Don’t Miss Taste Washington’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

Run, don’t walk, to get your tickets to Taste Washington, which we call “the Super Bowl of Wine Events” because it is the country’s largest single-region wine and food extravaganza. You don’t want to miss this explosion of tastes, fun and education on March 23-26 in Seattle.

This year, Taste Washington celebrates its 20th anniversary with almost 300 wineries, more than 70 restaurants and top national chefs. In honor of this milestone, the 2017 expanded lineup offers four days packed with diverse activities.

And for the first time ever, you can purchase The Connoisseur Festival Pass for four days of VIP access to signature events, with these extra benefits: jump the line at all major events, reserved seating at Alaska Mileage Plan Chef’s Stage and a gift bag with a bottle of Washington state wine, an autographed Cook + Cork Cookbook, a one-year subscription to Seattle Met magazine and a trio of El Gaucho spices.

We love to go to Taste Washington every year and are really looking forward to the 2017 activities:

  • You’ll find “super-exclusive wine pours” at the VIP Red & White Party at AQUA by El Gaucho on Thursday, March 23 from 7p.m.-10 p.m.
  • Taste Washington on the Farm gives you an opportunity to explore the northwest’s bounty, alongside farmers, chefs and winemakers on Friday, March 24 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. New excursions in this year’s lineup include visits to Tahoma Farms and Ox Bow Farm & Conservation Center.
  • The New Vintage with its trendy Rosé Lounge at the Four Seasons Seattle features music, more than 40 wineries and 11 chef stations on Friday, March 24 from 7 p.m.-10 p.m.
  • Informative and fun wine seminars, which include tastings and interactive panels, will be held on Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26 from 10:30 a.m.-noon at the Four Seasons Seattle.
  • New: Think about joining a Taste & Savor Tour through Pike Place Market on both Saturday and Sunday, at 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
  • The Grand Tasting at CenturyLink Field Event Center will be held on both Saturday and Sunday, from 1 p.m.-5:30 p.m. (tasting hours have been extended this year).

Before you enter the doors of the Grand Tasting, we highly recommend that you develop a plan. Because once there, you will be hit with a massive amount of taste potentials — and it can be overwhelming.

So make a list of wineries and restaurants you want to make sure to visit. But always leave room for some flexibility; chances are something will catch your eye as you walk through the aisles.

Of note, we recommend tasting and spitting wine (or pouring it into the buckets at each booth) at this major event, but if you think you might want more than a sip or two, many hotels in the area are offering special weekend packages. Otherwise, be sure to have a designated driver, or take cabs or local transit home.

We hope to see you there!

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

Border Wine Storage

If you are in the Vancouver area and want to find storage space for the wine you purchase in the U.S. — or if you are in Whatcom county and need more storage room for your wine collection — look no further.

Border Wine Storage is now open in Ferndale, WA, and is offering “grand opening prices” worth checking out.

Throughout 2017, you can store eight cases of wine for $21/month in a temperature-controlled, secure locker, just a 15-minute drive from the B.C./Washington border and a 10-minute drive from the Bellingham airport. Sixteen cases cost $32/month for storage. Other sizes and rates are also available.

“The sixteen-case locker is our most popular size but you can easily trade up or down as your wine storage needs change,” says Chimo Boehm, co-owner of Border Wine Storage. “This allows B.C. wine enthusiasts to order and store wine purchased in the U.S., opening up the vast selection and lower prices of wine, which can be delivered to a ‘real’ address in Washington state that is close to home. We call it ‘wine without borders.'”

This provides people from the Vancouver area the opportunity to sign up for their favorite U.S., South American or European winery’s private mailing list or wine club, or they can order wine from major online retailers.

Wine enthusiasts in Bellingham, Birch Bay, Semiahmoo, Blaine, Ferndale and Lynden might also enjoy the convenience of extra storage space for their wine collections.

Specifically, the storage facility offers:

  • A refrigeration system for a constant temperature of 55-57 degrees (13-14 degrees Celcius)
  • Humidity in a range of 60 to 70% RH and monitored to prevent your corks from drying or your labels mildewing
  • 24/7 professional monitoring service with cellular back-up
  • Two forms of keypad entry and individually keyed lockers
  • Security cameras to monitor every vantage point
  • Locker access seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

More details can be found at Border Wine Storage or by phoning 360.393.4391 (WA) or 604.283.7095 (BC).

In the name of transparency, we recently met Chimo, when we first heard of Border Wine Storage, and we have become wine industry friends.

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

Washington State Crushes Wine Grape Harvest Record

The state’s record for its wine grape harvest was crushed in 2016, according to a report released by the Washington State Wine Commission.

The commission’s Annual Grape Production Report showed 2016 had the biggest wine grape harvest in the state’s history: the 2016 harvest totaled 270,000 tons, a 22-percent increase over 2015 and easily surpassing the previous record harvest of 227,000 tons in 2014.

The largest growth came from Cabernet Sauvignon, with a 23,700-ton increase. This also meant that Cab Sauv was the top-producing variety grown in the state — 71,100 tons or 26% of the total. Merlot was ranked second, at 48,400 tons or 18% of the total. Syrah came in third of the reds, at 21,300 tons, followed by Cab Franc at 4,300. Malbec rounded off the top five reds at 2,700.

Overall, red varieties accounted for 58% of the total production, compared to 51% in 2015.

Chardonnay was the top white grape and third overall at 45,000 tons, while Riesling was right behind it at 41,300 tons. Sauvignon Blanc was ranked third among whites, trailing with 9,800 tons, followed by Pinot Gris at 8,700 and Gewurtztraminer at 2,600.

A sign of further growth — there are now more than 900 winery licenses in Washington State.

“2016 was a year for the record books,” said Steve Warner, president of the Washington State Wine Commission, which represents every licensed winery and grape grower in the state. “Not only did we see our biggest harvest ever – but it was a great harvest. The weather in Eastern Washington cooled down a bit to extend the growing season and allow the grapes some extra time to mature on the vine. Our growers and winemakers are extremely excited about these wines.”

Further details are available in Annual Grape Production Report.

Cheers,
Margot and Dave