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.

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!

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 a.m.to 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 www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org 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. www.fairwindswinery.com, 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. www.sorensencellars.com, 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.
www.olympiccellars.com, 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. www.blackdiamondwinery.com, 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! www.camaraderiecellars.com, 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. www.harbingerwinery.com, 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.

MedicineNet.com, 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 www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org 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.

Do Wine & Vinegar Mix?

Summer is upon us and salads created with fresh vegetables and fruits are a favorite seasonal fare. But many salad dressings contain vinegar, and the acid in vinegar can clash with wine. Is there any wine that pairs well with vinegar dressings? Here’s a tip from Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, authors of “What to Drink with What You Eat.”

Many restaurants serve salads dressed with verjus (the juice of unripe fruit, such as grapes or apples) rather than vinaigrette to avoid this problem, or they’ll add wine-friendly ingredients, such as meats, cheeses or nuts to help the pairing. If you must pair a wine with a vinegary dish, select a high-acid wine — for example, Sauvignon blanc or, if you want a red wine, a chianti.

Top Ten Most Used Wine Terms

eBacchus.com, a premier wine information community known for its unbiased member ratings and reviews, has compiled a list of the Top Ten most used wine terms based on an extensive review of user contributions. Take a look and see if you can add any of these to your own wine vocabularly.

eBacchus® Top Ten Most Used Wine Terms

The intensity and character of the aroma can be assessed with nearly any descriptive adjective. (eg: from “appley” to “raisiny”, “fresh” to “tired”, etc.). Usually refers to the particular smell of the grape variety. The word “bouquet” is usually restricted to describing the aroma of a cellar-aged bottled wine.

Denotes harmonious balance of wine elements – (ie: no individual part is dominant). Acid balances the sweetness; fruit balances against oak and tannin content; alcohol is balanced against acidity and flavor. Wine not in balance may be acidic, cloying, flat or harsh etc.

Crisp (Whites)
Wine has pronounced but pleasing tartness, acidity. Fresh, young and eager, begs to be drunk. Generally used to describe white wines only, especially those of Muscadet de Sevres et Maine from the Loire region of France.

Term used to describe the taste left in the mouth after swallowing the wine. Both character and length of the aftertaste are part of the total evaluation. May be harsh, hot, soft and lingering, short, smooth, tannic, or nonexistent.

Used for any quality that refers to the body and richness of a wine made from good, ripe grapes. A fruity wine has an “appley”, “berrylike” or herbaceous character. “Fruitiness” usually implies a little extra sweetness.

Smooth / Soft (Velvety)
Generally has low acid/tannin content. Also describes wines with low alcohol content. Consequently has little impact on the palate.

Almost a synonym for “peppery”. Implies a softer, more rounded flavor nuance however.

The flavor plan, so to speak. Suggests completeness of the wine, all parts there. Term needs a modifier in order to mean something – (eg: “brawny” etc).

Tannins (Reds)
A naturally occurring substance in grapeskins, seeds and stems. Is primarily responsible for the basic “bitter” component in wines. Acts as a natural preservative, helping the development and, in the right proportion, balance of the wine. It is considered a fault when present in excess.

The four basic sensations detectable by the human tongue. The tip of the tongue contains the taste receptors registering “sweetness”. Just a little further back, at the sides, taste will appear “salty”. Behind that, flavour will have a “sour” taste at the sides, finally dissolving into “bitterness” at the near center-rear of the tongue.

Hood Canal Bridge Set to Reopen Ahead of Schedule!

Work that began on May 1 to replace the east half of the Hood Canal Bridge and the east and west trusses may be completed more than a week ahead of schedule, according to the Washington State Dept. of Transportation website, http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/regions/Olympic/.

The overall project is currently estimated to be 97 percent complete, despite some unseasonably foul weather that added 3 days to the 6-week contract timeline. Drawspan testing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 3.

The Olympic Peninsula Wineries invite you to celebrate the reopening of the bridge with a scenic self-guided tour of our seven tasting rooms, located in the cities of Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles. While you’re here, be sure to take a drive through downtown Port Angeles and see the transformation that has been in progress during the bridge closure. It’s part of an all-community volunteer effort dubbed, “Our Community at Work: Painting Downtown.” For more information on the project, visit http://www.portangelesdowntown.com/our_community_at_work.php.

Test Your Wine Knowledge!

The Wine Hub.com has a new 10-question quiz online that will help you to get the most out of your wine education. The URL follows — give it a shot! You will need to register first for a FREE membership. http://www.thewinehub.com/learn/quiz