By CF Staff | Photo by Kristen Marie Parker | Sponsored by Taste Washington

The Pacific-Northwest is a viticultural powerhouse.   


The state of Washington alone produces over 80 grape varieties and churns out the stuff at a pace second only to California. The state-wide affinity for wine—and lots of it—now powers the nation’s largest single-region wine and food event: Taste Washington in Seattle, which celebrates its 21st trip around the sun this March.   

Grab your tickets now, then check this fly-by guide to the events you absolutely shouldn’t miss. It only scratches the surface of cool things happening in and around the festival, but it’ll get you off on the right foot.    

Red & White Party—Thurs, March 22, AQUA by El Gaucho
 

You know that feeling when you’re out to dinner, and the sommelier swings by, and you’re trying to give them a look that says: “I’m here for the really good stuff”? Like the locked-in-a-special-cabinet, secret stash, wine-to-try-before-you-die stuff. If that oenophilist-style Morse code sounds familiar, the Red & White Party is where you need to be. Top Washington winemakers save only their most treasured bottles for this elegant affair; this is where the best of the best come to play. You and your intrepid palate were made for this moment.   

The New Vintage—Fri, March 23, Fisher Pavilion
 

Do you ever wonder what the meet-cute for wine and food looks like? They’ve been a dynamic duo for so long, it’s hard to imagine a time when they weren’t bringing magic to the masses. However it happened, this glam Friday night bash brings a killer roster of chefs to celebrate the love affair.

Rub elbows with chef Jeffrey Vance from Seattle’s No Anchor, who, fun fact, has excellent taste in bar food and was just nominated for James Beard’s Best New Restaurant; chef Thomas Griese of RN74, a small-town kid with huge ambitions and a national fine dining background to prove it; chef Stuart Lane of Spinasse and Artusi, whose background in creative writing informs his whimsical style; chef Shota Nakajima, who pays homage to Japanese cuisine and hospitality at Seattle’s Adama; and two equally talented Aarons: chef Aaron Pate of legendary Shiro’s Sushi, and local Washington chef Aaron Willis of Ciudad, who wants to bring great food to the masses (in this case, that’s you, friend).   

AND there’s a Rosé Lounge. We all need a little lounge-y rosé in our lives.     

The Grand Tasting—Sat and Sun, March 24-25, CenturyLink Field Event Center
 

Now that you’re all warmed up, hit up the Big Kahuna: the Grand Tasting, so epic it requires two whole days to experience fully. (It’s the perfect place to practice that whole swirl-and-spit thing you’ve heard about. No better time to surreptitiously dribble into a fashionable spittoon than in front of hundreds of winemakers, chefs and your wine-obsessed peers! It’s what the pros do, relax.) Pace yourself: the weekend brings together 230 wineries, over 65 restaurants and 60 chefs and culinary experts from all over the country.

Get some face-time with Top Chef alum and PNW powerhouse chef Gregory Gourdet [Departure]; LA native and regular culinary competitor chef Brooke Williamson [Hudson House]; and San Antonio chef duo Rico Torres and Diego Galicia [Mixtli] serving up their signature modern Mexican fare. Even chef Sheldon Simeon [Tin Roof, Maui], whose food is redefining Hawaiian cuisine, will fly in for a little time on the mainland.    

There’s a reason Washington wines are coveted the world over. One whirlwind trip through the Taste Washington universe and your palate will never be the same.            




*