By Duane Pemberton
& Sarah Bagon
For people in the Seattle area who love good food and good wine, there really is a few events of the year that they should be attending and the Seattle Wine and Food Experience is one of them. It’s a one-day event that takes place every year around this time of the year and has been held at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall off of Mercer Street.
Event planner extraordinaire and former Washington Wine Commission gal, Jamie Peha, puts on this event and does so to a sold-out venue.
No self-respecting wine event can claim success unless it reaches a certain crowd-level because with the larger crowds come a certain “buzz” and “life” into the event. Jamie and crew sold out again this year – selling over 1300 tickets and it’s no wonder.
The sheer amount of wine and food available from all over the globe make this a no-brainer event to attend – from the wine geeks to those relatively new to the wine scene there is something here for almost everyone over 21.
In addition to wine, there were also quite a few beer vendors on-hand, pouring their finely crafted malted beverages as well as some cider folks as well.
One of the things we appreciated about the crowd is how there seemed to be a pretty good steady pace throughout the hall – at no time, did we experience an isle-clogging mass-gathering at any one table in the main exhibition area.
The crowd favorite and easily the “rock star” of the entire event – in our humble opinion – was the Oregon Wine Suite.
Packed full of some of the best producers in the great State of Oregon – visitors got to sample wines from most of Oregon’s major wine-growing AVAs – from the Willamette Valley, to the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon to way over in the northeast corner of the Walla Walla Valley AVA. The sampling of wines on-hand here were amazing .
Perhaps it’s because folks are a bit tired of “cellar palate” (only drinking WA wines) or it’s because I’d like to think that Oregon does some amazing things with wine that Washington doesn’t or can’t do and we should embrace them as our wine-pounding brethren.
The Oregon Wine Board was at the event as well, helping to educate the folks on all the latest happenings in Oregon. Their commitment to helping everyone understand how kick-ass the wines are from their home state is to be applauded – I only hope that Washington and Oregon can do more co-marketing efforts in the future under the banner of “Northwest Wines”.
Of course there was wines from Washington but also there were wines here from all over – including the wines at the Goelet Wine Estates – most of us, however, only know them by their famous Clos Du Val; however, the parent company also has wines from Australia, New Zealand and France.
In fact, their little Rhone-style blend was among our favorite wine of the day – and when you factor in that it’s only about $18 retail, it becomes even better.
Did someone say “food”?
The food being served was out of control – in a good way. Just about any kind of food – seafood, beef etc – could be found . There was a beautiful bounty on-hand but the area that was constantly packed with long lines was the “beef bistro”, serving up – of course – some of the most delicious beef snacks to be sampled at any wine event.
All kinds of Seattle-area restaurants were here, including our favorite team from the Tulalip Resort – their culinary team have never disappointed and continue to be huge advocates of the Northwest wine scene in general.
Audi was the auto sponsor this year and were showcasing their latest, fine automobiles – I was given a 2012 A7 to drive up to the event with and can tell you from first-hand experience that their new cars kick butt. Look for my full written impressions on that car soon.
If you’re at all looking for a great-handling car and have the budget, I’d highly recommend checking out their entire line-up.