Holiday Sips and Tips

The holidays are a time when we often worry about selecting the “right” wines to accompany the delicious assortment of foods that will adorn our festive tables — and the abundance of advice that exists can sometimes feel overwhelming. Following are a few tips designed to eliminate the stress of making the “right” decision, so that you can relax and enjoy the day!

First, for big holiday meals don’t overcomplicate the wine selection. It can be as easy as simply opening a few different types of wine and letting people choose their favorites.

If you have a special, prized bottle of wine in your cellar, bring it up for the holidays and open it before dinner. Let your guests enjoy all of its delicate flavors. This might be a perfect time to offer a toast to those most special in your life.

At the table, food takes center stage. So serve several bottles of food-friendly, less expensive wines that blend well with the wide variety of dishes that you are serving. Then, sit back and enjoy your gathering.

Several Olympic Peninsula Wineries are offering “holiday” wines, perfect for sipping or for pairing with a variety of foods.

Port Townsend’s Sorensen Cellars recently released a 2007 Malbec from Two Coyote Vineyard near Zillah. Beautifully dark and inky in color, with a nose of Mountain Huckleberries that carries over onto the palate. A terrific wine to go with hearty winter stews and cassoulet. $20.00 per bottle. Place orders at the winery at 360.379.6416.

In Port Angeles, Olympic Cellars’ new La Galopine, a Roussanne and Viognier blend, is perfect for sipping before your holiday meal. This white Rhone blend offers up luscious aromas of fresh stone fruit, dry yet vibrant with dancing acidity. Barrel fermented and aged “sur lies” for 12 months. The wine is made with grapes from Ciel du Cheval, considered Red Mountain’s top vineyard. These grapes are sold only to 20 Washington wineries. NEW RELEASE: $23.99

Perfect for the table, Olympic Cellars’ Cranberry Jubilee holiday wine is medium-bodied with a fruit-filled cranberry finish. Crisp, and just a little bit sweet, the wine is decadent with leftovers from your turkey dinner. $15.99.

Harbinger Winery, also in Port Angeles, just released its 2008 Cranberry Bliss, an off-dry blend of Barrel-fermented Rose, Chardonnay, and Cranberrry wine. The cranberries are harvested from a bog in Grayland, Washington. The wine is a great match for just about any holiday “gastronimical situation,”  be it salmon, sushi, or ham. About 50 cases are available to the public, and they will be gone by the New Year. Pick up your bottle today!

More Olympic Peninsula “Fun Facts”

1. Which Olympic Peninsula location was a runner up for the filming of Disney’s second film in the series, “The Chronicles of Narnia?”
Answer: Quinault Valley

2. How did Port Townsend get its name?
Answer: Captain George Vancouver originally named the city “Port Townshend” in 1792 for his friend the Marquis of Townshend.

3. Which Native American tribes were located in what is now Jefferson County in the mid-19th century?
Answer: Chemakum (or Chimacum), Hoh (a group of the Quileute), Klallam (or Clallam), Quinault and Twana (Kilcid band-Anglicized: Quilcene).

4. Which towns on the Olympic Peninsula’s east side are known as, “The Emerald Towns?”
Answer: Quilcene & Brinnon

5. What are the 7 stocks of fish found in the Dungeness River?
Answer: Chinook; Chum; Coho; Pink; Steelhead; Cutthroat and Char.

Olympic Peninsula Fun Facts

While you may know the Olympic Peninsula as an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with old-growth forests for hiking, mountain biking and camping, scenic waters for boating, kayaking, fishing and diving, and of course, as home to award-winning artisan wineries, chances are there are a few things that you don’t know about this beautiful region of our state. Here are a few “fun facts” to add
to your knowledge base.

1. The Olympic Peninsula is home to the only rainforests in the Continental United States. These forests are among the rainiest places in the world.

2. The Quinault Valley is called the “Valley of the Giants” because 6 of the world’s largest species of evergreens reside there in relatively close walking distances from developed areas.

3. The Hood Canal town of Quilcene is world famous for its oysters.

4. At 7,980 feet, Mount Olympus is the highest peak in Olympic National Park and has the third largest glacial system in the contiguous U.S.

5. Where on the Olympic Peninsula can you find a herd of Roosevelt elk? In the cities or Brinnon, Sequim and Forks.

Passport Wine Tour This Weekend! Remember – it’s B.Y.O.G. (bring our own glass)!

