Explore Seattle Urban Wineries During #TryJanuary

It’s here – the fun way to make wine discoveries and break out of a Cabernet Sauvignon rut! Take the #TryJanuary challenge and explore Seattle Urban Wineries. The idea is to try new-to-you grape varieties, wines, and wineries. With over 80  varieties grown in Washington State, and a proliferation of tasting rooms in Seattle there is a lot to investigate. Make it even more entertaining and turn wine tasting into an inspired scavenger hunt of sorts. The resources below make it easy.

Disclosure: I am an associate member of Seattle Urban Wineries and a volunteer board member. My idea for the challenge was devised as a way to help wine consumers experience some fun during what can often be a dreary month. At the same time, my hope is to aid the wineries and locals employed by them in the often painfully slow month of January. I am not paid for my work on this. Thank you for all you do to help the local wine industry thrive!

Explore Alternative Varieties

Use the graphic below for inspiration to try some new-to-you varieties. By the way, these unsung heroes are typically priced less than the ever prevalent Cabernet Sauvignon. So if you discover a new wine that you want to take home, it might actually save you money!

Geeky Grape Varieties

For a closer glance at some of these selections take a look at Twenty Fun Red Washington Wine Varieties You Need to Try.

Visit Different Tasting Rooms

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Washington Wineries Attain Slow Wine Awards

The Slow Wine Guide USA 2022 is now available. This edition includes twelve Washington wineries. That’s nine more than the 2021 edition. Better still, two are recognized with Slow Wine’s top honors. Read on for some insights about the Washington wineries that attained Slow Wine awards.

Of the 36 wines published in the Washington chapter for this edition of the Guide, nine are named Top Wines. Of the wines sampled, these represent the finest bottles from a sensory point of view. From cool climate Madeleine Angevine to the state’s first commercial plantings of Sagrantino, the varieties represented showcase the diversity of grapes that can  successfully grow in Washington. Combined with styles ranging from carbonic maceration to well-made pet nats, the wines in this publication exhibit the exciting range of winemaking in the state. Continue reading “Washington Wineries Attain Slow Wine Awards”

Classic Glassware Gifts for Wine Geeks

The search to find just the right gift for a wine lover can be daunting. As someone who works in the wine industry, I offer  this round up of some classic glassware for wine geeks that I recommend in the hope to make it easier. In fact, these glasses are part of my personal arsenal.

In case you missed it, allow plenty of time for shipments to arrive this year. Inundated carriers and supply chains with challenges are ongoing themes. At the time of publication items were in stock. Just click on the images to order and get more details.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. When these links are directly used to purchase an item I may receive a small commission and do cartwheels at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Classic Glassware

Riedel Veritas Tasting Glasses

A set of proper stemware is a wine geek’s dream come true! This line of leaded crystal glass has an elegant presence partly attributed to the thin stems that give them an ultra-luxe feel, yet is dishwasher safe. Honest – I haven’t hand washed a wine glass in years.

Riedel Champagne Flutes

We use Champagne glasses at VinoSocial HQ every week because we’re firm believers that a special occasion isn’t required to pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly! In fact, we’ve been known to indulge in nachos and sparkling wine.
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How Writing Plays a Role in Wine Competitions

Guest author Dana Van Nest shares a behind the scenes look into the Great Northwest Wine competitions.

“Intriguing nose of cherries jubilee, sweet herbs, and chocolate-covered blueberries,” I noted about the 2017 Siren’s Reserve Beijo Red Wine from Siren Song Wines. “Juicy red berries and plum greet you in this smooth and very drinkable blend, and later give way to chocolate and hints of tobacco.”

The Columbia Gorge Hotel where the Great Northwest Invitational takes place

At the Great Northwest Wine Invitational, held this past October at the Columbia Gorge Hotel, I tasted 67 Gold medal-winning wines and wrote tasting notes for each in less than two days. Eric Degerman, journalist and owner of Great Northwest Wine, had invited me to return for a second time as a Chief Judge for this competition (I also served as a Chief Judge at the Cascadia International Wine Competition last May).

With approximately 800 wines entered in this invitation-only competition, we start early with the panels of wine judges receiving their first flights at 8:30 am. The panel is comprised of a number of the region’s most respected wine buyers and merchants. They are a knowledgeable and generous crowd with whom I seriously enjoy getting to work, eat, and drink with for two days. After the panels have chosen the Golds for each flight, the Chief Judges (typically two or three of us) get to work.

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Let’s Talk About Slow Wine

Are you familiar with Slow Wine? We’re not talking “all natural,” or “clean,” wine which are basically marketing gimmicks anyway. Some might use the term sustainable, but even winemakers can’t seem to agree on what that means. So, let’s talk about Slow Wine and touch on what it really means and why it matters. Then, I’ll reveal a dozen wineries in Washington where you can find Slow Wine and, lastly, provide additional resources for those who wish to take a deeper dive.

Bob and Joel tend the land at Horsepower Vineyards

What is Slow Wine?

My summer was dedicated to visiting and interviewing Washington wineries and tasting wines for The Slow Wine Guide USA 2022. In this quest I’ve encountered properties where draft horses work the vineyards, marmots help fertilize the vines, and exciting varieties like Madeleine Angevine, Gruner Veltliner, and Sagrantino grow. While words like “lively” and “vibrant” permeate my tasting notes, there are also comments such as, “More please!” and, “Savory for days.” In other words, these are delectable wines.

Wilridge Vineyards in Naches Heights AVA grows varieties including Nebbiolo and Zweigelt

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