Marrowstone Island is located just off the Quimper Peninsula, southeast of Port Townsend, Washington. A long, narrow stretch of land, Marrowstone is connected first to the parallel body of Indian Island by land bridge, then to the rest of the Quimper Peninsula via a proper bridge.
The upper Olympic Peninsula has 9 wineries / cideries within an hour or less of each other so, with a designated driver and a some directions, taking a tour of the Olympic Peninsula Wine Trail is easy enough (even if an official one has yet to be created).
Last time around we talked about the west leg of our Olympic Peninsula Wine Trail. This time we’re going to look at the east leg of the tour, the Port Townsend area.
Using the numbering on our wine association’s map, numbers 6-9 are what I’m calling the east leg of the trail.
The upper Olympic Peninsula has 9 great wineries / cideries all grouped within an hour or less of each other – from Port Townsend to Port Angeles – and most of which are open daily or by appointment all year ’round – so taking a tour is a no-brainer!
The Olympic Peninsula is a scenic place.
Bring your camera to the Olympic Peninsula Wineries NW Wine and Cheese Tour on April 14 and 15, 2012. All are invited to participate in our first annual “Sip Wine and Cider, Say Cheese” Photo Contest.
Our wineries and cideries are located in some truly lovely spots.
- Olympic Cellars’ historic barn, with the Olympic Mountains in the background. Finnriver Farm & Cidery’s rolling fields and orchards.
- Camaraderie Cellars’ expansive patio and lush gardens.
- Harbinger Winery’s cool, industrial setting.
- Black Diamond Winery’s acres of grapes overlooking Tumwater Creek.
- Eaglemount Wine & Cider’s lovely historic homestead and orchards.
- FairWinds Winery overlooking the Olympic Mountains outside Port Townsend.
- Wind Rose Cellars’ cozy tasting room in the heart of downtown Sequim.
Take photos of the scenery, the Washington wine, hard cider, the cheese. We’re looking for memorable photos to mark the occasion. The top 3 entries will be posted on the Olympic Peninsula Wineries website and Facebook page. Winners will receive a pair of tickets to the 2012 Harvest Wine Tour, November 11-13.
We had a great turnout for the first weekend of our Red Wine and Chocolate Tour. Thanks to everyone who journeyed to the Olympic Peninsula to enjoy delicious combinations of locally made chocolate and Washington State Wine.
If you were unable to make it to Port Townsend, Sequim, or Port Angeles wineries and cideries this past weekend, you’ll have another opportunity this weekend. The Red Wine and Chocolate Tour of Olympic Peninsula wineries continues February 18-20, 2012.
Spend a couple of nights in a romantic Port Townsend Bed and Breakfast. Rent a cozy cottage in Sequim. Book a room overlooking the water in Port Angeles. Allow yourself plenty of time to visit the eight Washington Wineries and Cideries participating in the Red Wine and Chocolate Tour. If you visit each one, you’ll be eligible to win an elegant gift basket.
Take advantage of the coming long weekend. Spend your time sipping wine, savoring chocolate, and immersing yourself in the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. Visit Dungeness Spit. Walk the trails of Fort Warden. Ride your bikes along a stretch of the Olympic Discovery Trail. Visit a beautiful farm in Chimacum.
Please see our Red Wine and Chocolate Tour for additional information, and plan you weekend getaway now.
The Red Wine & Chocolate Tour at Olympic Peninsula Wineries begins this weekend, February 11 and 12, 2012. It continues the following weekend, February 18-20.
This is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Sublime combinations of wine and chocolate are explored and celebrated. Each participating Washington State Winery and Cidery on the Olympic Peninsula will have something unique to share: a deep, dark chocolate fountain, sinful truffles, and an abundance of new release wines.
Try a variety of sweet combinations at Black Diamond Winery. Chocolate truffles will be served alongside Raspberry, Loganberry, and Strawberry Wines. Black Diamond will also be pouring their Syrah, for folks who like life a little less sweet.