The Olympic Peninsula Wineries invite you to come out and enjoy award-winning handcrafted wines superbly paired with fresh Olympic Coastal Cuisine during the Passport Wine Tour this weekend, November 14-15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. We’re adding a new twist to this year’s event — bring your own glass! It’s a fun opportunity to show off the most unique piece in your collection. We look forward to pouring our wines in your special glass and hearing what makes it your favorite. Tickets for the self-guided tour are $25.00 and entitle holders to a label collection Passport, complimentary wine tastings and samples of local cuisine at each winery.

For the past couple of weeks we’ve been highlighting what each of our wineries will be serving during Passport Weekend on our blog. Today we’re down to the final two — Camaraderie  Cellars and Harbinger Winery, both in Port  Angeles.

Camaraderie Cellars will feature seasonal tasty bites including roasted beet vinaigrette and wine-poached pears, along with Bell Street Bakery’s seasonal vegetable bread. These delicious bites will be paired with Camaraderie’s favorites: a just released Malbec, Tempranillo, and our popular Viognier.

Harbinger Winery will release a limited bottling of our popular seasonal Cranberry Bliss, as well as the 2008 Viognier, 2007 Syrah, and 2007 El Jefe’
(a reserve Spanish blend with a Rhone twist).  These wines will be matched with locally grown foods, including a savory Chanterelle and Chevre blintz made with locally foraged Chanterelle Mushrooms.

Fall is a beautiful time to visit the Olympic Peninsula — we hope to see you this weekend!

Port Townsend Wineries Feature Local Cheeses, Home Grown Appetizers for Passport Weekend

With the holidays just around the corner, now is a good time to start considering which wines you will serve with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. And the Olympic Peninsula Wineries’ Passport Wine Tour offers a variety of food (and wine) for thought! Visit the wineries on November 14-15 from
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.and sample new and current release wines superbly paired with fresh Olympic Coastal Cuisine. Some of the wineries will feature special limited bottlings for the holidays.

In Port Townsend, FairWinds Winery’s off-dry Gewurztraminer will be paired with an array of cheeses made by Port Townsend’s Mt. Townsend Creamery. Appetizers made with red potatoes grown on FairWinds Farm served with various toppings will be complemented by the winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend.

Sorensen Cellars will feature its 2008 Pinot Gris, 2007 Viognier, 2007 Sangiovese, 2006 Cabernet Franc, and 2005 Syrah. The wines will be paired with locally sourced appetizers.

Get away for a weekend and enjoy autumn on the Olympic Peninsula!

Black Diamond’s Cranberry Wine Featured at Passport Wine Tour

With the holidays just around the corner, now is a good time to start thinking about which wines you will serve with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. And the Olympic Peninsula Wineries’ Passport Wine Tour is perfectly timed to help with your decision! Visit the wineries on November 14-15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
and sample new and current release wines superbly paired with fresh Olympic Coastal Cuisine. Some of the wineries will feature special limited bottlings for the holidays.

Black Diamond Winery in Port Angeles will pour Cranberry Wine – a fresh, tart, slighly sweet favorite with turkey and other holiday fare – along with the following estate-grown fruit and grape wines:

Estate Grown Shiro Plum
Plums grown and tree ripened in Black Diamond’s orchard are hand processed to make this slightly sweet white wine.

Strawberry Rhubarb
Made from Red Rhubarb grown in Black Diamond’s garden and strawberries locally grown in Sequim.

A slightly sweet white wine with aromatic undertones, fruity flavors and a spicy finish.

2007 Syrah
A full bodied dry red wine rich with fruit flavors

Get away for a weekend and enjoy autumn on the Olympic Peninsula!

PASSPORT WINE TOUR – B.Y.O.G. (Bring Your Own Glass)!

The six artisan wineries of the North Olympic Peninsula invite you to enjoy award-winning handcrafted wines superbly paired with fresh Olympic Coastal Cuisine during the annual Passport Wine Tour, November 14-15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. New this year – bring your own glass! It’s a fun opportunity to show off the most unique wine glass in your collection. Tickets for the self-guided tour
are $25.00 and entitle holders to a label collection Passport, complimentary wine tastings and samples of local cuisine at each winery.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will highlight what each individual winery has in store for Passport Weekend. Today’s post features Port Angeles’ Olympic Cellars Winery.

