From a brand new tasting room at Port Townsend’s historic Palindrome to Tibetan yak to do-it-yourself cheese making demonstrations, there will be plenty of new activity to engage visitors on the Olympic Peninsula Wineries’ Northwest Wine & Cheese Tour, Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. A variety of Northwest artisan cheeses, including fondue and raclette, will complement new wine and hard cider releases, treating visitors to a taste of spring.
A total of 10 wineries and cideries located in the Peninsula towns of Chimacum, Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles, and on Marrowstone Island will participate in the event. Wine specials will be available throughout the weekend.
Advance tickets for the self-guided tour are available online for $35.00 ($40.00 at the door of participating wineries). Tour tickets include wine and cheese tasting at all 10 wineries and cideries plus a commemorative wine glass. (Independently, each venue charges a $7.00 tasting fee.) Visit www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org.
- Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Chimacum, is celebrating the sweetness of Spring with the annual release of its Honey Meadow botanical cider, its estate-grown Golden Russet Cider, a lovely small batch Perry, and a limited edition Plum Wine featuring Port Townsend yellow plums. Enjoy a warm and savory Cheese & Cider Fondue made with local Mt. Townsend Creamery cheese and Pane D’Amore cheese breadsticks. Finnriver’s special guests on Sunday is folks from Cradle Farm in Quilcene, who will bring along a Tibetan yak so visitors can learn more about these versatile and charming creatures. Spring is beautiful on the land, and Finnriver welcomes you to enjoy it along with them.
- Marrowstone Vineyards, located in the town of Nordland on Marrowstone Island, invites visitors to come and savor spring cheese and wine at their beautiful venue. Sit on the deck, watch the flowers bloom and the mountains come out, and sample Marrowstone’s new vintages, harvested from its estate vineyard for the first time last fall. In addition to the winery’s own harvest, there will be Pinot Gris, Viognier, Barbera, and Pinot Noir for tasting, made from grapes grown in Eastern Washington and Willamette Valley vineyards. Marrowstone will partner with Mt. Townsend Creamery this year, pairing its delicious cheese with white and red wines. Special pricing on the 2014 dry Gewurtztraminer and Riesling will be available throughout the weekend. Selected art by local artist Kathy Constantine will be exhibited and offered for sale on site.
In Port Townsend, Lullaby Winery is continuing the popular Lollipop theme started during February’s Red Wine & Chocolate Tour – only this time the Lollipops will be cheesy! Tour-goers will enjoy three selected wines. A separate Reserve Tasting will feature Lullaby’s 2010 Lalayee and the 2010 Syrah. Visitors will have the opportunity to taste these very limited production wines for an additional $10.00.
- At FairWinds Winery, also in Port Townsend, visitors will discover their own favorite combination of wines made with FairWinds’ innovative approach and a selection of delicious locally-made cheeses.
- Apple blossoms, fresh cider and two unusual takes on local cheeses will be available for visitors’ enjoyment at Alpenfire Cider. Mt. Townsend Creamery’s Red Alder cheese will be featured, toasted raclette-style to a creamy yet crispy perfection. This cheese will be served with Spark! semi-sweet heirloom cider. In celebration of Spring, Alpenfire will also feature Mystery Bay’s fresh chevre drenched in wildflower honey, sprinkled with dried lavender from Wilderbee Farm and with fresh bee pollen. It will be paired with Glow, the cidery’s single varietal rosé cider. Both will be served on a slice of Pane de Amore baguette. Alpenfire will also serve samples of its latest release of Calypso, a fresh blackberry fermented cider aged in rum barrels to a beautiful rosé color. For those wanting to sample the full line of ciders, the tasting room will be open for an additional fee.
- In its new tasting room at the historic Palindrome in Port Townsend, Eaglemount Wine & Cider will serve various smoked cheeses and other local delicacies from Crimson Cove in Poulsbo, paired with its ciders and wines. New releases include a Cabernet Sauvignon red wine, a Quince Cider, and a Raspberry Hopped Cider. Come and see this beautiful venue, sitting on acreage that will eventually become an orchard and vineyard. In addition to the Palindrome events center, the property also houses the Arcadia Inn, a 1908 Craftsman farmhouse that will become a B&B.
- In Sequim, Wind Rose Cellars will be pairing some of its awarding-winning wines with award- winning cheeses from Black Sheep Creamery. Black Sheep is a family-owned sheep dairy farm that specializes in handcrafted farmstead and artisanal sheep milk cheeses. Wind Rose will be pouring its 2015 Pinot Grigio, 2013 Lavender Fields Forever (barrel aged Pinot Grigio), 2015 Rosato, 2013 Dolcetto and 2012 Barbera. There will also be a VIP bar where visitors can taste several additional wines. Anyone coming in early Friday night or looking for something to do on Saturday night after the Wine & Cheese Tour can stop in at Wind Rose Cellars for some great live music. On Friday, April 29 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m., Me and the Boys will entertain with their traditional Bluegrass sound and a newgrass-style that remixes modern tunes into Bluegrass. On Saturday, April 30, Blue Rooster will play a mixture of blues and rockabilly.
Olympic Cellars, Port Angeles, always loves to create an experience for its guests and the Wine and Cheese Tour is no exception. Winemaker Greg will demonstrate how to make your own cheese. Once visitors see how easy it is, they will want to pick up a D.I.Y. kit and try it at home. Also, due to its popularity, Bacon Jam will be back for guests to spread on cream cheese or brie and there will be a variety of new Pepper Jellies for guests to sample. The winery’s magnum, a Tempranillo/Souzao blend will be open for sampling and the Barn Nouveau Red will be re-released. It’s the perfect spring time red — a nice, fruity, Rhone Style blend.
- Also in Port Angeles, Camaraderie Cellars will feature Willapa Hills Creamery – one of the winery’s favorite cheese crafters. Known for both sheep and cow cheese, Willapa Hills make some of the most interesting cheese one can find. Some of Camaraderie’s newest releases will be featured — 2013 Tempranillo, 2013 Malbec – as well as something not so new, but well-aged.
- Harbinger Winery, Port Angeles, will be hosting an array of artisan cheeses produced in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, from Samish Bay Creamery in Bow, Wash. to the banks of the Rogue River. Pair the vibrant Chardonnay with a soft-ripened gem that was aged to perfection near the banks of the Samish River. How about tasting the newly released fruit-forward and racy Primitivo with a beautiful hard-aged cheese that has spent more time in the dark than the winery’s cellarmaster? Or be seduced by the intoxicating properties of Raspberry Bliss (made from fresh locally-grown berries) with an over-the-top smoky blue cheese. The key to a successful “palatial” experience is proper pairing. The team at Harbinger Winery has again gone “above and beyond” and put their own arteries on the line by trying all the wine and cheese combinations to ensure a grand slam tasting experience. But don’t take their word for it; stop by and judge for yourself! All of the wines and cheeses being sampled will be available for sale in the Harbinger tasting room.
More information at www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org