Seattle continues to scale things back due to CORAVID-19 worries. On Thursday, the organizers of Taste Washington — which has been one of the area’s biggest wine events for more than 20 years — announced that it is canceling this year’s festivities, originally scheduled to take place from March 19-22. CenturyLink Field was supposed to host a grand tasting, and there were other ticketed seminars and meals planned throughout the city, with more than 200 wineries represented and over 65 chefs. Last year, the event had drawn a record attendance of nearly 8,500 people.
“It is out of an abundance of caution that we make this decision,” said Chris Stone, vice president of marketing and communications for the Washington State Wine Commission, one of Taste Washington’s main partners, along with Visit Seattle. “The health and safety of our guests, our industry members, and their families is our primary concern.” All ticket holders will be given full refunds without needing to take action.
The decision is understandable, given recent recommendations by King County’s public health staff for event organizers to consider canceling or postponing large gatherings. But it’s still disappointing. This year, the minds behind the popular Feast Portland festival were revamping the culinary aspect of Taste Washington, with more parties, dinners, and collaborations. Among the star chefs who planned to take part were Edouardo Jordan (JuneBaby, Salare), Rachel Yang (Joule, Revel), Ethan Stowell (Tavolata, How to Cook a Wolf), Shota Nakajima (Adana), and Melissa Miranda (Musang).
While not all major Seattle events have thrown in the towel (Emerald City Comic Con is notably still on, for now, despite pressure to reconsider), the logistics and safety risks involved ultimately proved to be too much to overcome for Taste Washington. A statement on the official website explained the organizers wouldn’t be able to execute “the quality level our attendees have come to expect.” This is the first time the event has ever been canceled.