Weekend brings Taste Washington grand tastings

By on March 28, 2015
Washington wine

Taste Washington, at the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle, has become the largest event of its kind. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

SEATTLE — Taste Washington turns 18 today, but it’s been grown up for quite awhile.

More than 4,000 fans of Washington wine are expected to file into Seattle’s CenturyLink Event Center today and Sunday for the two-day grand tasting, so organizers tout it as the largest single-region wine and food event in the United States.

This year, Taste Washington’s public tasting runs 2-5 p.m. today and Sunday as about 200 wineries and 70 restaurants gather. General admission is $90 for a single-day pass, while the VIP pass, which grants access one hour before the gates open, costs $160.

The consumer education piece continues to grow, and each of the Sunday seminars has been sold out. Tickets remain available for the Saturday seminars.

Featured areas

taste-washington-wine-month-posterAlaska Airlines Chef’s Stage — Watch top local and national chefs demonstrate their cooking skills live and offer culinary tips in our state-of-the-art kitchen.

Experience Alaska Beyond Delicious – Sample the Alaska Airlines inflight food and wine experience, made especially for tasting at 30,000 feet.

Alaska Visa Signature Cardholder’s VIP Lounge – Show your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card for exclusive access and VIP treatment.

AQUA by El Gaucho Oyster & Chowder Bar – Indulge in fresh Taylor Shellfish oysters on the half shell and savory seafood chowder.

Fonté Coffee Lounge – Enjoy handcrafted espresso beverages and brewed coffee.

Cider Makers of Washington – Sample artisan hard ciders from Washington cideries and learn why cider is becoming a popular beverage choice in the U.S.

Taste the Vineyards – Mingle with the growers and winemakers, and try a new approach to wine tasting.

Dessert Bar – Treat your sweet tooth to a sampling of decadent cupcakes, rich chocolate truffles and creamy ice cream. Also, sample dessert wines from Washington wineries.

Saturday seminars

Washington vs. The World

Moderator: Doug Charles, Compass Wines. Panelists: Ben Smith, Cadence; Bob Betz, MW, Betz Family; Chris Upchurch, DeLille & Upchurch; Gilles Nicault, Long Shadows; Megan Krigbaum, Food & Wine Magazine; Mike Macmorran, Mark Ryan.

Appellation Spotlight: Columbia Gorge

Moderator: Matt Stamp, MS Guild of Sommeliers. Panelists: Brian McCormick, Memaloose; Luke Bradford, Cor Cellars; Steven Thompson, Analemma; Yashar Shayan, Impulse Wines.

The Chardonnay Revival

Moderator: Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast Magazine & Washington Wine Report. Panelists: Bob Berthau, Chateau Ste Michelle; Brennon Leighton, Charles Smith Wines; David O’Reilly, Owen Roe; Linda Murphy, Sonoma Magazine; Marie-Eve Gilla, Forgergon; Sean Hails, Columbia Winery.

Sunday seminars

Wine Tasting with the Masters

Moderator: Greg Harrington, MS, Gramercy Cellars. Panelists: Thomas Price, MS, Jackson Family Fine Wines; Matt Stamp, MS, Guild of Sommeliers; Rob Bigelow, MS, Ste Michelle Wine Estates; John Ragan, MS, Union Square Hospitality Group.

Appellation Spotlight: Red Mountain

Moderator: Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast Magazine & Washington Wine Report

Panelists: Bob Betz, MW, Betz Family; Charlie Hoppes, Fidelitas; Jim Holmes, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard; Kevin Pogue, PhD, Whitman College; Paul McBride, Force Majeure.

The Cider Renaissance

Moderator: David Flaherty, Washington Wine Commission. Panelists: Crystie Kisler, Finnriver; Erin James, Sip Northwest & CiderCraft; Alan Shapiro, Cider Summit.

Taste Washington is a collaboration between the Washington State Wine Commission and VisitSeattle. The Washington State Wine Commission represents every licensed winery and each wine grape grower in the state. It provides a marketing platform to raise awareness and increase demand. It is funded via assessments on grape and wine sales. The commission is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987, and its board of directors is filled by appointment.

VisitSeattle, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization for more than 50 years.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

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