Ahhhhh…we’ve survived the winter. It really wasn’t bad this year, but as I grow older I appreciate winter less and less. There is something to be said about seeing those first daffodils and tulips of the year, followed by the fragrant lilac bushes in my yard exploding with blooms. Other than flowers in bloom, I also get excited this time of year because I know that Spring Release is coming soon.
As a wine-interested person, there are two times each year that the industry goes all abuzz. Spring Release is one of those times. The other comes at harvest during something we call “crush”.
Personally, I think that Spring Release is the best. All of the wines that my friends have been working on for months or years gets bottled and made available for people like you and me to drink. Not only that, but many of those winemaking friends have the time to spend with you explaining what they did to make their drinkable art so good.
I’ve gotten the skinny from a few of my winemaker friends over the past few days, and this year’s releases look to be the most exciting we’ve had in years. This is partially due to the great growing seasons the past few years, mixed with the down economy making vintners really dig deep to make great wines at economical prices. I guarantee that our local winemakers are going to make it very difficult not to buy local this year.
Here are some of the travels I will be making over the next few days to experience Spring Release this year. I hope to see you out there!
This weekend, April 23 through 25, is Spring Barrel Tasting weekend for the Yakima Valley, Prosser, Red Mountain, Rattlesnake Hills, and the Tri-Cities. Starting in Yakima, I suggest going online to www.wineyakimavalley.org to figure out the best route through the valley for you and your friends this weekend. There will be 50 different wineries participating in this year’s release. You can call for more information at (509) 965-5201.
The Rattlesnake Hills winemakers roll out the red carpet every year on this weekend. Many wineries of the Rattlesnake region, just over the river from Boardman, are usually open for appointment only. This is one of the few weekends that the public is invited to come for food, entertainment, art, and wines at many of these vintners facilities. Go to www.rattlesnakehills.com for more information.
The Tri-Cities and Red Mountain wineries also open their doors this weekend for special events. I’ve spoken with several this week who have plans to release very special wines including some very affordable, high quality labels, as well as new varietals never seen before in this region. I’m incredibly excited about what I’m hearing from winemakers in this region. For more information on events going on in the Tri-Cities I suggest going to www.visittricities.com .
Last, but certainly not least, April 30th through May 2nd is Spring Release Weekend in Walla Walla. There will be close to 75 wineries participating in next week’s release festival, with many providing special wines just for this weekend event. If you haven’t been to a Walla Walla Spring Release then you haven’t been to a wine party. Food, drinking, dancing, and all out fun awaits you. Go to www.wallawallawine.com for more information.
Please remember to have a designated driver of some type, eat regularly, drink plenty of water, and enjoy!