OysterFest, also known by the longer moniker “The Annual West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship and Washington State Seafood Festival,” is upon us once again and you can expect all the great, local fun and craziness that’s attended the previous 31 festivals – plus a little bit more, don’t you know.
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.
New England has lobster. Baltimore has blue crab smothered in Old Bay. The Olympic Peninsula has Dungeness Crab.
Lobster is lovely and blue crab delicious, but there’s nothing like Dungeness Crab. Celebrate this delectable crustacean during the 2011 Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival in Port Angeles, WA, October 8 and 9.
Olympic Peninsula Wineries will be there, pouring selected Washington Wines at the Wine and Beer Garden at Crab Central. Drop by anytime between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to sample our wines. Feel free to ask the pourers which wines they think go best with Dungeness Crab. You may be surprised by how many options there are.
Dungeness crab can be prepared as many ways as there are chefs to cook it. It is amazing on its own, and it makes a wonderful ingredient. As in past years, cooking demonstrations are a highlight of the Crab Festival. This year, see:
- The Galloping Gourmet (aka Graham Kerr) demonstrate how to make his famous crab cakes.
- Chef Les Chan from Victoria, B.C. prepare Imperial Crab Spring Rolls.
- Chef Jon Unruh of Wildfire Grill in Port Angeles prepare Dungeness Mac & Cheese – the ultimate comfort food.
- Chef Kaleb Walace of Michael’s Seafood and Steak Restaurant in Port Angeles prepare Fresh Pasta with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Dungeness Crab with Olympic Cellars Chardonnay Butter.
The Dungeness Crab Festival is also a Seafood Festival, and several regional chefs will demonstrate how to make some of their favorite seafood dishes. See:
- Chef Arran Stark from Cultivated Palette Catering and Brassica Restaurant in Port Townsend show people just what can be done with Salmon.
- Chef Gabriel Schuenemann of the Alder Wood Bistro in Sequim prepare Scallop Ceviche with pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms.
- Chef Ron Anderson of Etta’s Seafood in Seattle prepare Cider steamed Blueshell Mussels and smoked hamhock.
Even more chefs will demonstrate how to prepare even more dishes. For a complete list of the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival Chef Demonstrations, please see Crab Fest.
You’ll come away from the 2011 Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival well fed and armed with new recipes and Washington Wines to enhance them. Now that’s a weekend well spent.
Please see Dungeness Crab Festival for additional information.
The 2011 Festival of American Fiddle Tunes is underway at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula. Fiddle fans have until Saturday, July 9, 2011, to enjoy some of the finest fiddlers around.
The much-anticipated Country Cajun Stomp takes place Friday, July 8, at 6 p.m. Bring a picnic and a low-back chair (if you want to rest) to the lawn at Littlefield Green and get ready for a mighty fun dance event.
The Master Hands Project: NEA National Heritage Award Winners Concert takes place at the McCurdy Pavilion on Saturday, July 9, at 1:30 p.m. Don’t miss this historic celebration of Wayne Henderson, Dudley Laufman, Marc Savoy, Paul Dahline, and Liz Carroll, with Jacqueline Laufman, Paul Dahline and Family, and John Doyle.
No trip to Port Townsend would be complete without a visit to the local Olympic Peninsula Wineries. Taste locally made Washington wine at Sorensen Cellars and FairWinds Winery. Bringing a bottle or two back home with you is a great way to remember a fine weekend at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend.
Please visit Fiddle Tunes for additional festival information.
With the holidays upon us, many of us are casting an eye about for unique gift items. The upcoming Olympic Art Festival, at the Olympic Art Gallery in Quilcene, is a good place to start. Doors open at 10 a.m. and stay open until 5 p.m. Many artists will be on site demonstrating their crafts as well as selling them.
Look for the following artists (among others):
Mary Ellen Gilberg – Fiber and Scratchboard Art and Jewelry
Randy Hopfer – Photography
Paul Kaiser – Turned Bowls
Dean Nelson: Oils
Ratso: Bronze Sculpture
Terry Foltz: Scrollsaw Nature Scenes
Charlie and Sally Brown: Gates, railings, hand forged home decor. (more…)
Beautiful August weather has returned, which means it’s a great time to drive to the top of Hurricane Ridge, in the Olympic National Park. The views are unparalleled, both from the peak and from several scenic overlooks along the way. Once at Hurricane Ridge, a paved loop leads to expansive views, while unpaved trails lead to the heart of the Olympic Mountains. You may hear a whistling marmot welcoming you to the wilderness.
Once you’ve returned to sea level on the Olympic Peninsula, visit Washington State Wineries in and around Port Angeles. Wines produced on the Olympic Peninsula come from grapes grown here and in eastern Washington State. Wine tastings are offered daily during the summer, and are a wonderful way to find the wines you really love.
Select a bottle or two to bring back home; and when you drink them, remember what it felt like to stand on top of the world.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, or indeed anywhere on the west coast, you may be feeling a bit down. We live through months of gray skies secure in the knowledge that come summer, our skies will be blue. “Sure it can be rainy”, we tell friends who live elsewhere, “but when the sun comes out, no place on earth can match its beauty.” So where are you sun?
Well, those of us who make Washington State Wines can’t make the sun shine in Washington State, but we can help to cheer you. Head to the Sequim area – if it will be sunny anywhere in western Washington, it will be sunny here in the Olympic Rainshadow. Stay awhile, and taste Washington wines and ciders at our seven wineries from Port Angeles to Port Townsend.
A little time on the Olympic Peninsula can make anyone feel better. A walk out to the lighthouse at the tip of Dungeness Spit, in Sequim, is magnificent no matter the weather. A drive up to Hurricane Ridge, outside of Port Angeles, is sure to raise your spirits. Dinner in historic Port Townsend tastes good, rain or shine.
It is imperative to include wine tasting in your Olympic Peninsula holiday. After a drive up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park, stop by Harbinger Winery, Camaraderie Cellars, and Black Diamond Winery. After a walk on the Dungeness Spit, visit Olympic Cellars. On your way to Port Townsend, enjoy a cider at FinnRiver Farm and Cidery, in Chimacum, and once in Port Townsend, stop by Sorenson Cellars and FairWinds Winery.
To keep your spirits raised, pick up a few bottles of your favorite Olympic Peninsula Washington Wines and take them home. That way, no matter what the weather does, you can find solace in a glass of good wine.
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