For those of you who haven’t been to this event (or something similar) – it could seem fromt the outside looking in that it’s a wine-lovers dream-come-true. 200 wineries pouring quality vino with a supporting cast of local restaurants to help keep the palate in-check is a lot to take in during the relatively “short” 6-hours.
I think what always seems to mess with me at this event is time – the clock starts ticking down at 2pm and before I know it, it’s 8pm and everyone is packing up. It seems I get the chance to hang out with just a few people and “poof” – it’s over. I’d love to hear your stories about this event if you were there.
This year’s event saw – what seemed like – a much smaller crowd than last year and I’m sure that has a lot to do with the state of the economy. Most people I know are looking for ways to cut back on spending money, not shell out $90-120 dollars on a luxury like this event. All that said, it did seem like (from the wineries I did talk to) that everything was going well. They were able to meet their fans, make new ones or even make those who struggle to enjoy their wines feel more validated – who knows?
From our perspective, the Taste WA event is cool in that we get the chance to see industry friends and make new ones as well – one of the things I personally enjoy is seeing all the upcoming wineries striving to make their mark in today’s crowded industry. The guys at NW Totem Cellars, Sweet Valley and Efeste to name a few are part of the catalyst that’ll help shape the NW wine industry of the future – they are passionate, full of life and have the drive to pursure excellence.
What was striking to me, however, was the lack of passion so many “well-known” winemakers had – if they all had the pure, unadulterated, passion of Gilles Nicault – then we’d all be drinking much better wines. Gilles has that personality that’s highly contagious, highly likable and quite frankly is a breath of fresh air – the wines he helps make seem to reflect that same spirit.
I felt that, overall, the food quality was better this year as well – there were a few mishaps in the house but I think most of them were sampling foods that adequately reflected their restaurants. A few of noteable ones were, Pike Place Chowder, Psalty’s and Kauzlarich Smoked Foods – Traci’s follow-up article will go into more details regarding the food.
So overall, I’m sure we’ll see the Washington Wine Commission releases stats that talk about what a great year this was for them and the industry, however, I think the real winners are the thousands of people like you and me who get to meet the great men and women behind the vino we all love to enjoy. If you’ve never been to this event, I’d encourage you to check it out next year – at least go once.
Find out who this dude in the glasses is by clicking here.