A decade of great taste

Taste Washington celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and, happily for attendees, it is returning to its old format of seminars on Saturday and “Grand Tasting” on Sunday. I won’t belabor last year’s fiasco of seminars and tasting on one day. There was a lot of wine and little food. It was a disaster!

Mark your calendar for April 14 and 15!

Saturday is a la carte and is at Bell Harbor Conference Center on the Seattle waterfront. The 10 seminars range from $45 to $99; luncheon is $45. Saturday’s keynote luncheon features the founder of Wine Enthusiast Magazine with Piero Antinori of Italy’s Antinori Winery as the special guest.

On Sunday, the Grand Tasting is at Qwest Field Event Center and the hours have been expanded. VIP admission, which allows early entry at 2 p.m., is $125. General admission from 4 to 8 p.m. is $85. More than 50 restaurants will present their cuisine.

A new event called "Twenty Something" features winemakers, live music and our area’s young chefs at the West Club Lounge at Qwest Field. It is Saturday night from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Cost is $40.

The educational seminars have always been true edification. Experts explain topics in an intimate classroom setting. Bell Harbor Conference Center is a great venue, and attendees flow easily from classroom to classroom.

Here’s a rundown of the choices:

  • Single Vineyard Sensations: Chris Camarda of Andrew Winery will guide attendees though a lineup of top-of-the-line wines from single vineyards. Terrior, or vineyard climate and soil makeup, will be discussed. $60

  • $20-and-under Washington Wonders: Washington is the world leader in great wine at a low cost. $35

  • Inside the Winemaker’s Studio: Led by Rick Small of legendary Woodward Canyon, one of the pioneer wineries in Walla Walla. $45

  • What a Woman Wants: All-female panel of master sommeliers, winemakers and marketing gurus. Is there a female palate? $45

  • Chateau Ste. Michelle’s High-Scoring Wines, Collectables, and Everyday Wines: Led by CSM President Ted Baseler, several winemakers from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, Northstar and Col Solare discuss quality at all levels. $45

  • Foreign Invasion: Allen Shoup, visionary behind Long Shadows, super cult wine, will lead the discussion of Washington grapes in foreign hands. Learn how to say “wow” in French, Italian, German and Australian. $60

  • Blind Tasting Bootcamp: The process of identifying grapes and evaluating quality without knowing what is in your glass. $45

  • Swirl Syrah: Four wine professionals from France, Australia, Canada and Washington defend their turf in a discussion of syrah, Washington’s newest and very popular red. $45

  • Tiny Titans: Micro-wineries with macro quality. Washington has one of the greatest concentrations of wineries that produce fewer than 1,500 cases. $45

  • A Decade of DeLille: To commemorate Taste Washington’s 10th anniversary, Chris Upchurch of DeLille Winery will lead participants through a vertical of 10 years of Chaleur Estate rouge. $99

    Years ago, Taste Washington was a one-day event in the Paramount Theatre with the seats removed. Even with just 40 wineries and 40 restaurants, it was crowded and dark. In 2002, it moved to Qwest Event Center with 170 wineries and 100 restaurants participating!

    It is helpful to have a list of wineries as you enter, because it’s easy to become distracted and later realize that you missed some favorites.

    Ticket information is available at or by calling 206-667-9463.

    Dee Hitch can be reached at

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