Winery Visits: First of the Year Update

It was just a few months ago that I mentioned a quest to visit every winery in the state of Washington. Of course, I said that not realizing that the number of wineries was over 900. Not to be daunted by a seemingly insurmountable number, I dug in with some research, got this website and social media set up, and another month or so later started with my first winery visits.

With the holidays looming, I took off most of the end of the year, enjoying celebrating with Washington wine at home, and now starting off 2017 with renewed vigor and organization to tackle some more winery visits. Here’s an update of where I’ve been and what I’ve got coming up.

In late October I visited two small urban wineries in Tacoma, Vino Aquino and Coates Winery (also known as 21 Cellars ). Both are family owned wineries, making their wine on site,  and have small productions. You’re not going to find these at your local store or restaurant, you’ll need to go directly to the source to try – and buy – them.

In mid-November, I headed up to Whidbey Island for a long weekend complete with tasting. It had been several decades since I was last on Whidbey Island and things have changed. The one thing that hasn’t changed, though, was the sense of community and pride in the community that I found there. I learned about grapes planted and grown there, the experimentation going on with wine, and fell in love with the family backstories at each of the wineries. These are family businesses, not large corporations, and they sink or swim from one production year to the next. You’ll not find these wines in your neighborhood wine shop, unless you’re on the island, but I encourage you to visit, give them a taste, and check out their wine clubs. This is helping small businesses at the micro level.

I visited seven wineries:  Blooms Winery, Comforts of Whidbey, Dancing Fish Winery, Holmes Harbor Cellars (in photo), Ott & Murphy Wines, Spoiled Dog Winery, and Whidbey Island Winery.

I need to get back up to Whidbey Island, this time to spend time checking out things in Camano, and plan to do that later this spring.

So what’s next? Here’s what is in various stages of rollout.

Winery reviews.  As  I started to write up my tips and recommendations for visiting these wineries, amazed at the diversity they each offer, I realized that I needed a good couple of dozen visits in order to have sufficient information to create content and recommendations in a consistent format. I’m about half way there and am hoping that I’ll be able to roll out individual winery content in another few months.

Podcast. I’ll probably start out with a twice-monthly podcast and hopefully, can move to weekly by the end of the year. I’m working out some technology kinks related to recording and publishing and as soon as those are resolved I’ll be ready to start recording. I hope to have around five or six podcasts ready to go before launching. I’m close to being ready with this project, so I’m hoping for a launch sometime in March.

Wine Tasting. Although it takes time to schedule and organize a winery visit, there is a lot that I can do to share what Washington wines have to offer on a weekly basis. In addition to winery visits, I am now scheduling tasting (tasty?) meet ups with readers, friends, and wine fans. Each week I’ll share where I went and what I was drinking, whether that’s a local wine bar, a relaxing evening at home, a local wine tasting, `or a restaurant across the country that proudly serves Washington wines. Look for that starting next week. If you have a winery, wine bar, wine shop, restaurant, or other business that focuses on wine, I’d love to talk about meeting up, arranging a tasting, and discussing how we can work together. If you want to meet up for a delicious glass of Washington wine, have suggestions on where I should go, or want to chat about wine, please get in touch. You can send me an email to talk further. If I can plan far enough in advance, I’ll add a calendar of where I’ll be to the website. Join me!

Remember, I’m not a wine expert! I’m just like you – looking for something that tastes great in my glass for a price point I can live with. Special wines for special occasions, of course, but more a quest to discover Washington wines that are affordable for everyday drinking.

How can you keep up with what’s going on here at Seattle Bits & Bites?

Read the blog, of course, and sign up for the newsletter. I send out the newsletter around every other month, so you don’t need to worry about being spammed to death. I hate spam as much as you do.

Follow the social media accounts. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We have a small private Facebook group where we can get to know one another, share our favorite wine recommendations, ask questions, and talk more privately than the general privacy settings of Facebook. You can connect with me personally on Twitter, Facebook, or via email.

So that’s what going on. I’m looking forward to a delicious 2017 and hope you are, too.

It was just a few months ago that I mentioned a quest to visit every winery in the state of Washington. Of course, I said that not realizing that the number of wineries was over 900.

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