As Tablehopper mentioned yesterday, this weekend is Taste Washington, a two-day affair offering both seminars at the Bell Harbor Conference Center (Saturday) and a massive sipping and snacking event (Sunday) at Qwest Field Event Center. Last year was my first Taste Washington and to my surprise my favorite of the two parts was actually the seminars—and the lineup looks even better this year.

Saturday morning, the Food & Wine Best New Chef seminar should be a lot of fun. F&W wine guru Ray Isle will be paneling alongside Jonathan Sundstrom of Lark and Ethan Stowell (Union, Tavolata, How to Cook a Wolf, Anchovies and Olives).

The afternoon session has a talk spotlighting Champoux vineyards which should be fascinating and delicious. I can’t stress enough that these classes are an excellent investment for people all of all interest levels—even if you’re brand new to the whole wine thing, you’ll leave with a sharper palate and a deeper appreciation for homegrown vinos. Last year I went a riesling conference and ended up sitting next to the grower from Long Shadows, Giles Nicault (good thing the Poet’s Leap was by far my favorite riesling there), and had a great time talking and learning from him. So, don’t skip Saturday. You’ll have more fun than you think.

As for Sunday, just remember to pace yourself. With 200 vineyards (and 60 restaurants) setting up shop in the giant Qwest atrium, there is a lot of wine to drink. But it’s a really fun way to spend a day, sipping your way through your home state’s tastiest offerings. I’ve included below, for what it’s worth, my own list of not-to-miss wineries. You can also use Seattle Metropolitan’s Top 100 Northwest Wines as a guide. See you there!

Andrew Will
Cougar Crest
Gramercy Cellars
Heaven’s Gate (Especially if they are pouring the Icicles Riesling Ice Wine)
L’Ecole N 41
Long Shadows
Nefarious Cellars
Quilceda Creek
Sleight of Hand
Thurston Wolfe
Wines of Substance
Woodward Canyon

Who’d I forget?

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