There are chocolate desserts, and then there is chocolate food. It’s hard to resist Camaraderie Cellars’ cocoa spice-rubbed pulled pork cooked in a wood-fired oven. Try it with the savory chocolate bruschetta, which is unlike anything we’ve ever tasted. Enjoy them both with the 2009 Syrah, which will be released during this event.
For the sweet teeth out there, Camaraderie will serve Molly Baby chocolate shortbread cookies and Equal Exchange Fair Trade Chocolate bars. Cabernet and Merlot varietals will be served alongside these goodies.
Tucked away on a lovely piece of ground above Discovery Bay, Eaglemount will serve new releases of their cider, mead, and red wine. Chocolates by Chocolate Serenade add a sweet touch.
It just wouldn’t be the Olympic Peninsula Red Wine and Chocolate Tour without a chocolate fountain. The fountain at FairWinds Winery is said to be the tallest chocolate fountain on the Peninsula. Dip fruits and sweets into this delicious pool of dark chocolate and try the latest vintages of Gewürztraminer, Port O’ Call, and a Carbernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend. You may not want to leave.
Warm yourself with Finnriver Cidery’s newly released Raspberry Wine and then savor chocolate-covered berries.
Try Black Currant and Pear Cider cocktails with outrageous chocolate brownies.
Treat yourself to a ticket to the Chocolate Chamber, where you can dive into a cup of “BLISS” Chocolate Elixir, a creamy gourmet sipping chocolate by Jennifer Michele Chocolat of Port Townsend.
Mount Olympus Black Truffles by Wicked Little Sweets are divine. When paired with Harbinger Winery’s newly released 2009 Bolero, they’re sinful.
If you appreciate good beer, don’t leave without trying Bar Hop Brewing’s Venezuelan Chocolate Porter.
Harbinger Winery is also hosting Aphrodisiac Chocolate tastings in the Kitty Kat Lounge. Reservations recommended.
You may think you’re wine tasting on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, but when you step into Olympic Cellars, you’ll realize you’re actually in Paris. Sip red and white Washington State Wines, savor handcrafted chocolates by Yvonne Yakota, sway to French music and watch an artist at work. Don’t leave without trying a freshly baked chocolate croissant.
Italian grape varieties grown in Washington State are the foundation of the wines at Wind Rose Cellars in Sequim. Try the newly released 2010 Dolcetto and sample the creative chocolate combinations made by Sequim’s Cocoa d’Amici: Hazel Nut Crunch, Pistachio Fig, and Ginger Cinnamon.
Additional information is available at Red Wine & Chocolate Tour. Bon appétit!
Each year, Budget Travel asks its readers to nominate an American small town for the title Coolest Small Town. The choices are then whittled down to the top 10, and those are put to a vote. To our delight, Port Townsend, Washington, has made the 2012 short list for America’s Coolest Small Towns.
There are a few parameters. Each town must have a population under 10,000. It must be “on the upswing,” thanks to a vibrant arts scene, good restaurants, or its proximity to nature. The town must also eschew quaint and embrace edginess.
Given theses parameters, Port Townsend should be a shoe-in.
- It’s hip, with edgy artists and a sizable number of residents who live there precisely because it isn’t like every where else.
- It has astoundingly strong arts and culture for a town of its size, with an impressive list of festivals such as the Film Festival and the Wooden Boat Festival.
- It has Centrum: Centrum is responsible for the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, a Chamber Music Festival, a Jazz Festival, a Blues Festival, and a host of other artistic programs.
- It has many good restaurants. Grab a hot dog at the seasonal stand or dine at Fins Coastal Cuisine, which has been favorably reviewed in the New York Times Travel Section. Enjoy a drink in the cozy Mezzanine of the Silverwater Cafe or hang with the locals at Sirens Pub. Have a leisurely breakfast Uptown at Sweet Laurette’s, or grab a tasty treat to go at Pane d’Amore Bakery.
