What’s going on …

Saturday, Oct. 6

  • Don’t miss  Alexandria Nicole Cellars Puget Sound Wine Dinner in Prosser on Oct. 6. It sounds like a great event for $75 per person – starting at the tasting room at 11 a.m., moving on to a vineyard tour and cellar tasting, and then back to the tasting room for dinner. 
  • It’s Happy Hour all day long at Vino Bello! And that’s not all. Enjoy a wine tasting with Yakima’s Windy Point Vineyards from noon until 9 p.m. ($5) and live blues-inspired music featuring JD Hobson. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, part of the proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Tuesday, Oct. 9

Thursday, Oct. 11

  • Wine of Europe Tasting at The Wine Alley in Renton from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Four wine samples, salami and cheese for $10 per person.

Saturday, Oct. 13

  • Let Vino Bello bring you some California sunshine with a wine tasting of hip California wines. Try the latest cool wines from California wine country and mellow out to live country music of Charlie Spring. ($10)

Saturday, Oct. 20

  • From Vampire 7 to Deadly Zins, Vino Bello offers a special Halloween wine tasting. ($10)

Saturday, Oct. 27

Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11

  • Taste of Red, Columbia Winery’s premier wine tasting and social event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on both days. Taste an extensive collection of red wine, including wine pulled directly from the barrel. Samples of northwest food will also be available. Admission is $20 per person ($10 for Cellar Club members) and includes a logo tasting glass.

Tuesday, Nov. 13

Thanksgiving Weekend:

  •  Grand Opening of Wilridge Vineyard Tasting Room near Yakima over Thanksgiving Weekend (November 23, 24 and 25). Be the first to visit Wilridge’s organic and biodynamic vineyard oasis and Tasting Room on the Naches Heights, five minutes west of Yakima.

Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2

  • Check out St. Nick’s Open House in Woodinville from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The wineries of Woodinville Wine Country open their doors for a single ticket price of $50. Some of the participating wineries are rarely open to the public, so don’t miss this opportunity! You’ll enjoy special tastings and specially prepared hors d’oeuvres to complement the wine. Check out Woodinville Wine Country’s Web site for a list of wineries and ticket information.

Tuesday, Dec. 11

Hogue Terroir-a taste of heaven (Horse Heaven Hills)

Hogue Terroir, the newest label from The Hogue Cellars,  is worth a trip to Prosser in the Columbia Valley. We had a wonderful time visiting Hogue for its 25th anniversary celebration, thanks to the Washington Cellar Club. We were given an insider’s look at the winery, special library tastings and a delicious barbeque.

My favorite moment came when I tasted a pairing of Hogue Terroir 2004 Malbec with goat cheese and raspberry chipotle. It was a taste of heaven! We also loved the Hogue Terroir 2004 Cabernet. Both wines come from grapes grown at Andrews Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills. Both were bottled with a screw cap “to ensure perfect aging and preservation of flavors as intended by the winemaker.”

Hogue Cellars was the first winery to scientifically analyze the effects of various bottle closures. In 2004, the winery released the results of its Screw Cap Study, which found that screw cap closures hold fruit and maintain freshness more effectively than natural and synthetic corks. The results of the extensive study were presented at the 55th annual American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) Conference.

If you have questions about screw caps and Hogue’s study, check out the FAQ page on the winery’s Web site. You can also read a series of articles about the increasing popularity of screw caps in The Seattle Times .