Seemingly appropriate, Taste Washington turns 21 this year. The country’s largest single-region wine and food event, the 2018 version brings together 235 wineries, 65 restaurants and 60 culinary exhibitors from across the region for four days of wine-soaked gluttony this weekend, March 22-25.
It’s a lot, we get it. To help you run this motha like Beyonce, we’ve pulled together years of Taste Washington experiencing to offer you the best advice to get through the weekend.
Book an urban farm trip.
Bringing you to the farm table, the “On the Farm” experiences range from a Bainbridge Island trip to a flyaway to an orchard, all on Friday. Though most are sold out at this point, spots are still available for “Wine in the City” at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle. Guests will savor a gourmet lunch made by Chef Kyle Peterson of Palace Kitchen while on the 16-acre working farm at the University of Washington’s campus.
Don your red or white.
The night before your urban farm excursion, check your closet for the proper colored attire for the Red & White Party at AQUA by El Gaucho on Seattle’s waterfront. 30 Washington winemakers will be pouring their top bottles, only available to taste at this singular party.
Be a who’s who.
Rub elbows with the likes of “Top Chef” stars Gregory Gourdet, Sheldon Simeon and Brooke Williamson, as well as celebrities of local kitchens like Stuart Lane of Spinasse and Artusi and Shota Nakajima of Adana at this Friday night event that tends to sell out. Fill up in the Rosé Lounge before catching the sweet beats of Man Made Time, the LA-based synth pop duo on stage.
Invest in the seminars.
Start your Saturday and/or Sunday mornings with education from Washington wine experts during this curated selection of seminars. Winemakers, master sommeliers and industry personalities sit as panelists in each, from a spotlight and tasting on a single Washington vineyard to others comprehending the science of wine and Old World vs. Washington wine.
Eat before the Grand Tasting.
This might come off like adulting 101, but getting a substantial meal in prior to potentially tasting your weight in wine at Saturday and Sunday’s Grand Tasting is important. While there is many a’ food station in the CenturyLink Event Center for this affair — and much of it delicious (get your fill of oysters first, then find the Scottish eggs from Rider and the pork belly waffles from Quality Athletics) — they are small portions and you are one of thousands in attendance trying to stuff their face. Get a base layer of sustenance in before you start loading the rest on top.
Make a top five list.
It’s ambitious — largely because you might have to throw it to the wind — but make a list of your top five wineries you’d like to visit. Try to hit your top two first, break for oysters, then check off what you can from there. Alternatively, go in blind and let your senses lead you: like the look of that label/winemaker/line of guests? How about the smell of that restaurant? Go get ’em, tiger.
Try the other beverages available.
Tannins starting to get to those taste buds? Mix it up with a cider from Finnriver Farm & Cidery or hit the beer garden and sip suds from Redhook and Lagunitas. Fresh-brewed coffee never hurts and water always helps.
And remember, drink responsibly and leave the car at home.