designing the labels was another time-consuming task that fell to Preston-Johnson and the designers at Tapp Technologies in California.
"I had this vision in my head of some plates I'd seen. They were in funky colors but with an old school feel to them," she said.
The artwork changed many times but on Sept. 4 they were ready to label and box each collection.
"We limited it to 112 cases because we knew each case would have to be filled by hand to be sure there was one bottle of each label in every case," Preston-Johnson said.
Winemaker Harvey ran the labeling machine and Preston-Johnson, her husband Josiah Johnson, Brendt and his wife, Michele, checked each label as the bottles came off the line.
"We had to be sure they were on straight with no bubbles," Preston-Johnson said, adding, "It was a team effort and a quality control nightmare."
But they're already planning to do it again next year with different labels and perhaps a different red blend inside.
This year's wine is a cabernet-syrah blend, from grapes grown in the Columbia Valley.
"It'll probably always be a red, they hold up longer and we hope these will be keepsakes. Though I hope they drink the wine and keep the empty bottles," Preston-Johnson said.
The 12 Days of Christmas collection is available only at the winery just a few miles north of Pasco off Highway 395. The bottles are only sold by the case. Cost is $255.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org; more food news at www.tricityherald.com/lifestyles/food