Celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month During the Coronavirus Scare

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.

10th Annual Cabernet Classic

Saturday, March 7, 2020
6:00-9:00pm
Tickets $50

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

Devison Vintners Winemaker Dinner at Barking Frog

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!

Maryhill Winery Opens New Tasting Room in Woodinville

On Saturday, November 16, 2019 doors at the historic Hollywood Schoolhouse open to Maryhill Winery’s new tasting room in Woodinville. Notably, the space will be Maryhill’s fourth and largest tasting room and restaurant in Washington State. The winery has renovated a 10,000-square-foot space and occupies the grand ballroom and upper floor, along with a full commercial kitchen.

Maryhill Winery Woodinville Tasting Room (via Facebook)

What’s going to set this new tasting room apart from other Washington wineries? Their entrance into the Seattle area market coincides with a new name and brand. Maryhill Winery Tasting Room & Bistro is now showcasing regionally inspired food along with award winning wines. Not just in Woodinville, either. This wine and food experience is also available at locations in Goldendale, Spokane, and Vancouver.

According to Craig Leuthold, who co-founded Maryhill Winery in 1999 with his wife, Vicki, “Our new name and brand along with our culinary program marks a new strategic direction for Maryhill.” He adds, “Many people are intimidated to experiment with food and wine pairing, and our restaurants are one way to show customers how well certain foods go with certain wines.”

Tudor Sangiovese destined for Maryhill Rosé

Maryhill sources more than 30 unique varieties from some of the most highly regarded vineyards in Washington. One of those sources is Tudor Hills Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. A family operation owned and operated by Tom and Sean Tudor, the father and son value working with another family owned business such as Maryhill.

Maryhill Woodinville Opening Event Details

This grand opening follows the recent news that Washington State is now home to more than 1,000 wineries. I look forward to getting a preview of Maryhill’s new tasting room in Woodinville this week. Follow me on Twitter as I share the experience!

Maryhill Winery Grand Opening Weekend
Hollywood Schoolhouse
14810 NE 145th St # A, Woodinville, WA 98072
• Saturday, November 16, 10 a.m. – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
• Saturday, November 16, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. — Public Grand Opening Celebration; live music 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
• Sunday, November 17, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. — Public Grand Opening Celebration; live music 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Resources

Maryhill Winery Woodinville on Facebook
Maryhill Winery on Twitter
Maryhill Winery on Instagram

Washington State Exceeds 1,000 Wineries

It’s a time of exciting growth for Washington State’s wine industry! As of October 2019, more than 1,000 winery licenses were active. That is a major milestone.

According to the Washington Wine Commission, vineyard acreage in Washington also continues to grow at a rapid pace. Twenty years ago, there were four American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) producing 24,000 acres of wine grapes and 70,000 tons of grapes. Today there are more than 59,000 acres of vineyards across 14 AVAs that produced 260,000 tons of grapes last year. That translates to more than $7 billion contributed to the state’s economy and roughly $2.4 billion in revenue.

Hollywood Star Kyle MacLachlan owns a winery in Washington State (image by Andrea Johnson courtesy of Washington Wine Commission)

“We still have so much room to grow, both on the winery and vineyard side,” announced Steve Warner, President of Washington State Wine. “Washington is the New Epicenter of Wine – and truly, still just getting started.”

Celebrate this Washington Wine Milestone

Well, my friends, this milestone calls for a toast! What shall we uncork? With all those wineries, and since Washington State is the second largest wine producing state in the U.S., there are a lot of choices. Reflecting back on the hundreds of wines I had an opportunity to taste this year, here is a recap of some that would certainly be appropriate to celebrate this significant achievement.

Winning Wines from the Seattle Wine Awards

Medal winners from  the Seattle Wine Awards always add life to a party!

L’Ecole Semillon received my highest score in the white Bordeaux category. Year in, year out, this Double Gold winning wine is always tops in my books. Plus, at $15 a bottle, the quality for the price is exceptional.

Of course, Cab is king! Of those I reviewed, the 2016 Ambassador Wines of Washington Estate Plenipotentiary Cabernet Sauvignon was at the top of my list.

Walla Walla Wines

Walla Walla offers up a number of wines to get to know. The highly acclaimed Figgins Estate Red is a surefire head turner. However, for something more moderately priced,  Elephant Seven’s Cosmic Reflection would make an out of this world party guest.

Red Mountain Wines

Savvy wine drinkers know, “Red Mountain does an amazing balancing act between power and elegance.” Even Texas based Certified Specialist of Wine, Kat René of The Corkscrew Concierge will tell you that. Therefore, if you’re looking for a wine with a big personality, taste Red Mountain wine.

Whichever wine you choose to celebrate this Washington State wine milestone, be sure to share it on Instagram or Twitter using the #wawine hashtag. I look forward to seeing what Washington wines you’re drinking, so be sure to tag me and #letstalkaboutwine!

Resources

Washington State Wine Commission
L’Ecole No 41
Ambassador Winery
Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance
Red Mountain AVA