Worth the Wine: Washington Wineries Invest in the Future with Education

by Brooklynn Johnson

In recent years, the Washington wine industry has become a platform for creating a profound community impact through its support…


Sometimes I learn the most about wine—and wine drinkers—when I’m taken out of my normal routine. That was the case this past weekend when I provided wine pairings and some entertainment at a private dinner. Getting to interact with people who are interested in wine in a different setting than a restaurant or wine shop allowed for a greater range and depth of questions, and in answering them, I learned quite a bit about what people are afraid to ask in those more pressure-packed setting.

Nothing pairs alongside a perfectly-cooked flank steak quite like a glass of red wine. And this is true no matter how your beef is prepared.
Simple to make and even easier to eat, this straightforward stir fry packs a whole lot of flavor. Marinated in a combination of soy sauce, red wine, ginger and spices, the salty and slightly sweet sauce is thickened into a glaze for a gourmet take on traditional Chinese take-out.

It was the Alfalfa Leafcutting bee in Australia that lead Ron Bitner to Riesling. The tenured grapegrower also had nearly ten years under his belt as the proprietor of Bitner Vineyards when he came to his winemaker and neighboring vintner Greg Koenig about making dry Riesling from the Caldwell, Idaho estate.

Analemma Wines is one of those unique wineries that straddle two states while enjoying one American Viticultural Area (AVA). Located 10 minutes from Hood River, Oregon, Analemma now harvests from three separate vineyards but when they learned early on that their original leased vineyard was best suited for sparkling wines, it caused quite a paradigm shift.

Bill Grassie wears a number of hats: father, grandfather, husband, sales operations director for Dell, master gardener and, more recently, winemaker. Graduate of South Seattle Community College’s Northwest Wine Academy, Grassie and a few of his fellow grads opened a shared winemaking space in Woodinville, Washington, and William Grassie Wine Estates launched with the 2011 vintage.

When selecting your beverages, sometimes you may come across a label that may not make the most sense. You know it has something to do with the environment, but are unsure to what extent. Organic, biodynamic, Salmon-Safe: what do these industry terms actually mean? And, what producers create products that fit under these guidelines? We break it down into terms we all can understand.

It’s surprisingly hard to quantify the effect that 2012’s “SOMM” had on wine professionals, a documentary that follows four wine stewards as they prepare to take the Court of Master Sommelier’s Master Sommelier Exam. For the first time since “Sideways,” a movie that was about wine captured the public imagination, and this one wasn’t about the kinds of people you dread having next to you in a tasting room.

This wine is one in Okanagan Crush Pad’s Wine Campus series, an annual collaboration sponsored by the progressive Okanagan winery and awarded to the Vancouver International Wine Festival sommelier of the year. Proceeds from the sale of this wine benefit wine education scholarships through the BC Hospitality Foundation.

There are times when you want to drink socially with friends, and there are times when you want one hand on the brew and the other on the pinball plunger, memories circa ‘85 rushing back. Whatever place you’re in, we’ve got the digs for you. From lively games to live music, battle-axes to battle ship, here are a few go-to bars with a little extra on the menu.

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