Monday, October 12, 2009


Last week, I had the privilege of attending the 2009 Washington Wine Road Trip, orchestrated by the folks at the Washington Wine Commission, and illuminated by such wineries as L’Ecole No. 41, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia, Abeja, Bunnell Family, Bookwalter, DeLille Cellars, and nearly 75 more. Wine Buyers and Sommeliers from all over the country were along for the ride, on buses called “Free Bird”, “Truckin’”, “Low Rider” and “Born To Run”. 40 attendees in total, from Vermont, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco – it was truly a national group.

WWC Education Director Shayn Bjornholm and his team of Washington oenophiles led us from Seattle, to Walla Walla, to Yakima and Woodinville, highlighting a comparatively young wine industry that in my mind, is far and away superior to California in terms of variety, value and exuberance. And in meshing great wines and scenery, they even provided a great classic-rock-tinged soundtrack for the drunken choreographic aspect of our trip. Songs such as “Free Bird”, “Life is a Highway” and “Takin’ it To The Streets” served as backdrop for a 4 day excursion through vineyards and mountainscapes. I only wish they would have put on the greatest road trip wake up song in Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”. Check it out:

Over the course of this week, I will highlight some of the wonderful stops and some of the great wines we were able to taste and witness being made during harvest. Washington wines deserve to be included in the amphitheater of great wines from places such as Bordeaux, California, Burgundy, Germany, and the Rhone, and hopefully, after this week, you’ll have some idea of why.

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