While I consider every month Washington wine month, March really is Washington Wine Month, with wineries and retailers celebrating with various events and promotions. However, the biggest celebration of them all is Taste Washington.
Due to the way the calendar fell, Taste Washington snuck its way into April this year. The event has grown considerably over the years. Taste Washington now takes place over four days from March 31 to April 3. The event kicks off on Thursday March 31 with a Red and White Party at Aqua by El Gaucho. This event focuses on library wines, reserve pours, and barrel samples with a top-notch list of wineries along with food by Aqua.
During the day on Friday April 1—no fooling—is Taste Washington on the Farm. This is the second year of this event, which pairs a local chef, winemaker, and farmer. The luncheon takes place on a farm in the Seattle area. That evening is The New Vintage at Motif Seattle from 7-10pm. Geared toward the younger crowd, the event features numerous local restaurants and chefs as well as wineries.
Each morning of Taste Washington weekend kicks off with a series of educational seminars. On Saturday, Washington vs the World, moderated by Doug Charles of Compass Wines, will compare Rhone-style wines from Washington to top Rhone-style wines produced around the world. King Cab! will explore the expression of this most regal grape across the state (moderated by yours truly). Tasting Washington, moderated by Bruce Schoenfeld of Saveur magazine, will attempt to determine what the Washington-ness is in Washington wine. Seminars run concurrently and are ticketed separately.
On Sunday, Through the Grapevine: Lessons learned from a lifetime in Washington wine will feature some of the state’s longest-tenured growers and winemakers to hear some of their stories (also moderated by yours truly). Riesling on the Rise, moderated by Master Sommelier Chris Tanghe, looks at the expression of this variety in the state and around the world. Finally, A Sense of Place, also moderated by Schoenfeld, explores the effects of winemaker compared to vineyard influence on wines.
Immediately after the seminar on both days is the highlight of Taste Washington, the Grand Tasting. The Grand Tasting features over 200 Washington wineries—almost one in every four wineries in the state—as well as 65 local restaurants. It’s a terrific opportunity to find new favorites and visit with old friends.
I'll talk a little more about the wine lineup later this month. Meanwhile, for complete information on Taste Washington, visit tastewashington.org.