August is Washington Wine Month, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by coming to the source of Washington’s wine industry! The Yakima Valley grows more than 50% of Washington State’s wine grapes, and we have seen tremendous growth in our wineries and vineyard acres over the past 30 years. There are now over 120 wineries to visit in the Yakima Valley, many of which are boutique family-owned affairs where you can speak to the winery owner or winemaker as you taste. There are also numerous varietals to choose from, ensuring that everyone will find a wine that pleases their palate.
When you come visit the Yakima Valley, stop at the Visitor Information Center to pick up printed maps, wine country event information, Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail Passports, as well as helpful tips to get the most out of your visit.
Here are a few events that will help you celebrate Washington Wine Month:
Firepit Friday at McKinley Springs – 5:00-8:00 pm – Join McKinley Springs in their courtyard under the starry sky. Storytelling comes natural to winemakers and Doug McKinley has some great ones to share. Gather around and enjoy a glass of wine by the light of the fire, roast your own dinner or buy one of their Bonfire Boxes!
Winemaker Dinner at Purple Star Wines – 6:00 pm – Enjoy a winemaker dinner featuring Schooler Nolan wines and Purple Star Wines. Five delicious courses prepared by Fat Olives Catering are paired with two wines, one from each winery. The winemakers JD Nolan and Kyle Johnson will then explain why they chose their wine for the course. You then get to taste each and pick your favorite. A fun evening with twice the tasting experience!
Sunset Wagon or Trail Ride Dinner at Red Mountain Trails – 6:30-9:00 pm. Join the Red Mountain Trail crew on their horse-drawn wagon or ride your own horse. Ride out through the vineyards of Red Mountain to a secluded knoll in the vines where you will enjoy a four course dinner as the sun sets over the Yakima Valley. Held Friday and Saturday nights from May through September, these dinners are unlike any offering in the Northwest!
Live Music at Chandler Reach Vineyards – 6:00-8:00 pm. Meet talented local artist Chase Craig and they will also introduce their new summer series of live music in the vineyard! Pack a picnic dinner or snack and join us for a hefty glass of wine!
Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame Gala – 6:00-10:00 pm – Now in its 11th year, the Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame Gala seeks to honor those individuals who have made contributions of historical and lasting significance to the community and the wine industry. Winemaker, grower, and mentor, Doug Gore has been selected as the 2017 inductee into the Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame. As the Executive Vice President of Winemaking, Vineyards & Operation for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Gore leads the largest winemaking and grape growing team in the Pacific Northwest. His leadership has enabled many Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’ brands to grow beyond 1 million cases per year, and has set the tone for the evolution of Washington as a grape growing region. The gala is comprised of a reception, dinner, auction, and dedication of the bronze plaque.
Jazz at J. Bell featuring Thomas Barber’s Spiral Road – 6:00-9:00 pm – Thomas Barber’s Spiral Road takes influence from film scores, pop music, classical and jazz from the past five decades, and channels it into melodic original compositions. Barber’s music is dynamic, harmonically complex, and above all, focused on delivering a lasting emotional experience. This will be wonderful evening accompanied by wonderful wine.
Washington vs New Zealand Tasting at The Clore Center – 2:00-3:00 pm – Compare classic varietals grown and produced around the world against the same varietals grown and produced in Washington. Learn how differences in climate, vineyard practices, soil type and winemaking style can affect the way varietals express themselves and let your palate decide your preference.
Lounging at the Loft: Summer Music Series – 6:00 pm – Coyote Canyon Winery will be hosting live music from American Honey, and serving light tapas and wine by the glass or bottle for purchase.
Jazz at J. Bell featuring Trio Subtonic – 6:00-9:00 pm. Trio Subtonic is a groove heavy power trio out of Portland that blends genre bending funk with slow burning underground soul jazz. Led by keyboardist Galen Clark, Subtonic explores a coalescence of rock, soul, funk, hip hop and jazz that simultaneously draws in listeners and pushes boundaries. They pair perfectly with J. Bell’s exquisite wines.
Bubbles and Bites: Showdown at The Clore Center – 2:00-3:00 pm. Enjoy four sparkling wines expertly paired with four small bites. The featured wines are favorites from previous Bubbles and Bites sessions. Which bottle of bubbles will be the overall favorite? You can help decide the winner!
It’s time to make a plan for your wine county trip to celebrate Washington Wine Month! These are just a few of the great events going, so click here. For a listing of all the events happening in Yakima Valley’s wine country!