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Taste Washington Festival Returns March 31 With More Than 200 Wineries

The yearly event series continues to grow with Washington's impressive wine industry

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The New Vintage party, 2015.
The New Vintage party, 2015.
Courtesy of Visit Seattle

The annual bacchanal known as Taste Washington is less than a month away, with its first event on Thursday, March 31. The yearly festival is centered around a two day grand tasting, featuring over 200 wineries from Washington State and more than 60 area restaurants sampling bites to pair with pours. In recent years, organizers have also boosted programming to additional days, extending the party.

The main event takes place Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3, at CenturyLink Field Event Center. Expect a seemingly endless array of drinks and dishes, with food trucks and renowned Seattle chefs dotted amongst lesser known purveyors. An event stage features chef demos from the likes of local star Jason Stratton ("Top Chef: California," Mamnoon), while 700-plus wines will be poured throughout the event space.

taste washington grand tasting 2015 kristen marie photography

Grand Tasting, 2015. [Photo: Kristen Marie Photography, courtesy of Visit Seattle]

A highlight of the weekend is the seminar schedule, with talks from some of the industry's most important players on topics like Washington's place in the world of wine, its unique terroir, and the rise of Riesling. Tickets for the weekend's activities are available online, with several price points, including a VIP option and weekend pricing.

The weekend kicks off at Aqua by El Gaucho with Thursday's Red & White Party, a fancy gala with high end wines from wineries including Dunham Cellars, Mark Ryan, and Pepper Bridge. Producers bring barrel samples, reserve wines, and vintage library selections that aren't otherwise featured throughout the weekend. Attendees are encouraged to wear red and white to the party, which has a ticket price of $175.

Last year, event partners Washington Wine Commission and Visit Seattle introduced the Taste Washington on the Farm series on the Friday of Taste Washington, featuring chartered trips to nearby farms with chefs tagging along. This year continues those field trips, with three destinations that are quickly booking up. A trip to Eatonville's Mountain Lodge Farm with chef Dezi Bonow of Carlile Room and an experience in Woodinville with chef/farmer Brian Scheehser of Trellis are both sold out. A third adventure to Seattle Tilth's urban farm in Rainier Beach is the only one still available, even with the combined star powers of Maria Hines (Tilth, Golden Beetle, Agrodolce) and Tamara Murphy (Terra Plata) behind it. Tickets are $85.

On Friday night, The New Vintage invites partygoers to Frolik restaurant at hotel Motif for a food and drink party catering to a younger crowd. Chefs Jason Stratton, Stuart Lane (Spinasse), Shota Nakajima (Naka), Derek Ronspies (Le Petit Cochon), Steven Ariel (Trace), and Audrey Spence (Frolik) will be cooking while wines flow freely and a DJ spins. Tickets are $75 each.

Exclusive wine dinners will also take place off-site throughout the run of Taste Washington 2016. Details are on the event website.