ready – set – go! summer wine touring is underway.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Summer wine touring season is getting under way, and here in the Northwest, you could spend every weekend in a different region and still just barely scratch the surface. Here in Walla Walla, the weekend of June 20 – 22 has been designated “Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine”. This was formerly called Vintage, and the event had a good run for a number of years, but had lost momentum more recently. Happily, it has been re-conceived and revitalized with an excellent program to re-launch it this year. The timing couldn’t be better. Mid-June is just about perfect for weather; the farmer’s markets are in full swing, the wineries are open and pouring all the new releases, and there are non-stop activities apart from wine.

Guest speakers at ‘Celebrate’ include yours truly, Patrick Comiskey (Wine & Spirits), my good friend professor Kevin Pogue (the original Terroirist), and a number of visiting Napa Valley winemakers. The varietal focus for the tastings and seminars is Cabernet Sauvignon.

Patrick Comiskey will talk about Cabernet Sauvignon and how it differs in the Walla Walla and Napa Valleys and other wine regions around the world, while Kevin Pogue will discuss how the growing conditions vary in the Napa and Walla Walla Valleys. I will moderate a panel discussion and tasting of 2009 vintage Cabernets from both Walla Walla and Napa. Serving on the panel and pouring some excellent wines are Jean Francois Pellet (Pepper Bridge Winery), Chris Figgins (Leonetti Cellar), Rick Small (Woodward Canyon), Phillip Corallo-Titus (Chappellet), Landon Donley (Spottswoode) and Jeff Ames (Rudius). I am totally jazzed about this seminar, the wines, the vintage, and the topics we will delve into. I hope you will take advantage of the cheap ticket price (less than the cost of a simple tasting at a Napa valley tasting room) and join us.

Also that weekend there will be a number of winery dinners, tastings of library wines from some of the region’s best producers, and plenty of time to mix and mingle with journalists and winemakers. Full details and event tickets can be found at Celebrate!

This week I'm in western Washington, visiting retailers and doing some wine tastings open to the public as well. I will be pouring Waitsburg Cellars wines on Thursday 5:30 to 7:30pm at Picnic (6801 Greenwood N.); on Friday 6 to 8pm at Wine World (400 NE 45th); and on Saturday 2:30 - 5pm at West Seattle Cellars (6026 California Ave. SW). Hope to see some of you and taste you on some excellent summer wines!

If you are heading down to the Willamette Valley this summer, you’ll want to check out the Willamette Valley Wineries Association’s updated and quite useful wine touring website. It’s designed to help visitors quickly comb through the Valley’s nearly 300 wineries and half dozen AVAs, so travel planning can be done well in advance, and updated while on the road.

In addition to an interactive map featuring wineries, eateries, shops and lodging options, the new site includes a robust event calendar and detailed winery pages. All features are accessible from any mobile device.

Willamette Wines

NOTE: Congratulations to Andy Perdue, newly-installed as my successor at the Seattle Times. Andy is a professional journalist with superior credentials and knowledge about Washington wines. I’ve had the pleasure of tasting with Andy over the years on numerous occasions. He’s a gentleman and a scholar, and I look forward to reading his thoughts on the always-changing Washington wine industry.

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