spring release weekend in walla walla

Friday, May 04, 2012

Perhaps the most anticipated weekend of the year is just now underway – Spring Release here in the Walla Walla valley.

Click HERE for a complete listing of events. Almost every winery has something going on, the gardens are in glorious bloom, the weather is a bit unsettled but pleasant enough, and some great wines are being poured.

Wineries that are open just once or twice a year will welcome guests – reservations necessary, and often only if you are on the mailing list. But many, many others will welcome one and all, with wine, music, food and special pours.

Downtown, the former Precept Wine tasting room has been transformed into a tasting room for the hugely popular Chocolate Shop wines. The Chocolate Shop is the first known tasting room themed exclusively for a chocolate infused red wine, designed to stand out from a traditional wine tasting room. It offers artisan confections, chocolate t-shirts and novelty apparel, and its namesake Chocolate Shop chocolate wine.

A few blocks west, the grand re-opening of Canoe Ridge marks the return of this iconic winery. John Klein, who visitors may recognize from his time at Waterbrook winery’s tasting room, will welcome guests with a mix of new releases including the 2010 Chardonnay, 2009 Cherry Street Red Blend, 2009 Merlot and past vintages such as 2007 Malbec, 2007 Cabernet Franc, and the 2006 Reserve Cabernet.

Meanwhile, at Waterbrook (located in the same neighborhood as L’Ecole, Woodward Canyon, and the west end wineries), an innovative new keg-based wine system is being debuted this weekend. It’s a “Fill-and-Go” system with kegs on site that dispense one-of-a-kind wines into refillable, re-sealable one-liter glass bottles called “Villagers.” Waterbrook will be offering two tasting room-exclusive wines – the 2010 Browne “Basket Press” Red Blend and the 2011 Waterbrook Springtime White. Visitors may purchase and fill up one-liter Villagers – re-usable containers with a Grolsch-style flip top that creates an airtight seal.

As Precept Wine CEO Andrew Browne explains, “keg wine is nothing new, but reusable Villagers are highly unusual. We love that Villagers are ‘green,’ and we can pour customers wines they won’t find elsewhere. ” These new wine kegs will change seasonally and feature unique offerings.

I am off to visit these and several other tasting rooms – hope to see some of you along the trail.

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