Tips for Taste Washington

By Kori ~ March 9th, 2010.

Taste Washington in Seattle is rapidly approaching. Over 200 wineries and 75 restaurants will be pouring wines and serving bites at the Grand Tasting on Sunday, March 28th, at the Qwest Field Event Center. If you are not familiar with this fabulous event, check out my Taste Washington 2010 Preview post for further information.

For those of you who will be attending Taste Washington for the first time, I’d like to share some tips for making the most of the event. Taste Washington is a huge event and can be overwhelming if you are not prepared. You will be wise to plan a strategy ahead of time.

Whether you attend the Grand Tasting which lasts three hours or pay extra for an additional two hours of tasting, it is impossible to visit every booth and taste every wine being poured and every bite being served.

First, I suggest that you visit the Taste Washington website to preview the list of participating wineries. Make a list of the wineries that you’d like to visit, and then prioritize that list. Start with the ten you don’t want to miss, then mark the next ten you’d like to visit if you have time and so on. According to the Washington Wine Commission, the event program should be posted on the Taste Washington website sometime next week which will include a map of where the winery booths will be located. [Editor’s Note: Event Program is now available here.] I encourage you to print it out so you can plan your route. It really gets crowded during the general admission hours, so you might not get to as many wineries as you’d like. But if you visit only ten winery booths and try all three wines they are serving, that’s thirty wines right off the bat. Then depending on time, crowds, etc., you can try more if you’d like.

If you’re looking for suggestions of which wineries you should be sure to try, I encourage you to take a look at our “go-to” list of Washington wineries for 2009.

Once you have determined which wineries you’d like to try and you are actually at the event, there are several things to keep in mind to make sure you make the most of the event while tasting responsibly. These tips are important to remember for wine tasting newbies and veterans alike.

  • Remember the Taste Washington motto: It’s Hip to Spit! This is extremely important. We always spit when we attend large tasting events like this or are visiting wineries. Otherwise, you end up drinking too much which won’t feel good the next morning and you won’t be able to really tell which wines you like and don’t like after the first few you taste.
  • Drink water. Alcoholic drinks dehydrate your body so it is important to drink lots of water to help your body rehydrate.
  • Eat. Be sure to eat a good meal before the event begins so that you are starting with a full stomach. Then, once inside, stop at the restaurant booths to keep your stomach full. Try to eat something at least between every fifteen to twenty wines you taste.
  • Make safe transportation arrangements. After you’ve enjoyed this fabulous event, we want to make sure you get home safely.

And last, but certainly not least, have fun!

Filed under: American Wine, General Wine Information, Washington State Wine, Wine Activities/Events

Reader's Comments

  1. Brian White | March 9th, 2010 at 8:30 am

    As always good advice! Can’t wait to try out some new stuff this year. Of course I always have more to try than I can since we don’t have ready access to a lot of Washington wines in Texas! It is always such a fun event! I am bringing one “newbie” this year, so its always fun to watch them walk into the Qwest Center and go WOW!!!!!

  2. Kori | March 12th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks so much! Hope you and your “newbie” friend have a wonderful time. Maybe we’ll run into each other again. Cheers!

  3. Tips for Taste Washington | Wine Gift Basket Ideas | March 13th, 2010 at 11:42 am

    […] last, but certainly not least, have fun! Tips for Taste Washington was originally posted on Wine Peeps on Tue, 09 Mar 2010 15:00 UTC. Wine Peeps – Your link to […]

  4. karen | March 17th, 2010 at 11:54 am

    As always John and Kori, Wine Peeps provides a well rounded source of information about all things wine. What a great idea to post “How to do the Taste”!

    I thought I would add a little “From the other side of the table”. As a winery (Fielding Hills Winery) it is helpful, certainly not mandatory, if those tasting give a hint as to where they are in their qwest of wine knowledge. I have in the past felt silly explaining what an AVA is only to find out I’m talking to someone with advanced wine knowledge. At the beginning of a conversation we try to figure out whether to start at “where is Eastern Washington” or jump right into “the nuiances of the 2005 growing conditions vs. 2006 and why we use nongrafted rootstock vines at Riverbend Vineyard.” There is a fascinating and huge variety of knowledge in those attending.

    We want very much to provide just the right information and experience for those attending. So don’t be shy, tell us what you want to know and what we can we do to make your visit to Taste Washington even better!

  5. Kori | March 26th, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts “from the other side of the table.” You are absolutely right, everyone will get more out of it if they are open about their knowledge level and what they’d like to know. Great advice. See you on Sunday!

  6. Brian White | March 29th, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Hey Guys!

    It was great seeing you three at Taste yesterday afternoon! Where do you begin with the good wine!!!!!!

    I e-mailed Ross tonight about his 07 Boushey Syrah and he has just a few left. It is in 5L bottles.

    Hope to see you guys next time. Until then, I’ll be looking forward to lots of great posts by you guys!

  7. Kori | April 1st, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    It was great to see you again at Taste Washington. So glad that you were able to make it again and bring along some friends as well. Thanks so much for the info on the Ross Andrew large format bottles. Take care and I hope to see you again soon. Cheers!