There are lots of good reasons to head to the Olympic Peninsula these days. For starters, try sunshine, glorious scenery, and many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Then there are six Washington State Wineries, open for visitation and ready to pour the wine.
There are also a number of upcoming events worth noting. Read on for just a few:
May 1, 2010, marks the start of the 115th Irrigation Festival in Sequim, WA. The longest running festival in the state of Washington, the Irrigation Festival celebrates the irrigation ditches that traverse Sequim and allowed the land to be cultivated in the 19th century. Look forward to parades, an arts and crafts festival, lawnmower races and a carnival. The town of Sequim steps out for this event for the weekends of May 1 and May 7, and it is well worth attending. Also on May 1, 2010, is the Victorian Spring Ball in Port Angeles. (more…)
The Olympic Peninsula Bird Festival is chock full of interesting events. Participants may chose from several morning and afternoon field trips, photography workshops, or Northwest Raptor Center tours. Rise at dawn to listen to the Chorus of bird calls by the Dungeness River, and take the Owl Prowl once darkness falls. Cruise to Protection Island, and bid for unique items at the Silent Auction.
All this sounds like great fun for birding enthusiasts, but also exhausting.
When you feel ready for a bit of a rest, consider a trip to one of the Washington State Wineries near Sequim. A visit to a tasting room will restore your spirits and prepare you for the next activity at the Bird Festival. In addition, you are likely to find a Washington State wine that you would like to enjoy at home. Olympic Peninsula Wineries produce a limited number of cases each year, enabling us to focus on quality. The best chance you have of sampling our wines is in our delightful tasting rooms from Port Angeles to Port Townsend.
Bring your binoculars to the Olympic Peninsula Bird Festival, and leave with Olympic Peninsula wine.
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.
Mark your calendars! The Olympic Peninsula Wineries will once again host the popular Red Wine & Chocolate Tour over two delicious weekends, February 7-8 and February 14,15,16, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Enjoy award-winning red wines and new wine releases paired with a variety of chocolate delights ranging from sweet to savory. Wine specials will be available throughout the event.
Tickets are available online now at https://www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org/redwinechocolate.php.
On Saturday, Feb. 7, Cedar Creek Restaurant in Sequim will host a four-course Winemaker Dinner featuring seven locally produced wines. The event begins at
6 p.m. For further information and reservations, call 360.683.3983.
The first annual self guided Tour of Wineries and Poker Run will take place Saturday & Sunday, Oct 11 & 12, starting at 11 am. The best five card poker hand at the end of the weekend wins a gorgeous gift basket and a trio of gift certificates from Seven Cedars Casino. Anyone age 21 and over is welcome to join the fun.
Here is how it works. Begin the run at any of the North Olympic Peninsula Wineries, the Crab and Seafood Festival’s Wine Bar located on the Port Angeles City Pier, or the Seven Cedars Casino near Sequim. Enjoy some award winning wine and pick up your Poker Run Card, complete with instructions and a map.
Each winery you visit, in addition to the Crab Festival and the Casino, offers the opportunity to draw a card and have your personal Poker Run Card stamped with the value of the card you drew. Visit all nine locations and you’ve got nine opportunities to draw for the best potential poker hand, but the number of stops is up to you. A minimum of five stops is required for validation.
Each venue will have a depository for completed cards and will accept cards until closing. The wineries will be open from 11am-5pm on Sat & Sun, the Crab Festival from 10am-7:30pm on Sat, and 10am-5:30pm on Sunday. Seven Cedars Casino opens at 10am each day and will offer the last chance to drop off completed Poker Run Cards at 7pm on Sunday.
The Poker Run is free of charge. Wine tasting will be available at all seven wineries throughout the day, and customary tasting fees will apply. 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 mail and email.
World Class Wines, Spectacular Seafood, and a winning experience!
The life of wine is a long traveled road before it arrives at your table. This post will take about two legs of the journed: Vineyard selection and Primary Fermentation.
Vineyard selection: The final taste of a wine starts in the vineyard, where the soil delivers nutrients and minerals to the vines, giving each vineyard a unique and distinguishable flavor from year to year. During the spring to early fall growing season, the sun’s warmth and light allows grapes to go from a sour green state of high acid, low sugar to a very ripe state of lower acid and higher sugar. Drier, sunnier climates (like Eastern Washington) and vineyard locations (ie: the South side of a hill) tend to produce sweeter fruit than fruit planted in cooler, more humid climates (ie: grapes planted on the North side of a hill). The grape’s sugar and acid content is critical to both how much alcohol the wine will have after fermentation, and how dry the wine will be after fermentation. Winemakers look for a subjective balance bertween sugar and acid when deciding when to pick.
Primary Fermentation: Wine grapes are run through a machine that removes the stem and lightly crushes them. The remaining juicy flesh, seeds and skins is call the “must”. If a white wine or a rose’ is being made, the must is then pressed within the first 24 hours (depending on the winemaker’s style) to separate the juice from the skins and seeds. The juice is then moved to tanks, vats, barrels, etc (again, winemaker’s style). Yeast is added to begin fermentation, converting the sugar into alcohol. Sulfites can be added (or not) to protect from any oxidation prior to fermentation…or after, but not during. Red wine is made like white wine, except the jujice remains in contact with the skins and seeds during the fermentation process, thus picking up color, aromas, flavor and tannins.
((Next time Malolactic fermentation, racking, maturation, filtering (or not) and bottling
Most winery tasting rooms can accomodate looked after children. Wineries in other areas have chosen to handle the situation by posting signs saying “must be 21”. The seven wineries of the Olympic Peninsula Wineries are open to you bringing your children and here are a few things you can do to make it a more enjoyable experience them:
1. Some wineries will provide some sort of beverage for underage folks and some will not. For the wineries that do not, they may be reluctant to let your toddler handle an expensive glass so she can be a “big girl”.
2. Keep them close to you while you are tasting-little people are out of the line of sight of adults whose attention is elsewhere and they can be bumped into and become overwhelmed in a sea of adult legs in a crowded tasting room.
3. Be sure it’s okay to leave them outside to run and play– there may be machinery, traffic, etc that could be dangerous to them.
4. If they have toys to keep them occupied, watch that they don’t set up a GI Joe camp in the middle of the floor where someone may trip on their toys or step on the children.
Children are almost always welcome and a little attention from their parents will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.
Gorgeous scenery, warm temperatures and a jovial crowd made for a great Spring Barrel Tasting Weekend. The three day event brought out the best in everyone as they toured the scenic back roads, gazed at the snow covered Olympic Mountains, and tasted both wines in progress direct from the oak barrels and some spectacular current releases.
For more great fun in Olympic Wine Country you might want to put the Sequim Lavender Festival on your calendar. All the wineries will be open for the “Celebrate Lavender Wine Tour” July 12-20, 2008. Reserve your ticket and glass combination in advance on line or purchase at the door of any participating winery.
Most of the wineries are now on their summer schedules with expanded tasting room days and hours. Come for a visit … we are looking forward to seeing you!