Worlds are colliding! Innovation in the wine industry is taking shape in the form of virtual wine tasting. This enables consumers to learn about wineries all over the globe. In some cases it provides the opportunity to taste wines. It also gives wine lovers access to a number of industry experts from winemakers to renowned authors. Now, Seattle based non-profit Auction of Washington Wines (AWW) is bringing all of these components together in a brand-new Virtual Tasting Series.
Hosted by AWW Honorary Chair, Karen MacNeil, the fascinating series features a who’s who of Washington winemakers. Explore the world of their wines through 7 virtual experiences held between June 18 and August 20. Hosted by MacNeil on the Zoom platform, wine lovers may register to attend these events online at no cost! Bonus – those who wish to taste along in any or all of the sessions may pre-purchase wines at retailer partner Esquin Wine & Spirits.
The lineup of wines and wine industry greats is phenomenal! To give you a taste, the series premieres with L’Ecole No 41’s Marty Clubb, Long Shadows Vintners’ Allen Shoup and Woodward Canyon Winery’s Rick Small. Topics range from Washington Women in Wine to Red Mountain and Bordeaux Style Wine. Let the good times flow. Continue reading “Karen MacNeil Virtual Wine Tasting Series”
This week I’ve been getting all kinds of messages related to the current COVID-19 situation. Some ask my thoughts on wine events being held in spite of the panic-inducing situation. Others request help in rallying support for our local wineries. Then the colossal bomb dropped yesterday. Taste Washington, Seattle’s biggest wine and food festival due to take place March 19-22, 2020 in Seattle, has been canceled. WHOA! Don’t panic, there are still ways to celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month.
Over the years, my personal preference has been to attend the Taste Washington seminars. While it is unfortunate that the event has been canceled for 2020, the consensus on social media leans toward the “better safe than sorry” anthem. The hedonistic wine and food festival is intended to be hosted again in 2021.
Support Washington Wine
Although Taste Washington is not taking place in 2020, there are still other opportunities to experience Washington wine and support the community. This is particularly critical at a time like this. Given that many Washington wineries are small, locally owned operations they can suffer greatly when there is a dip in customer activity. After all, they just barely got over dry January (don’t even get me started about that). So, please do whatever you can within your comfort zone to show these businesses some support during this challenging time. If you were going to Taste Washington, take that money you planned to spend anyway on some Washington wine or an alternative event. While I am not a health professional, I can say from experience that conscientious winemakers keep a very clean environment.
While doing some online checking it’s apparent that the status of some events on websites such as LocalWineEvents.com haven’t yet been updated. This is no fault of these sites; however, it serves as a reminder to check directly with organizers regarding the status of any event. Luckily, sources have confirmed some events going ahead as of this writing.
The quality level of wineries pouring at this showcase for Cabernet Sauvignon is staggering! Among the featured wineries are Den Hoed, Figgins Family Estate, Passing Time Winery, and Sheridan Vineyard. These purveyors of high quality juice don’t have tasting rooms regularly open to the public, so this is a rare chance to have such an upscale lineup of wine to taste!
Avennia Spring Release
While writing this, VinoSocial client Avennia cancelled their release party at the winery this Saturday, March 7. Nevertheless, the latest vintages of the highly acclaimed Sestina and Valery wines are still being released. Member allocations are available for pickup at the winery. Additionally, the tasting room in Woodinville’s “Gateway District” will be open regular hours this weekend. Their welcoming staff will be happy to assist, and pour, the latest wines for members and non-members alike. This is the place for those who appreciate world class wine.
Avennia Tasting Room 19255 Woodinville Snohomish Rd #1, Woodinville, WA 98072 Open daily 11:00am-5:00pm, Fridays until 7:00pm
Thursday March 19, 2020 7:00pm $150 per person + tax and gratuity Call 425-424-2999 for reservations Having worked with talented winemaker, Peter Devison, I am full of anticipation over the new releases he and his wife Kelsey are launching under their Devison Vintners brand! Taste them for yourself paired perfectly with a delectable five course dinner created by Chef Bobby Moore. This has got to be the most indulgent way to celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month!
Celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month at Home
If you don’t feel like braving the crowds, follow my suggestion on Instagram to help raise awareness of this great region and its award winning wines: simply uncork a bottle of wine from Washington State sometime this month, and post about it using the #WaWineMonth hashtag!! With over 1,000 wineries there are a lot of first-rate selections from which to choose.
Meanwhile, the majority of the population is raiding the supply of toilet paper and I’m at local wine shop Esquin thinking what we really need to buy is more wine (p.s. they’re offering 10% off Washington Syrah in-store on Saturday, March 7, 2020). Make good choices, my friends, and be careful out there!
This week the annual Walla Walla Wine in Seattle event took place on Monday. Following a record number of days in which Seattleites endured non-stop rain, the clouds parted enabling the sun to dance off the glass in the grand lobby of Seattle’s McCaw Hall. Organized by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, over 40 wineries showed up and poured their latest releases for Seattle. Once again they proved there are exciting Walla Walla wines and wineries for consumers to experience.
Taste Washington, the state’s premier wine and food festival, has grown leaps and bounds over the years. However, one thing remains the same – the Taste Washington Seminars are my favorite part of the 4 day Washington wine extravaganza. Maybe it’s because it’s one of the seated events where I can take my time tasting. Undoubtedly, it has something to do with the quality of both the speakers and the wine poured at each seminar. Not to mention, what I’ve learned at the Taste Washington Seminars has made me appreciate wine more. That in turn has made me a better wine drinker. The seminars can do the same for you!
At a past seminar, Wine Bible author Karen MacNeil waxed poetic about Washington wine, vividly describing each pour as only she can. As the audience sipped on Syrah from cult producer Cayuse she uttered,
“This wine is primal scream. Wonderfully corrupt.”
December 4th is Cabernet Franc Day. It’s a way to prove that this variety is “More Than a Blending Grape!” Plus, I suspect that some of my readers will be celebrating. After all, my top post is all about Pairing Cabernet Franc with Food!
Wine Geek Info
Cabernet Franc Day was founded by Lori Budd of Dracaena Wines. Why? In short, she was disappointed that there was not a designated day for her favorite wine variety. Not to mention that Cabernet Franc is one of the parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon. So, if Cab Sauv gets its own day, shouldn’t Cabernet Franc as well?
As far as selecting the date goes, Lori explains, “Cabernet Franc is believed to have been established in the Libournais region of southwest France sometime in the 17th century, when Cardinal Richelieu transported cuttings of the vine to the Loire Valley. December 4th is the anniversary of Cardinal Richelieu’s death.”
Although Cabernet Franc thrives in France, it can also be found in the new world. Here in Washington State, some producers I favor include Brook and Bull and L’Ecole.
Like most wine holidays, join the celebration by uncorking a bottle and sharing the experience with fellow wine lovers on social media. Simply take a picture of the wine you’ve chosen for the day (bonus points if you include your food pairing!) and post it on social media using the hashtag #cabfrancday. See what other folks are drinking, comment, and ask questions. Maybe you’ll discover a new wine to seek out! At the very least, participating in the conversation will help bring attention to Cabernet Franc.
While most of the activity will likely take place on Twitter, there are sure to be related posts on Instagram as well. If you’re based in Washington, you may recognize Damsel Cellars among participating wineries.
I look forward to seeing how you celebrate Cabernet Franc Day. #LetsTalkAboutWine
If you feel so inclined, learn more about the establishment of this wine holiday on the Dracaena Wines Blog.