On Saturday, Nov. 14 guests will enjoy Olympic Cellars’ new white wine release: La Galopine, 2008 Roussanne and Viognier blend from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, paired with fresh oysters from the South Puget Sound, Hood Canal and Discovery Bay, on the winery’s “heated” patio. Featured shellfish farms include Little Skookum Shellfish Growers (Little Skookum extra small and small Pacific
oysters); Hama Hama Oyster Company (Hood Canal extra small and small Hama Hama Pacific oysters); Taylor Shellfish Company (Totten Inlet Kumamoto oysters); and Port Discovery Sea Farms (Snow Creek extra small and small oysters). The oysters will be served both on the half-shell and grilled from
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A complete selection of wines will be available in the tasting

Clam Chowder (Grandfather Bishop’s family clam chowder recipe made with Little Skookum Shellfish Growers’ sustainably farmed Manila clams will be available on Sunday, November 15.

Bell Street Bakery breads made with local, organic grain will be served with spreads made from humus and local organic root vegetables all weekend.

Holiday Wine Release: Cranberry Jubilee

Additional wine specials will be featured to compliment the holiday table, parties and of course to give as gifts.

Wine Tour & Poker Run Adds to Crab Festival Fun

The Olympic Peninsula Wineries and Seven Cedars Casino invite you to compete for the best five-card hand and a prize wine and poker-themed gift basket during the second annual self-guided Tour of Wineries & Poker Run. The event will coincide with Port Angeles’ celebrated Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival, on Saturday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

New this year, FairWinds Winery and Sorensen Cellars, both located in Port Townsend, will offer a wild card to help players complete their hand. Anyone age 21 and over is welcome to participate in the Run.

How the Tour of Wineries and Poker Run Works

Begin the run at any of the North Olympic Peninsula’s six artisan wineries located in Port Townsend and Port Angeles; at Seven Cedars Casino in Sequim: or at the Crab Festival’s Wine Garden located on Port Angeles City Pier. Enjoy award-winning locally made wine and pick-up an official Poker Run Card, complete with instructions and a map.

Each winery a player visits, in addition to Seven Cedars Casino and the Crab Fest Garden, offers the opportunity to draw a card and have the Poker Run card stamped. A visit to all eight locations provides eight opportunities to draw for the best potential poker hand — but the number of stops a player makes is completely up to him/her. A minimum of five stops required for validation.

Each venue will have an official depository for completed cards, and will accept cards until close. The wineries will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and the Crab Festival Wine Garden from 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Seven Cedars Casino opens at 10 a.m. every day, and will offer the last chance to drop-off completed Poker Run cards at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

At the end of the weekend, all Poker Run cards will be gathered and transferred to the casino where the winning hand will be determined. The winner will be notified by phone and email.

The Poker Run is free of charge. Wine tasting will be available at all six Olympic Peninsula Wineries throughout the day, and customary tasting fees will apply. Stop by the wine garden on City Pier near Crab Central and sample wines from all six wineries in a single location. Seven Cedars Casino offers evening entertainment including live music.

For further information, visit or call 800-785-5495.

Wine Tour & Poker Run Line-Up:

FairWinds Winery, Port Townsend
Stop by and pick up your wild card! Hang around and watch live poker playing or join in on a hand or two – you just might win! See how the wine making process takes place with a winery tour, and sample our own FairWinds Farm tasty potato appetizers. Taste our new release Fireweed Mead as well as six other award-winning wines., 360.385.6899.

Sorensen Cellars, Port Townsend
Visitors can sample the 2007 Viognier, 2008 Townsend Bay Pinot Gris, 2007 Sangiovese, 2006 Cabernet Franc, 2004 Merlot, and 2005 Syrah accompanied by light appetizers., 360.379.6416.

Olympic Cellars, Port Angeles
Are you a gambler or just feeling lucky? Guests at Olympic Cellars can play to “beat” the house “discount.” Most wines will be open for tasting including an expanded reserve list. Taste the grapes off our vines (still too young for wine), ring the Harvest Bell, and pose for the perfect photo opportunity with our new Vineyard Angel by metal artists John and Cynthia Dash., 360.452.0160.

Black Diamond Winery, Port Angeles
Come and sample our fruit and grape wines, including cranberry, strawberry-rhubarb, raspberry, Syrah and Ridge White., 360.457.0748.

Camaraderie Cellars, Port Angeles
Featuring our newly released 2007 Tempranillo and a number of other great red wines complemented by “poker party snacks.” Roll the dice at the cash register to determine your purchase discount!, 360.417.3564.

Harbinger Winery, Port Angeles
Sample our newly released 2007 El Jefé Spanish blend and 2008 Blackberry Bliss, enjoy complementary snacks, and take a harvest tour! On Saturday,
Oct. 10 Brew Master Steve Corcoran will be on hand from Noon to 4 p.m. to pour his latest selection of handcrafted beer., 360.452.4262.

