Hey fellow lushes! I'm on Day 2 of a month-long Washington wine bender, feeling the swell of home state pride at all the terrific fermented grape juice flowing from the gazillion vintners here.
OK, so I exaggerate. That's what a couple tumblers of Tempranillo will do. Dead serious, though, there are now more than 700 wineries in Washington making 12 million cases a year of 30 different varietals. Those are some staggeringly impressive numbers considering that the state's wine industry really only started heating up 25 years ago.
There's all sorts of cool stuff cooked up to show off these liquid gems, including these free tastings:
Starting March 8, various Met Markets will be pouring a variety of boutique wineries and serving up those samples with bites of roast lamb, Kurobuta ham and fresh Columbia River King salmon. For free! Yes please and thank you.
There's a double dose of Taste Washington this year, March 31 and April 1, which is likely to mean less competition when queing up for a sip of some of your old faves and new. While the $75 is far from cheap, the Washington Wine Commission is giving away VIP package. Enter here.
Finally, I'm taking a vow to go sip at the source, visiting some of these hard-working winemakers. You don't have to travel to Walla Walla or Yakima to do that. Hell, you can get on board a Metro bus and hit an urban wineries. That's my kind of designated driver.