The Great Northwest Wine Adventure

Tastewashington My great Washington Wine Epiphany came a few years ago when I attended Wine & Spirits Magazine's Top 100 tasting in San Francisco. The tasting of top wineries W&S had encountered over the past year was set up by region—Germans over here, Italians over there, Australians in that corner, etc. The Washington wineries were on the top floor of the venue and I got to them last. Last is not where you want to be at a tasting. And yet, the WA State wines blew away every other region represented at the tasting.

I mention this because it appears I might be poised to either have a second WA State Wine Epiphany or at least undertake a deeper exploration into what that state's vintners have up their sleeve.

In late March I'll be attending TASTE Washington where I'll be sitting on a couple panels and speaking to attendees as well as getting the chance to taste a stateload of wines. Between my first WA State Wine Epiphany and today, I have learned enough about WA wines to lure me up to the TASTE Washington event where I can investigate more. Here's what I know:

1. WA State, along with Michigan and New York, make the very best Rieslings in America

2. WA State Cabs and Merlot are the wines least likely to have the "unctuous" tag applied to them, meaning they are most likely, as a regional collection of wines, to deliver balance and complexity

3. Of the three best known wine producing states in America (CA, OR, WA), Washington's wines are the least understood by consumers across the country.

The TASTE Washington event is the state's most important consumer wine event focusing on its own wines. Consumers will attend seminars and taste a large array of homegrown wines. In addition, a number of great wine people will be on hand to speak including Andrea Immer-Robinson, Emily Wines, MS, Sara Schneider of Sunset Magazine, Joshua Greene of Wine & Spirits Magazine, Leslie Sbrocco, Doug Frost and others.

Me? I'll be talking to the trade about marketing and I'll be sitting in on a panel about value wines. I can't wait.

And it turns out that this year will be especially Washington-centric for me as I'll be returning to the state later in the year for the American Wine Bloggers Conference taking place in Walla Walla. Finally, in July, I'll be heading up to the International Pinot Noir Conference in Oregon. It looks like 2010 is turning out to be my Great Northwest Wine Adventure

Wish me luck.

10 Responses

  1. @nectarwine - February 18, 2010

    Rock on, Tom! I whole heartedly agree with you and consider myself blessed to live in wine country – well, Spokane, but still within a 1/2 days drive.
    Cheers and hope to see you in Seattle
    Josh @nectarwine

  2. PlantDrEMB - February 18, 2010

    We invite you to visit Prosser”s The Good Life booth at Taste Washington and visit during WBC10.

  3. Kori - February 18, 2010

    So glad to hear you’ll be coming to our great state soon, Tom. I can’t sing the praises of Washington wine enough! See you at Taste Washington. Cheers!

  4. Sean P. Sullivan - February 18, 2010

    Tom, look forward to seeing you at this year’s Taste Washington. You’re in for another treat.

  5. westoakland - February 18, 2010

    A good idea.
    But no matter how correct you may be, anything with a handle like ‘Washington’ these days isn’t going to play (taste) well.
    Any reference to the miscreants in (Washington) DC will ruin anything even remotely related.
    Why sully great wine and great folks?
    Instead, please recommend an alternative name and maybe their version of credible/honorable capitalism will survive.

  6. Tom Wark - February 18, 2010

    West Oakland:
    Really? That’s your comment?
    I can’t figure out if this is some strange sort of spam or just too much wine.

  7. [email protected] - February 18, 2010

    Tom, I’m delighted you’ll be spending some time up here. Hopefully you can help to “demystify” Washington wines for those who don’t live in this beautiful state. See you up here!

  8. Chicago Pinot - February 18, 2010

    Hi Tom! I’ve been leaning toward attending this one but this coming week, I am headed out to something called the Pinot Noir Summit in St. Raphael. Wish I could afford both (and wish I had the vacation time banked for both!)
    But I am definitely putting TasteWashington on my calendar for 2011!
    Seriously, you don’t think being the last table to serve at a wine tasting might be a possible advangtage? If your wine is great, it might be the only thing (responsible) customers remember about that event!

  9. Catie - February 18, 2010

    It’s about time you get your butt into Washington and taste what we have all been talking about. Hopefully, I will make it up there.

  10. Hampers - February 19, 2010

    Nice blog. Tasting Wines is a Fun and Delicious Learning Experience It was nice going through your blog. Keep on posting.

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