Every year, we always have a wonderful time at the Auction of Washington Wines, especially the Winemaker Picnic & Barrel Auction at Chateau Ste. Michelle. And this year was no exception. We talked to winemakers, caught up with old friends, and celebrated Washington wine. Above all, proceeds from these incredible non-profit events benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital and Washington State University Viticulture & Enology Program.
The Winemaker Picnic explodes with delicious wines, tasty bites and good cheer. You could try more than 100 wines at the tasting bars, and talk to winemakers who wandered the scenic grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle pouring some of their favorites. It was so crowded that we couldn’t get photos of everyone we saw or all the wines we tasted. In addition to those in the photos below, we chatted with rockstar winemaker Morgan Lee of Two Vintners, his winery partner David Lawson of Covington Cellars, Chris and Thea Upchurch of Upchurch Vineyard, Daniel Burchardt of Sleight of Hand Cellars, and Larry Harris of Bayernmoor.
Winemaker Picnic Photos, Part 1
When we arrived at the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle, Hugo Lemus from Treveri Cellars, an excellent family-owned sparkling wine house in Yakima, greeted us with a gorgeous glass of 2021 Chenin Blanc bubbles. Next, we made our way to one of the tasting bars, where we tasted the magnificent Woodward Canyon 2020 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon, and refreshing JM Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, a perennial favorite.
Further, we checked out the boards showing the exciting bidding on wine futures in the Barrel Auction. We also loved Sparkman Cellars 2021 Old-Vines Evermore Cabernet Sauvignon. Then, we visited with Jason Gorski, winemaker extraordinaire at DeLille Cellars. And wow, he shared the unreleased 2022 DeLille Syrah, Red Willow, from the block of the very first planting of Syrah in Washington State. Not surprisingly, this became our wine of the day. Whoever bid the highest on Jason’s lot is one lucky winner!
Photos, Part 2
After that, we stopped by to see Mari Womack, talented winemaker of Damsel Cellars, who poured her delicious unreleased 2021 Boushey Cabernet Franc. As well, we spent time with skilled winemaker and chill dude, Justin Wylie of Va Piano, and enjoyed his 2022 Va Piano Sauvignon Blanc. Continuing with white wines, Matthews 2022 Columbia Valley Reserve Sauv Blanc enticed us to want more.
But then it was time to return to reds. Kevin Correll and Bonni Ruchty of Barrage Cellars opened the stellar 2019 Decker Mikael Cab Sauv Red Mountain. Next, we tasted Time and Direction‘s tasty Syrah and Mourvédre.
Moreover, we decided to end our day at the picnic in the same way we began it – with bubbles. George Ptasinksi of Republic of Cider gave us a brilliant SoDoSecco Sparkling Chardonnay, which exhibits earthy characteristics from the unique terroir in the SoDo Valley, south of Seattle, within one mile of the stadiums.
Finally, we called this year’s Winemaker Picnic a wrap, with special thanks to Jamie Peha and her wonderful, hard-working team at AWW, and to venue host, Chateau Ste. Michelle.
In conclusion, we always appreciate the welcoming atmosphere at Auction events. And we have so much fun supporting Washington state wine and a great cause. Please think about participating next year.
Margot and Dave