Ed. note – So I’m writing for Seattlest now (huzzah!). This is my first post and be on the lookout as I write more about wine and all things tasty there.
The Washington Wine Commission‘s flagship event is this weekend; Taste Washington. It is a huge party celebrating all that is good about our state’s wine industry and one that is worth experiencing. Throughout March, local wineries, restaurants and retailers celebrate Washington Wine month leading up to the grand event. Come and discover why our Syrah is distinctive or why our Merlot would make the Right Bank proud.
With an epic event like this, one needs a game plan to properly partake and enjoy all the wines that will be poured. Most importantly, one needs to rise above the fray and not come to Taste looking to get smashed. Here’s how to avoid that.
- Take a cab or have a designated driver – You’ll be drinking a lot of wine, so enjoy yourself, get a cab, or recruit a friend that likes beer a bit too much to be the DD. Besides, you’ll pick up a ton of swag, they can be the one to carry it.
- Eat! – There are a host of great restaurants serving food throughout the event. You’ve already dropped a C-note for this, so come with an empty stomach to try all sorts of eats. Plus, it helps to absorb the vino you’ll be imbibing. While you’re at it, stop by the Canlis booth and tell the guys your tall tale from last fall’s scavenger hunt and visit the Dahlia Lounge’s spot to congratulate the Tom Douglas Restaurant team on their James Beard nomination.
- Have a wine tasting game plan – Washington has over 600 different wineries and the Grand Tasting will have upwards of 200, so your options at Taste can be overwhelming. Target about 12-16 wineries that you want to try and seek them out. Take a look at the event guide (PDF) and plot your plan of attack. Note that the biggies like Betz and Waters will have huge lines and will also pour all of their stuff early. This is where having a VIP ticket is advantageous.
- Prepare to be surprised – There will be moments where you won’t know what to taste next. Luckily you can walk in any direction and someone will be pouring wine. See what varietals they are pouring and if one interests you, try it. Who knows, you may discover your next favorite wine producer
- To spit or not to spit – This is a classic philosophical question. If you want to drink more than five wines, you’ll have to do one or the other. The Washington Wine Commission had a marketing campaign that was called ‘It’s Hip to Spit‘. While the naming of this campaign is silly, the spirit isn’t. Your palate will be fried with too much wine if you keep drinking. If you do spit, be polite, no one likes a messy spitter.
- Drink lots of water! – Stay hydrated and drink lots of water. Have your friend the designated driver hold your bottle.
- Ask questions – When at the table engage the pourer. Ask them about their wine and their role at the winery. The winery may be their life’s passion; what you may learn in these few minutes could go miles.
Have fun and enjoy the tasting – It’s only wine; a consumable meant to be enjoyed. Treat it as such and have fun. One last thing, take your time. The event goes from 4-7pm , so don’t feel you have to cover it all as soon as you get there. Take the evening in and enjoy a glass. Or two. Or seven.