Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spring Barrel Tastings Are A Busy Time In Eastern Washington

If you like to get out, mingle with friends, and taste wines, you will love attending spring barrel tastings. Each year the wineries of the region grow, and I swear the entertainment and excitement gets bigger as well.

Last weekend was the Spring Barrel weekend for the Yakima Valley. I didn’t make it up for the event, but heard that people had a great time despite the weather. On a trip up to Yakima later this week, I stopped in several venues and found that everyone had enjoyed a great weekend with a record number of people.

This weekend is Walla Walla’s Spring Barrel Event. Wineries from Adamant Cellars to Zerba will be opening up their tasting rooms for guests. Some wineries that are normally not open to the public are also opening their doors this weekend.

Spring Barrel Events tend to be a special experience at most wineries. The winemakers, owners, and staff go out of their way to visit with guests, do special tours of the facilities, and many open up a special barrel of a future released wine for you to try. The best part is that many of the wineries also relax their usual tasting room fees to accommodate the weekend’s festivities.

The best way to attend a spring barrel event is to get a group of friends together. Either rent a limo or have one person assigned as the designated driver. In the latter case, I suggest treating this person very well, including buying their meals and maybe even chipping in to purchase a bottle of wine for their efforts. It is quite the sacrifice to be the driver, and they deserve the thank you.

This weekend, once you’ve gotten the group and the driver I suggest going to which is the Walla Walla Wine Commission’s website. On the site, they have listings of all of the participating wineries, their addresses, and any special events that they have planned for the weekend.

Make a list of no more than 6 or 7 wineries that you want to see. I have tried to visit more than that, and it just is nearly impossible with a group of people. Some folks start to get the effects after one or two visits. So, getting past number five can be a disappointment. Make sure to bring a cooler filled with bottled water, and a big box of snacks.

As part of the plan for a spring barrel event trip, make plans to stop for a relaxing lunch somewhere. Along with the snacks and water, a good meal will help people regain their palates, and get their feet back on the ground for further adventure.

With these tips I’m sure that you will have a great time adventuring Walla Walla this weekend. Have a great time, and be safe. I’ll see you there!

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