Vancouver, Seattle to Host Must-Attend Wine Festivals

February 22nd, 2014

This is the time of year I like to mention a couple of regional wine festivals that readers frequently ask about and I’m happy to recommend as standout events.

Each of these close-to-home wine tastings gives you an opportunity to meet and chat with scores of winemakers and distributors while getting a great cross-sample of wines from Washington and around the world.

First up is the Vancouver International Wine Festival, a week-long celebration from February 24 to March 2 in Vancouver, BC that features a variety of seminars, lunches, dinners and tastings.

While some of these events have been on sale for several weeks and already sold out, my favorite, the International Festival Tasting – that runs from 7 to 10 pm on February 27 and 28 and 3 to 5 pm and 7 to 10 pm on March 1 – still has tickets available.

Although some may view this as borderline wine tasting overload, I tend to enjoy the fun, yet informative atmosphere and diverse, chatty crowds that are always on hand and never disappoint.

An amazing 178 wineries from 14 countries have been selected to participate at the Tasting, with France as the theme country and the global focus on Champagne and sparkling wines. Book a hotel room, take in as much as you can and enjoy some great wines in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

For complete event information and ticket purchases go to

nullNot to be outdone, Washington wines take center stage during Taste Washington, set for March 29 and 30 at CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle. Over 200 Washington wineries are scheduled to be on hand at this gastronomic extravaganza.

I love this event, not only for the wines, but also for the incredible food samples available from dozens of Seattle-area restaurants.

If you go to this event with the expectation of having a nosh or two, pairing it with stellar Washington wines, and meeting with some of the region’s top winemakers, then I’ll give you the closest thing to a personal guarantee that you will not come away disappointed.

General admission tickets get you in the door from 2 to 5 pm and can be purchased for a single day for $80 or both days for $125. VIP tickets at $145 for one day, $185 for both, allow you a 1 pm start time and include exclusive tasting lounge access and a swag bag.

There are also a number of interesting seminars available both days from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm that include topics ranging from Washington old vine wines to blending to the art of pairing food and wine.

For a complete list of wineries, vineyards, restaurants and exhibitors, along with ticket purchase information, go to

Vancouver International Wine Festival

January 25th, 2014

February 24 to March 2, 2014

nullThis is one of the biggest and best wine festivals in North America and, quite possibly, the world.

This is a must-attend series of events for both casual and serious food and wine enthusiasts in one of Canada’s most beautiful cities.

Seven days of minglers, seminars, lunches, and dinners, are highlighted by the International Festival Tasting each evening from 7 to 10 pm on February 27, 28 and March 1.

null780 wines from 178 wineries representing 14 countries are slated to attend. This year’s theme country is France, with the global focus on Champagne and sparkling wines.

There are a number of ticket packages available for purchase. For complete information visit

Winter Wine Dinner at 9 Restaurant

January 1st, 2014

January 25, 2014 – Dan will be moderating a five-course dinner featuring wines from Walla Walla’s Forgeron Cellars.

Each course will be prepared by Executive Chef Nick Moss and paired with a current Forgeron release. Wines to be served include a 2012 Ambiance (white wine blend), 2011 Zinfandel, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, plus two additional wines.

Social hour begins at 6pm with dinner seating promptly at 6:30pm. Cost of the evening is $65 per person, including tax. Reservations are required and can be made by phoning 9Restaurant at North Bellingham Golf Course. (398-8300, extension 2).

Wine Dinner at 9 Restaurant

November 13th, 2013

December 7, 2013 – Join Dan and winemakers from four Whatcom County wineries for a sumptuous five-course dinner and wines.

Each course, prepared by Executive Chef Nick Moss, will be perfectly paired with a current release. Wines to be served include a Mount Baker Vineyards 2012 Siegerrebe and 2004 Late Harvest Pinot Gris, a GLM Wine Co. 2011 Kolk Rose, a Dakota Creek Winery 2010 Reserve Petit Verdot and a Dynasty Cellars 2009 Les Collines Cabernet Sauvignon.

Social hour begins at 6pm with dinner seating promptly at 6:30pm. Cost of the evening is $65 per person, including tax and reservations are required. Phone 9Restaurant at North Bellingham Golf Course for more information (398-8300, extension 2).

Rotary’s Grape & Gourmet Showcases Great Food and Wine

October 22nd, 2013

nullWhy should you consider attending this year’s Tenth Annual Grape and Gourmet event?

I’ve got plenty of good reasons.

First and foremost, this is a fundraiser sponsored by Bellingham Bay Rotary Club. All of the event proceeds will go to a number of local non-profit organizations supported by Rotary, including the Interfaith Community Health Center, Boys and Girls Club, Northwest Youth Services and the expansion of the Bellingham Food Bank.

Second, you’ll be able to taste over 90 wines from 32 Washington, Oregon, and California wineries while enjoying food tastes from at least 15 local-area restaurants.

Third, an onsite wine store will be available for those who wish to purchase bottles of their favorite wines to take home. This is a great way to nail down those wine purchases right after you try them instead of wondering what it was you tasted and liked so much two weeks later.

But wait, there’s more! This year’s event has moved to the Silver Reef Event Center at the Silver Reef Hotel, Casino and Spa, which promises to make for an even bigger and better venue for food and wine enthusiasts who really want to cut loose and enjoy themselves.

A possible idea: tie in the wine tasting event with some gaming, a hotel stay and perhaps a visit to the spa, you’ve got the all makings for an excellent weekend getaway.

And if you live in the Bellingham area and are hesitant about the longer-than-year’s-past drive north consider this: A shuttle bus will be available between the Best Western Inn on Lakeway Drive in Bellingham, the Hampton Inn by the Bellingham Airport and the event venue at the Silver Reef. It doesn’t get any easier (or safer) than that.

Christine Palmerton, Bellingham Bay Rotary Club President, suggests that, “with shuttle stops at the Best Western and Hampton Inn, attendees may want to book an overnight stay at those hotels as well.”

There are a couple of different options on ticket prices: for $75 each, you’ll have two full hours of tasting and noshing from 6:30 to 8:30 pm; and for $125 each, you’ll earn VIP status that allows you an additional 90-minutes of tasting with early entrance to the event at 5:00 pm.

For those using the shuttle bus, service will be available to and from the Silver Reef between 4:30 to 9:30 pm.

Tickets can be purchased at any Natural Way Chiropractic location, by contacting Rotary member Mike Werner at (360) 815-4269, or online through the Silver Reef box office at

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