Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Wenatchee Wine and Food Festival at Town Toyota Center, and my head is still spinning (from the variety, not the wine, really). The folks at Foothills Magazine who produced the event brought in an amazing volume of award-winning wines that if you didn’t know better, would make you think you were smack dab in the middle of wine country. While guests navigated the show floor and sampled a crazy number of wines, snacks were on hand too—everything from breads and olive oil, saffron risotto, and fireball mini-cupcakes. For those with a penchant for variety or perhaps those less inclined toward wine, locally-distilled spirits, beer, cider and ale were on hand as well. (But then of course some people might simply try them all without feeling judged… it was an all-inclusive event after all).

In all seriousness, this event was fun. The wines were very good and have I mentioned there were a LOT of them? Wineries, breweries, cider makers and distilleries were on-site from well beyond Wenatchee—Lake Chelan, Leavenworth, Malaga and Yakima were just a few locations represented. The vibe was lighthearted and inviting. People were having a really good time and it was evident. I ran into all manner of friends I forgot how much I really miss. I chatted with winemakers who had loads of interesting tidbits to share. One gentleman shared with me his winery’s practice of planting, fertilizing and harvesting by the cycles of the moon. Another gave me a fairly detailed scientific analysis of the breakdown of flavor, and the impact of terroir. I learned about different varietals and wine blends. Did YOU know that blush is different than rose??? Me either. And I learned that both are delicious and pink, and being made in North Central Washington. I sampled perhaps a little more than I should have but hey, somebody had to do all of that learning.So, be the beneficiary of all of my self-sacrificing, dedicated educational endeavors. Go to your town’s community festivals and support local industry. The lion’s share of these folks are local, they’re running family-based operations and need all the support they can get. After you’re done with that, hit the road and explore your STATE’s annual celebrations and enjoy neighboring region’s unique harvests—odds are they’re going to be delicious too.

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