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When there's this much wine in the room, it helps to have a battle plan. Photo via Taste Washington's Facebook page.

Taste Washington week is upon us, with the main event—the Grand Tasting—coming up this Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26. Here are some ways to make the most of the event.

The Strategy

Make a plan before going. There are over 200 wineries pouring, which can be overwhelming when you first walk in. Look at the list of wineries pouring at the event before attending and come up with a game plan on who you want to visit. Remember, some wineries pour out early, so if there’s one you really have your heart set on tasting, visit them first so you don’t miss out. 

Use the dump buckets early and often. The pours are designed to be tastes of the wine, but even if you drink just one ounce of wine at each place you stop, that adds up to a full bottle of wine pretty quickly. Instead of drinking all of the wine poured, take a small taste and then pour the rest into the dump bucket. It will allow you to try more wine and have a better experience. 

Take bottle shots to remember wines that stood out to you. After tasting a lot of wine, it can be tough to remember what your favorites were. Try writing them down on a small notepad or, even better, use the camera on your phone to take a picture of the bottle. 

Use public transportation or take a cab/Uber. Even if you’re spitting out the wine that you are tasting, like the professionals do, the alcohol can still add up over the course of time. Make sure to take public transportation or a cab/Uber so you don’t have to worry about driving. 

Check out the educational seminars. Looking to learn more about Washington wine? There are a series of educational seminars at the Four Seasons Saturday and Sunday morning. This is a great way to enhance your knowledge of Washington wine. See the complete list of Taste Washington seminars here

The Can't-Miss Pours

Amavi Cellars Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2014: Not only a great wine but also an excellent value

Avennia Sestina Red Blend Columbia Valley 2014: Rising star winery making superb Syrah and Bordeaux blends

Betz Family Winery Bésoleil Red Blend Columbia Valley 2014: One of the best vintages of this wine to date

Cadence Bel Canto Red Blend Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain 2013: One of the state’s top producers making consistently high quality wine

Cairdeas Winery Caislén an Papa Meek Vineyard Yakima Valley 2014: New winery making standout wines

Co Dinn Cellars Chardonnay Roskamp Vineyard Snipes Mountain 2013: Former Hogue winemaker Co Dinn sets out on his own and makes compelling wine

Col Solare Red Blend Red Mountain 2008: A rare opportunity to try an older vintage of Col Solare. This one will most likely pour out early

College Cellars Petit Verdot Clarke Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2014: Students from the Center of Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College crafted this attention getter

Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2014: A strong new release of cabernet from this Walla Walla Valley producer

EFESTE Oldfield Estate Rosé Yakima Valley 2016: The 2015 rosé was a big-time winner. See what the 2016 has to offer.

Eternal Wines Patience Roussanne Walla Walla Valley 2014: New producer making some impressive whites

FIGGINS Estate Red Blend Walla Walla Valley 2013: Consistently one of the state’s top Bordeaux blends

Gard Vintners Vaucluse Red Blend Lawrence Vineyards Columbia Valley 2013: This winery is starting to make a name for itself with this wine. Find out why

Gorman Winery The Pixie Syrah Red Mountain 2013: Big, bold and fruit forward

Gramercy Cellars Forgotten Hills Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2014: Coming from one of the state’s premier syrah vineyards

Leighton Petit Verdot Olsen Brothers Vineyard Yakima Valley 2013 (at K Vintners table): A rare varietal petit verdot from an up-and-coming producer

K Vintners Motor City Kitty Syrah Washington State 2014: About as outright delicious as wine gets

Kerloo Cellars Syrah Les Collines Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2014: A heady wine from one of the state’s top syrah sites

Kevin White Winery Heritage DuBrul Vineyard Yakima Valley 2014: Kevin White’s wines are notable for their sophistication and superb value

Latta Wines Grenache Upland Vineyard Snipes Mountain 2012: If you want to see what all the fuss is about Washington grenache, try this wine

Maison Bleue Voyageur Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2014: Rhone specialist Jon Meuret crafts some of the state’s most compelling wines

Maloney Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Elephant Mountain Vineyard Rattlesnake Hills 2012: A new producer dedicated to single vineyard cabernet sauvignon

Palencia Winery Syrah Yakima Valley 2014: Perhaps the best wine this winery has produced to date

Pearl and Stone Wine Co. Wandering Red Blend Two Blondes Vineyard Yakima Valley 2014: New producer making some head turning wines

Rotie Cellars Northern Red Walla Walla Valley 2014: This wine is just drop dead gorgeous—don’t miss it

Saviah Cellars The Stones Speak Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2013: A compelling example of Rocks District fruit


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