31st Auction of Washington Wines Raises More than $4M

The Auction of Washington Wines raised $4.1 million at their annual four-day extravaganza earlier this month, with proceeds benefiting Seattle Children’s Hospital and Washington State University’s (WSU) Viticulture & Enology Program.

We attended the Winemaker Picnic & Barrel Auction at Chateau Ste. Michellewhere $251,500 was raised for WSU’s program. This is a record, and an increase of 83% over last year. Attendance at this fun event also broke a record.

All the Washington wines we tasted at the picnic were amazing, but our two favorites came from Two Vintners and Fidelitas. And there were some other standouts that pleased our palates too.

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Le Bec Fin by Chateau Beck

Le Bec Fin by Chateau Beck is a new side project by Jean Claude Beck, the winemaker of The Woodhouse Wine Estates in Woodinville. We first met Jean Claude when he arrived at Woodhouse about ten years ago to lead their wine production, and we were immediately charmed and impressed.

He was born in the Alsace region of France, following several generations of winemakers; his family estate has been producing wine since 1579 in a small village south of Strasbourg. According to European gourmet magazine Feinschmecken, “everything this winemaker touches turns to gold in the bottle.” Jean Claude’s motto is “No boring wines!”

We also love another of his quotes: “As my Grandfather Char once said, ‘I don’t want to make the most expensive wine in the world, I want to make a wine that when you sit at the table and the glass is poured, you empty it and without hesitation you ask for another.’”

Jean Claude’s love for wine is evident in every conversation we have with him. (And you can see his creativity by his July 4th Facebook photo, above.) So we eagerly awaited the arrival of his three Le Bec Fin wines to sample: 2016 Vin Rosé, Vin Blanc and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. They were all lovely. Continue reading

Another Success for Taste Washington

Congratulations to the Washington State Wine Commission and Visit Seattle for another successful Taste Washington March 22-25, 2018. Thousands of people participated in the annual celebration of the excellent wine made in this state — at the Grand Tasting, educational seminars, lunches on local farms, and other events.

Every year, we hope that people did more than taste the fine wine of Washington. We hope they appreciated it, and the hard work by people in our state’s wine industry – from farmers to vineyard managers to those in the production facilities, winemakers, distributors, tasting room staff and more. In particular, we applaud the workers in the vineyards who toil over the grapes and the terroir; the winemakers who balance creativity and science in every barrel and bottle; and their families who support this extreme effort. We definitely appreciated every taste that was poured for us at the Grand Tasting. Our top 25 favorites are listed below. ((Note, some were “under the table” pours!)
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Va Piano Vineyards

We’ve been fans of Va Piano Vineyards and owner/winemaker Justin Wiley since we met him in 2010 after the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla. How can you not like a winemaker who says, “My winemaking philosophy is very simple: Grow the best grapes we can and don’t screw it up in the cellar.”

More recently, Justin also founded Eritage Resort, located on 300 acres in the rolling fields of wheat and vineyards about six miles north of Walla Walla. Scheduled to open early next year, the resort will offer 10 luxury suites and a restaurant headed up by James Beard award-winning Seattle chef Jason Wilson.
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