Food & Wine

Yakima Valley tastings set next weekend

Yakima Valley wineries roll out the barrels this month for one of the busiest tasting weekends of the year.

Nearly 50 wineries from Yakima to the Tri-Cities will be featuring new releases, special discounts, special foods and a chance to sample yet unfinished wines directly from the barrel during Spring Barrel Tasting on April 25-27.

They’ll also be making a special effort to enhance your wine-tasting experience by offering delicious tidbits to pair up with a featured wine, music and more. In the Yakima area, be sure to drop by Sagelands Vineyard where Cheese Louise of Walla Walla will be serving and selling a wide variety of cheeses. In the mid-Valley, stop in at Tucker Cellars Winery in Sunnyside where Anthony’s Homeport Restaurants will have their famous seafood spread. Closer to home, Seth Ryan Winery in Benton City will be cooking up cherry merlot barbecued sandwiches.

Wineries with musical offerings include: Silver Lake Winery featuring Blue Tropics from 1 to 6 p.m. April 26; Horizon’s Edge Winery featuring a live band from noon to 3 p.m. April 26; Olsen Estates featuring guitarist Wayman Chapman from 2 to 5 p.m. April 26 and Terra Blanca Estate Winery featuring live jazz from noon to 5 p.m. April 27.

What to expect

Spring Barrel Tasting attracts a lot of people, which means a lot of traffic and crowds including busloads of tasters, many from the west side.

This weekend is one of the busiest for the wineries. Winemakers and cellar staff will be on hand to share insights and answer questions on the winemaking process. However, they’ll be run off their feet, so be patient.Take a glass or be prepared to buy one at your first stop. There’s no way the winery dishwashers will be able to keep up with the demand for glassware.

Many wineries will be charging a nominal tasting fee, usually refunded with a wine purchase.

Reserve event tickets

For the best experience, discounts and tastings, purchase a Wine Yakima Valley reserve event ticket (actually a wrist band). The wristbands are good only at participating Yakima Valley wineries. Some, but not all, of the wineries in the greater Tri-City area are members of Wine Yakima Valley.

The wristbands come with a tasting glass and cost $20 in advance. Buy them at www.wineyakimavalley.org or at the Kennewick Costco near the wine department.

You also can buy one at these locations for $25 during the weekend: Kana Winery, Visitor Information Center in Yakima, Sagelands Winery, Claar Cellars, Willow Crest Winery, Hogue Cellars, Thurston Wolfe Winery, Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard, Snoqualmie Winery, Barnard Griffin Winery and Tapteil Vineyard Winery.

Several wineries that are charging a tasting fee will waive it for reserve event ticket holders.

Hours, dates

The wineries, some only open by appointment, will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 25-27. Alexandria Nicole Cellars will be open April 25 and 27, closed April 26.

More information, maps

Go to www.wineyakimavalley.org or call 800-258-7270 and request a touring brochure.

*Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com

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