Thursday, March 22, 2012

Upcoming Regional Wine Events You Will Love

Harvest time is so romantic. All those rich smelling grapes, and warm fall air. I find that most people fall for the romance, and miss what is truly the best time of the year in the wine industry. That time is late winter and early spring.

One of the biggest reasons why February through April is so important in the wine industry is because many of the new vintages are being released. What was great last year might not be so good this year, and what wasn’t so fantastic last year is creating huge fervor now. Really, for the wine industry, spring time is the time that we get a “do over”.

With all of the vintages changing the industry also likes to take the opportunity to showcase their wines. Here are some of the big and small events hitting the Northwest soon:

Taste Washington: If you’ve never been to Taste Washington, you’ve never been to a real wine extravaganza. Held on March 31st and April 1st this year, Taste is host to over 200 wineries, winemakers, and famous chefs doing demonstrations on the Viking Chef’s stage. Tickets start at $75 per person for general admission, and up to $125 per person for the VIP experience. For more information go to

Spring Barrel Tastings: For those who wish to stay a little closer to home and make it a day trip there are several Spring Barrel Tasting events coming in the next few weeks. April 20-22 the Rattlesnake Hills AVA will be celebrating it’s Spring Barrel Event. The crowds are much smaller, and intimate time with the winery staff is almost a guarantee. Go to for more information.

The following week Spring Barrel Tasting happens throughout the Yakima Valley. I’ve written about this big event several times in the past. It is almost a guarantee that I’ll be out for at least one day of this event. You can find out more abut this at

Right on the hills of Yakima is the famous Walla Walla Spring Release. This is truly one of the biggest parties in the Northwest when it comes to wine. I suggest going to and getting yourself set up for a great weekend in the Walla Walla AVA.

One thing that I do want to make sure people don’t miss is truly local opportunities. Graybeal Distributing in Pendleton is once again starting up their wine 101 class for this spring. This spring’s lineup is looking to be spectacular.

On April 12th, Denise Musick with Saviah Winery will be the host as she pours wines and talks about one of the all time favorite wineries from this region. The following Thursday the 19th there will be a rare treat as Samantha Krieg will be visiting and pouring wines from the huge E.J. Gallo Wine family. I know that many people scoff when I mention E.J. Gallo, but when you’ve tasted some of their high end portfolio you will be surprised.

Graybeal ends their Spring Wine 101 with Gordy Venneri from Walla Walla Vintners. Walla Walla Vintners is truly one of the iconic wineries of the Walla Walla region. Their wines have consistently won regional and national awards for many years. The cost of these events is $20 per person, and includes both the wine and food pairings. To find out more and to register call Deborah at 541-276-2264.


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