Tips and Tricks for Taste Washington 2011

Okay folks, Taste Washington weekend is upon us. Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most of this year’s event.

1. Make a plan for Sunday’s Grand Tasting

There are over 200 wineries represented at Taste Washington, so it is only possible to taste wines from a small fraction of them. You can take a walk and wander approach and taste at wineries as you come across them, or you can have a specific plan of attack.

In terms of making a specific plan, look at the list of participating wineries and categorize ones that you definitely want to check out as well as ones that you really hope to go to and ones that are on the bubble. Some wineries pour out early, so make sure to visit the ones you definitely want to visit first. You can also make a point of focusing on a single varietal or type of wine.

2. Get the lay of the land

The conference center is a massive place. Make sure to check out the map of the event in the event guide to help get oriented before you go on Sunday.

3. It’s hip to spit!

The great thing about Taste Washington is that you are able to taste a large amount of Washington wine in a single setting. However, you can taste even more wine if you make a point to spit most of it out during the event. Last year there were spit cups placed everywhere throughout the event hall. To the extent that there are not this time around, grab a cup from the espresso bar. You’ll have a much better time (and a better recollection of the event the next day). Regardless of whether you spit or not, I strongly advise taking a cab to and from the event.

4. Eat early, eat often

There’s lots of great food at the event so make sure to take advantage of it. In particular, check out the ‘white out’ bar with white wines and seafood, including more oysters than anyone could possibly eat (although many try). If you are a vegetarian, expect it to be somewhat difficult to find food at the event. See the event guide for the location of the cheese bar.

5. Check out the Taste the Vineyards section

There is a section devoted to vineyards where you can check out wines made from a single source. Vineyards represented this year include Klipsun, Evergreen, and Sagemoor. This area tends to be pretty quiet so you can taste a number of wines reasonably quickly and talk to people about the vineyards.

6. Have fun!

This is a great event, so make sure to have a good time. Things can get quite crowded at times. If the lines at a particular table get long, try moving on to another spot and coming back. There’s more than enough wine out there.

Below are a just few wines being poured at the event that I have either had before and recommend checking out or am excited to try. Feel free to comment with your own list (or, of course, keep it very, very secret).

Hope to see you there!

Amavi Cellars 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2008 Syrah
Andrew Will 2008 Sorella
Barrister Winery 2008 Cabernet Franc
Bergevin Lane 2008 Princess Syrah
Betz Family Winery 2009 La Cote Patriarch
Barnard Griffin 2010 Rose of Sangiovese
Bunchgrass 2008 Founders Blend
Chinook 2008 Cabernet Franc
Col Solare 2007 Red Wine
DeLille Cellars 2009 Chaleur Estate White Wine
Fidelitas 2008 Malbec and 2008 Merlot
Gorman Winery 2008 The Bully
Gramercy Cellars 2008 John Lewis Syrah
Hamilton Cellars 2007 Malbec
Hogue Cellars 2009 Sauvignon Blanc
L’Ecole No 41 – Stop by to check out the wines and their new label
Maison Bleue 2009 La Montagnette Grenache and 2009 Graviere
Milbrandt 2009 Traditions Riesling
Mercer Estates 2008 Petit Verdot
Nefarious Cellars 2010 Estate Viognier
Reininger 2007 Carmenère
Saviah Cellars 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Petit Verdot
Soos Creek 2008 Artist Series #8
Syncline 2009 Grenache and 2010 Rose
Tranche Cellars 2010 Rose (first released estate wine for the winery)
Waters 2009 Interlude
Woodward Canyon 2009 Chardonnay Washington State

Sean P. Sullivan


  1. Folks need to go check out the wines from Cooper Wine Company and Laurelhurst Cellars. Coop is a small operation over on Red Mountain and Laurelhurst is a small operation down in the Georgetown neighborhood. They're both making very nice Washington wines.

  2. Clive, I'll second that on both. Making some great wines.

  3. Thank you for the suggestions on which to try. I agree with Clive on Cooper. Great wine!

  4. I'll be pouring for Cooper, so be sure to drop by and say Hi and try his excellent wines. I'd put Sparkman Cellars on the must try list as well!

  5. LeAnn, can't disagree with Sparkman. The Wilderness that is being poured is a great bang for the buck as well. See you there!

  6. All, another heads up. Some wineries will have a 'secret stash' wine as well as what they are pouring at the table. One is a new wine from Chateau Ste. Michelle. 94% Cold Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, only 200 cases produced. Use the code word "Druthers" when you get to the CSM table to get the under the table pour. Enjoy!

  7. I agree with Clive about Cooper and am super excited to try the wines from Laurelhurts! I had the Tranche Cellars rose the other day at the winery and it is bomb! I also got to taste through the entire new lineup from Amavi and I loved what I had! And lastly, the Princess syrah from Bergevin Lane is one serious wine; it will blow people away!

  8. Hey, Sean, had a lot of people coming by our table at Taste WA specifically to try after being directed by you. Thanks again. Keep writing!

  9. Eric, great to hear! Keeping rocking it at Amavi.