- It’s home to the Port Townsend Farmers Market, one of the largest small town markets in the nation.
- It’s home to Fort Worden.
Port Townsend can go neck and neck with just about any town in the country for natural beauty. It sits on the tip of the Quimper Peninsula, which is located on the Olympic Peninsula. Two volcanic peaks stand in the east, Mount Baker to the north and Mount Rainier to the south. The Cascade Mountain Range rises in the distance behind the white cliffs of Whidbey Island to the east, and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains lie to the west. It impossible to remain indifferent to the view. And opportunities for outdoor recreation are abundant.
If you’ve been to Port Townsend, you’ve probably already cast your vote. If you haven’t been there, or if it’s been a while, go take a look. Have a glass of Washington State Wine or Cider made on the Olympic Peninsula. Stay in a Bed and Breakfast or Boutique Hotel. Then cast your vote for Port Townsend as America’s Coolest Small Town. Votes accepted through January 31, 2012.
Folks often believe February in the Pacific Northwest to be a bit dreary. In truth, the second month of the year typically includes many days of grey and rain. Fear not! The antidote to February Glums is the miraculous combination of chocolate and red wines from Washington State.
For the past several years, Olympic Peninsula Wineries have given new meaning to the month of February. We devote two weekends to the delightful combination of red wine and chocolate; locally made chocolates are tasted and paired with our own Washington State Wines. What can we say? “It’s a tough job…”
In 2012, the Red Wine and Chocolate Tour will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends of February 11-12 and February 18-20. We are currently exploring bold new combinations guaranteed to rock your world. Take our word for it–you won’t want to miss this event. Mark your calendars now.
Tickets are not required to attend the Red Wine and Chocolate Tour, but advance tickets do guarantee admittance. The $30 ticket includes admittance to all eight participating wineries (in Port Angeles, Port Townsend, and Chimacum), a commemorative wine glass, and complimentary wine and chocolate tasting at each winery. If you have your ticket stamped at all participating wineries, you’ll be eligible to win a gift basket.
Non-ticketed visitors will be charged a $5.00 wine / chocolate tasting fee at each winery.
The Washington State Wineries of the Olympic Peninsula encourage responsible drinking, and we will not serve or sell wine to any guest who appears intoxicated.
Winter can feel long in the Pacific Northwest. Endless days of grey ceiling skies can tamp down our souls and dampen our spirits. We sit and watch our creativity sink into the sodden earth with the rain.
That may be a bit melodramatic, but most of us have had days like that, during the winter, here in the Pacific Northwest.
We can wallow in it, or we can stand up, brush the moss from our shoulders, and head to the Olympic Peninsula.
It doesn’t matter if the skies are grey when you’re walking through a forest of towering Douglas Firs. It feels like they’ve reached up and tickled the heavens, and that the raindrops are really tears of mirth.
It doesn’t matter if the skies are grey when you’re bent into the wind, walking out on the Dungeness Spit, and the the spray from the Salish Sea jumps up to kiss your cheeks.
It doesn’t matter if the skies are grey when you’re curled up with a good book in a quiet inn, next to the person you love most in the world.
It doesn’t matter if the skies are grey when you’re sitting in a cozy restaurant, with a glass of Washington State Wine or Cider grasped in your hands.
So when you find yourself feeling that the rain has washed away your spunk, come to the Olympic Peninsula. Take a ferry if you must, and stand on the upper decks where the wind will blow some spirit back into you. Find a place to stay. Strap on snow shoes and explore the Olympic Mountains. Put on your rain jacket and head out to the Hoh Rain Forest. Watch a good movie at The Rose Theater in Port Townsend. And after a full day, sit down and drink a glass of Washington State Wine or Cider, made right here, on the Olympic Peninsula.
You’ll feel better.
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it’s time to start considering Christmas and Hanukkah. This year, gift a gift that can be truly enjoyed. Give a bottle of Washington State Wine from the Olympic Peninsula.
