The husband-and-wife duo behind Chicago based vino Chasing Harvest travels the globe to create the perfect pour.
“Our winemaker friends think we are crazy to do two vintages a year,” says Michael Kush, who cofounded wine label Chasing Harvest with his wife, Jennifer, in 2009. But the grape-loving Andersonville residents wouldn’t have it any other way. After 23 harvests across five continents and eight countries, they homed in on Portugal’s Douro Valley and New Zealand’s Central Otago regions to make vino for their own label, flying from Northern to Southern hemispheres and thus “chasing” the harvest season every year.
“New Zealand and Portugal completely captured our hearts,” enthuses Jennifer. “Portugal is the oldest organized winemaking region, and we were the only Americans there.” In Portugal, the Kushes make both a Douro DOC Vinho Tinto red blend and Vinho Branco white blend with indigenous grapes, working with 130-year-old vines. New Zealand is the opposite, as Central Otago is the world’s southernmost wine region and one of the youngest. They’ve worked with different vineyards for each vintage of their Pinot Noir, capturing various subregional expressions of the same grape.
“Winemaking is very humbling,” Jennifer says. “Mother Nature… well, you’re at her mercy. You’re deciding when to harvest and press, but you don’t actually get to try the wine until much later. It’s like catching up with an old friend.” Available at In Fine Spirits, 5420 N. Clark St., 773-506-9463