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Categorized | Events

Taste Wa 2008 – That’s a wrap

I’ve got to be perfectly candid with you; the “Grand Tasting” event at this year’s Taste WA – for me – wasn’t all I would’ve hoped it to be. Before you take that the wrong way, let me explain. The event itself was executed well and in all due fairness my issues with it don’t lie in that regard. I guess what bothers me is whenever you cram that many wineries into a room like that and couple it with (mostly) sub-standard food, the overall experience can turn into a glorified excuse for most of the slack-jawed yokels to get wasted.

The best part for us (and I hope for most of the attendees) is the chance to meet some of the find folks behind the wine and hopefully walk away with a better understanding of what exactly goes into making a fine bottle of vino.

For those who have never been to an event this size, think of what it’d be like to get 200 wineries and over 100 restaurants together under one roof for a total of 6-hours (assuming you paid the $120 VIP ticket price for the extra two hours). Add around 2000 people, vendor booths strewed around like gangbusters and you’ve started to scratch the surface of what Taste WA is really all about.

No doubt this was the Washington Wine Commission’s once-a-year chance to showcase what this state is capable of producing, but I think something gets a bit lost in the mix of things. I’m sure the commission plans on growing this thing as large as it can get it but good Lord how many wines can someone really taste in only a few short hours before their palate is jacked up? Thank God for a company like Peterson Cheese who brought some serious kung-fu with some of the most incredible cheeses I’ve ever had to help keep the palate cleansed.

Going forward, it’d be nice if the commission could do more to really hone in on the relational side of this event rather than just the wine. Granted, it’s the wine that brings us all under one roof at one time, but the personal connections can be hard to really cement in an event of this proportion. I’d love to see the commission do some sort of marketing campaigns in the future about how wine brings people together – rather than just bragging about the numbers involved (amount of wineries, participants, restaurants etc).

We here at “the foot” (as GaryV calls it), are all about the people and finding ways to bring them together over great food and great wines – let’s hope that the rest of the industry can help support us in that.

If you’ve never been to an event like this, you owe it to yourself to at least go one time to really get a small glimpse of how massive the wine industry really is and the impact it has in our overall economy at large. I promise it’ll wear you out by the end of the day but at least you can say you’ve “been there, done that”.

Highs:
Yellow Hawk Cellars Barbera
Hurricane Ridge Purple Rouge
Cougar Crest Viogner
Fidelitas Optu
Pacific Rim Riesling
Covington Cellars Cellar Sauce
Barking Frog’s “boar-dog”

Lows:
Most of the food we tried was sub-standard in light of whom was serving it
Too many wines to drink – never enough time to properly enjoy them
The Ghetto-glass everyone received to drink wine out of
Where were the rubber pads or thick carpets for the booth-workers to stand on? Their feet must’ve been killin’ by the end of the day.

  • http://beyondthebottle.com Thad

    A fair assessment of what is always an over the top event considering the number of wineries involved. I encourage you to check out the seminars next year, as these offer a much more intimate and informative approach to Washington wine. I agree everyone should do the Taste WA big event once, but highly recommend attending the seminars as these exceeded my expectations. And the food served was fantastic.

  • http://winefoot.com dp

    Right.. but the seminars are like $90 – think of how much wine that’d buy!! :)

  • Nico

    dp,

    Thank you for the high five on the Pacific Rim Riesling.

    I agree on Taste, it needs better food…