Find the perfect wines for the oenophiles in your life by attending our Holiday Open House. All eight of our Olympic Peninsula Wineries and Cideries will be open from noon until 5 p.m. on December 10 and 11, 2011. Make a weekend of it (holiday shopping need not be dreary), and visit all of them.
Take your time. Stretch your legs at beautiful, rural, Eaglemount Wine & Cider and Finnriver Farm & Cider. Spend a few hours at the Port Townsend wineries, Sorensen Cellars and FairWinds Winery. Pass the night in Port Townsend, where you can enjoy an excellent meal at Fins Coastal Cuisine or The Silverwater, then head to Port Angeles on Sunday, where you can leisurely taste at Olympic Cellars, Black Diamond Winery, Harbinger Winery, and Camaraderie Cellars. You may even want to make a long weekend of it.
If you know your oenophiles to have certain preferences, talk to the pourers at the various wineries. They’re in the best position to help you find the right wines.
Won’t it feel good to have your holiday shopping finished by the 12th?
The Harvest Wine Tour of our Olympic Peninsula Wineries starts today. We hope to see many familiar faces and welcome new people to the Washington State wineries and cideries of Port Townsend, the Chimacum Valley, and Port Angeles.
Please read on for a brief guide to wine tasting. We hope this will help you negotiate and appreciate the wines you sample this weekend.
Wine tasting is about more than just taste. It examines the sight, scent, and taste of wine. The experience begins with the uncorking (which is why many restaurants offer the cork for sniffing), and ends when the aftertaste has faded.
Be sure to note the following aspects:
- The appearance of the wine in the glass. Hold your glass up the light and tilt it. Note the colors. Then swirl the wine and watch the legs run down the sides of the glass – the thicker and slower the legs, the fuller the body of the wine will be. Think of the difference between skim milk and whole milk.
- The aroma of the wine in the glass. Swirl the wine for about 10 seconds, then put the glass to your nose and breathe deeply. Do this a few times. How many various scents can you distinguish?
- The taste of the wine. Take a sip and savor it before you swallow. Does it have a heavy or light texture (again, think of skim vs whole milk). Is it sweet? Fruity? Dry?
- The finish of the wine, or aftertaste. How does the wine linger in your mouth after the sip has been swallowed?
Consider a wine’s complexity, character, and potential. Would you enjoy drinking this wine alone, or do you think it would be best served with food? If served with food, what kind of food? Spicy, sweet? Rich and creamy? Meaty?
We look forward to seeing you tasting Washington State Wine this weekend during the Harvest Wine Tour of Olympic Peninsula Wineries. Enjoy the wine and cider you taste. Have fun with the experience. Drink responsibly and pace yourself. Cheers!
Fall wine tasting is a tradition as old as that of making wine.
In France, vintners have created a special beverage that’s only available shortly after the harvest. In the wineries of the Loire Valley, it is known as Bernache; elsewhere in France it is known as vin nouveau. Whatever you call it, it’s worth a taste. It’s a sugary juice that is in the very first stages of becoming a real wine. Experienced vintners can actually tell something about the future wine from sipping un vin nouveau. The rest of us just enjoy it.
It only stands to reason that harvesting and pressing grapes puts folks in the mood to taste the results of one’s labor. That’s what has inspired our Olympic Peninsula Harvest Winery Tour.
You won’t find any Bernache on the Olympic Peninsula, but you will find a healthy selection of local wines made from Washington grapes.
Eight Washington Wineries on the Olympic Peninsula participate in the Harvest Winery Tour. Make a weekend of it, meandering from Port Townsend to Port Angeles with stops in the Chimacum Valley. It will be a scenic weekend, and a gustatorily delightful one.
Each winery will serve appetizers to complement their wines. Have your ticket stamped at all eight wineries and you’ll be eligible to win a lovely gift basket.
The Harvest Winery Tour takes place November 11 – 13, 2011. To purchase tickets by phone, please call 800.785.5495. Additional information is available at Olympic Peninsula Harvest Winery Tour.