Wine and Health

There is a growing body of scientific research indicating that polyphenols found in red wines may offer significant antioxidant protection. Polyphenols are chemicals found in red wines that have the potential to overcome free radicals that can cause cellular damage, which is a root cause of various forms of cancer and heart disease., a website that provides authoratative medical information to consumers, posted the article below explaining the relationship between polyphenols and cancer prevention.

Cancer Prevention and Red Wine

Red wine is a rich source of biologically active phytochemicals, chemicals found in plants. Particular compounds called polyphenols found in red wine, such as catechins and resveratrol, are thought to have anti oxidant or anti cancer properties.

What are polyphenols and how do they prevent cancer?

Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds found in the skin and seeds of grapes. When wine is made from these grapes, the alcohol produced by the fermentation process dissolves the polyphenols contained in the skin and seeds. Red wine contains more polyphenols than white wine because the making of white wine requires the removal of the skins after the grapes are crushed. The phenols in red wine include catechin, gallic acid, and epicatechin.

Polyphenols have been found to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from oxidative damage caused by molecules called free radicals. These chemicals can damage important parts of cells, including proteins, membranes, and DNA. Cellular damage caused by free radicals has been implicated in the development of cancer. Research on the antioxidants found in red wine has shown that they may help inhibit the development of certain cancers.

What is resveratrol and how does it prevent cancer?

Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol called a phytoalexin, a class of compounds produced as part of a plant’s defense system against disease. It is produced in the plant in response to an invading fungus, stress, injury, infection, or ultraviolet irradiation. Red wine contains high levels of resveratrol, as do grapes, raspberries, peanuts, and other plants.

Resveratrol has been shown to reduce tumor incidence in animals by affecting one or more stages of cancer development. It has been shown to inhibit growth of many types of cancer cells in culture. Evidence also exists that it can reduce inflammation. It also reduces activation of NF kappa B, a protein produced by the body’s immune system when it is under attack. This protein affects cancer cell growth and metastasis. Resveratrol is also an antioxidant.

What have red wine studies found?

The cell and animal studies of red wine have examined effects in several cancers including leukemia, skin , breast, and prostate cancers . Scientists are studying resveratrol to learn more about its cancer preventive activities. Recent evidence from animal studies suggests this anti-inflammatory compound may be an effective chemopreventive agent in three stages of the cancer process: initiation, promotion, and progression.

However, studies of the association between red wine consumption and cancer in humans are in their initial stages. Although consumption of large amounts of alcoholic beverages may increase the risk of some cancers, there is growing evidence that the health benefits of red wine are related to its nonalcoholic components.

WA Wines & Wineries on 10-Year Upswing

Dan Radil has written about wine for the Bellingham Herald for the past 10 years. In the article below, Radil recounts the changes he’s witnessed within Washington’s wine industry since his first column was published in 1999.

Lavender Celebration Tour of Wineries

Lavender Celebration

The Olympic Peninsula Wineries invite you to wind your way through beautiful fields of lavender en route to tasting the region’s best handcrafted wines during our nine-day Lavender Wine Tour, from Saturday, July 11 to Sunday, July 19.

The wine tour kicks-off the Olympic Peninsula’s 13th annual Lavender Festival in Sequim, set to take place July 17-19. The festival is the largest lavender event in North America, attracting visitors from around the world each year. Olympic Peninsula Wineries will be featured in the Wine & Beer Garden during the Festival Street Fair, with wines available for tasting and for purchase by the glass or by the bottle. The Street Fair will take place in downtown Sequim, on Fir Street between Sequim and Third Avenues.

Those with time to drive the self-guided Lavender Wine Tour will enjoy wine paired with lavender in a variety of ways.

Tickets” for the Lavender Wine Tour are available online or at any of our wineries for $25.00, and entitle the holder to a special commemorative wine glass and complimentary tastings at all six wineries. Visitors without tickets are welcome to taste at each winery for a small per person fee. For further information, visit and click on Events or call 800-785-5495.

What Most People Don’t Know About Wine

Wine enthusiasts are often quite savvy about which wines pair well with a variety of foods. But here are two things that, according to culinary experts and authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, many people don’t know.

Most people think that only white wine goes with fish, but stronger-flavored fish, including salmon and tuna, pair even better with a light-bodied red, such as pinot noir. Grilled fish — because of the strong smoky flavor from the grilling — goes nicely with pinot noir as well.

Another thing many people don’t realize is that deep-fat-fried fish, as in fish-and-chips, pairs best with a sparkling white wine, whether champagne, Spanish cava or Italian prosecco. These bubbly wines are wonderfully refreshing with fried food.