Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Upcoming Event: 2015 Taste Washington - 3/26 to 3/29/2015 - Various Locations

We have kicked off March of 2015 and Washington Wine Month is in full effect! Who doesn’t love an entire month dedicated to the amazing wines that are produced from our great state? One of the best parts of Washington Wine Month is that it is capped off with Taste Washington, the nation’s largest single region wine and food event. Taste Washington is so much more than just the Grand Taste. This year’s 4-day extravaganza, held March 26th through 29th, includes several different events where you can sip some of the finest wines Washington’s many AVAs have to offer. So let’s a take a look see at all the fun, shall we?

The Red & White Party – Thursday March 26, 2015 – AQUA by El Gaucho

Everything kicks off with a VIP experience like none other. Start your Taste Washington off right on the Seattle waterfront at the elegant AQUA by El Gaucho. Enjoy exclusive pours from magnums of 90+ point Washington wines, including Andrew Will Winery, Avennia, Baer Winery, Corliss Vineyard, Côte Bonneville, DeLille Cellars, Efesté, FIGGINS, ForceMajeure Vineyards, Januik, Leonetti, Long Shadows Vintners, Mark Ryan Winery, Sleight of Hand Cellars, Sparkman Cellars, Woodward Canyon, and more. Show off your red and white best at this second annual event and also enjoy appetizers from Executive Chef Wesley Hood and live music from The Ben Fleck Trio. Get your tickets here.

Taste Washington on the Farm – Friday March 27th, 2015 – Various Locations

A fun new twist to this year’s events is Taste Washington on the Farm, a series of lunches bringing wine and food lovers to local farms to meet the people who grow and produce the gourmet, artisanal products for which the Pacific Northwest is known. Lunches will take place Friday the 27th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests will meet farmers, get their boots dirty and enjoy a delicious menu paired with Washington State wine. Transportation to each location is provided by Evergreen Escapes, departing from the Washington State Convention Center at 10am and returning at 4pm.

Three lunch experiences are available to choose from:

Experience #1 – Cheese bliss at Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island

Host and featured chef: Kurt Timmermeister of Kurtwood Farms, a pioneer of the artisanal cheese movement in the Northwest.
Winery: Chris Camarda of Andrew Will, a Vashon Island winery that specializes in single vineyard designates and red blends and is one of the pioneers of Washington State wine
Special guests: Robin Pollard of Pollard Coffee, a Vashon Island microroaster; & Laura Cherry of Dragon’s Head Cider, also on Vashon Island, home to 1,500 cider fruit trees

Experience #2 – Exploring the lush Snohomish Valley at Willie Greens Organic

Host: Jeff Miller of Willie Greens Organic, a Monroe-based family farm that produces more than 50 varieties of vegetables and berries
Featured chef: Sam Crannell of Lloyd Martin, an award-winning restaurant in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood
Winery: Robert Ramsay of Robert Ramsay Cellars, a Woodinville-based boutique winery focusing on Rhone varieties such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre
Special guest: Dan Albert of Farmbox Greens, a year-round urban grow operation that produces tasty, highly nutritious microgreens for consumers and commercial kitchens

Experience #3 – A Deep Dive into Oyster Growing at Taylor Shellfish on Samish Bay

Host: Marcelle Taylor of Taylor Shellfish family-run company credited with starting the bivalve revolution in the 1980s
Featured chef: The Taylor Shellfish culinary team from their Seattle oyster bars will be on hand to shuck and serve lunch
Winery: Kevin and Julie Cedergreen of Cedergreen Cellars, a family-run winery is a family winery that was started in 2002
Special guests: Trap Landry of Britt’s Pickles, who will talk about good-for-your-gut fermented foods and the art of natural fermentation

Space is most definitely limited in these extraordinary lunches, so be sure to get your tickets soon! You can get tickets here.

The New Vintage – Friday March 27th, 2015 – Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

 We may all remember a fun and lively event normally held in November known as 20something, the new vintage. Well the Wine Commission has re-formulated this fun affair and brought it back as part of the Taste Washington festivities! The New Vintage is being held at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, from 7-10pm on Friday the 27th. Sip wine from more than 40 Washington wineries pouring new vintages and traditional favorites, and pair your wine with bites from award-winning chefs. So slip into your Friday night best and spend the evening sipping delicious wine, enjoying amazing bites and dancing the night away. This will likely sell out early, so get your tickets here!

The Seminars - Saturday & Sunday March 28th & 29th Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

Taste Washington features a weekend full of educational wine seminars held at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. Led by top national wine personalities and sommeliers, the topics showcase various aspects of Washington wine. The Taste Washington Seminars are always very entertaining, educational, and definitely allow you to sip while you learn! Not only are you learning first hand from some of Washington’s producers and other industry leaders, you taste along with that learning. There are three seminars on Saturday and another three on Sunday. For full details on each seminar, panelists, and wines/ciders being poured, please visit the event page.

The Grand Taste – Saturday & Sunday March 28th & 29thCenturyLink Field Events Center

Last, but CERTAINLY not least, is the Grand Taste, held over a 2-day span on Saturday and Sunday the 28th and 29th. This tasting features hundreds of Washington wineries from all over the state, local restaurants serving up their finest bites, various exhibitors, and demonstrations on the Alaska Airlines Chef Stage. I will tell you from my experiences as a past attendee, you MUST make a game-plan for the Grand Taste. If you go in with no plan you will be overwhelmed (though in a good way…) and likely miss out on some favorites you want to catch. There are several wineries that pour at the Grand Taste that you do not see at other Washington tasting events. Make sure to visit them and visit them early! Some of the high end wineries pour out very quickly and it’s such a treat to be able to try wines you may never have a chance to again. Once the 2015 event program is released, print out the map (which is coded by section making it easy to figure out what is where) and make your notes of what wineries and restaurants you want to be sure to get to. It’s that simple! This is an amazing tasting event that will stimulate your senses all afternoon long. The VIP experience gets you in an hour earlier than everyone else (very much worth it if just to avoid the crowds), a VIP swag bag, and access to an exclusive lounge area. You can pick up a single-day ticket or a two-day pass, and you can find ticket information here.

Is that enough options for you? Taste Washington 2015 is going to be a blast, so get your tickets secured to one (or all?) of the fabulous events being offered and get ready to enjoy Washington’s finest!

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