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Taste Washington makes successful return for 2023

Taste Washington, the largest US single-region wine and food festival, returned to Seattle March 6-13 after a three year hiatus.

The event drew over 7,000 attendees, including consumers, media and trade. This year, participants comprised 224 wineries,12 associations and wineries, and 47 restaurant and chef partners.

“Washington’s grown so much in the wine industry,” said Adam Acampora, Executive Director of Woodinville Wine Countryan association located near Seattle. “There’s over 1,200 wineries now, and 20 AVA’s. The fact that consumers can come here and taste and see some really craft, boutique winemakers, as well as the big guys – it’s incredible.”

“Woodinville is kind of like Taste Washington all year long,” Acampo elaborated. “We have 100-plus wineries in Woodinville, and represent about 10% of the wine industry, pouring 19 of the 20 AVA’s all year long. So it’s kind of like the graduation party for a lot of the wineries that are there.”

It’s also an opportunity for winemakers and growers to reconnect with one another.  “Being separated in Washington by a big mountain range, we sometimes don’t get to see our friends from the east side of the mountain on the west side of the mountain,” said Mari Womack, winemaker at Damsel Cellars, a 3,600 case winery in Woodinville. “So this is a really great unifying event to get to see everyone, and taste the wine again.”

Womack also recognized the growth in wineries and brands statewide. “We have been away now for three years, and what I have noticed is there are a lot of new brands here, and a lot of new wine labels that I haven’t seen before,” she said. “I think Taste Washington allows us to see some of the growth.”

Attendees chose from a menu of different events throughout the week, ranging from intimate winemaker and chef dinners, to a salmon bake, Sunday progressive brunch, and “No Frills” casual ‘after-party.” Whimsy played a large part throughout, including one soirée blending libations, eats, dancing, vintage games, and a chance to belt out boutique karaoke inside a vintage Airstream.

The heart of Taste Washington, however, centers around The Grand Tasting at Lumen Field. Those seeking a deeper dive into Washington also wine attended “The Seminars” directly prior at Four Seasons Seattle.

Washington is still unknown, even though we’re the second largest producer,” said Acampo, referencing the state’s national wine grape ranking. “We’re working with over 30 varieties actively across the state.There really is such a unique terroir any AVA.”

To that end, global educators, sommeliers, growers and winemakers presented topics such as “Understanding Greatness: The Common Thread of the World’s Finest Wines,” and “Where the Future Begins: Introducing Washington’s Newly Minted Regions,” moderated by  Sean P. Sullivan of the Northwest Wine Report.

Ultimately, Taste Washington celebrated Washington state’s multitude of wine regions, microclimates, varieties, and style. It also reaffirmed the state’s rightful place upon the global wide stage.

“Taste Washington was an epic reunion for the Washington wine family,” concluded Chris Stone, VP of Marketing & Communications for the . “Our new partner SE Productions brought a fresh, new look and feel to our beloved event, elevating it to new heights. We’re counting down to 2024!”

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