Inaugural Northwest Wine Encounter at Semiahmoo Resort Showcases Top Washington and Oregon Winemakers
Betz Family Winery, Col Solare, DeLille Cellars and Dobbes Family Estate Featured
April 15-17 marked the first Northwest Wine Encounter weekend at the Semiahmoo Resort, Golf and Spa, just south of the Canadian border in Blaine, Washington. A spirited weekend of wine education and appreciation led by 5 of the region’s leading winemakers as well as acclaimed grower Dick Boushey and wine journalist Andy Perdue provided unique insights and experiences on the shores of Birch Bay and Drayton Harbor, with the Cascade and Olympic Mountains in view. Program topics and events included: The Sublime World of Pinot Noir, Red Mountain Rising, Succulent Syrah and Wonderful Whites, as well as birdwatching on the Semiahmoo peninsula, a bonfire accompanied by port and s’mores and a multicourse gala winemaker dinner.
“Washington and Oregon have come a long way in the past four decades, and it’s exciting to think about what the future holds,” remarked keynote speaker Bob Betz, founder and winemaker of Betz Family Winery. “Our wines now compete on the world stage. The wines we are exploring here at the Encounter showcase well what our region is recognized for – the impact of site on the wine, and the personalities and passions of the winemakers in the Pacific Northwest.”
Winemakers, growers, and consumers in attendance all agreed that the unique terrain and weather conditions of the Northwest, when coupled with the creative and scientific skills of those charting the course at each winery, yield wonderful wines of great depth, flavor and character. Seminars packed with personal anecdotes and group reflection created a forum of shared experience and observation.
During the Wonderful Whites seminar, Joe Dobbes of the Willamette Valley in discussing his Grenache Blanc and Viognier remarked, “I’m happy to hear Viognier is being grown in Washington State – it brings more interest to the varietal and I think we are on the leading edge here. Most folks in Oregon are growing Pinot Gris for white, so it is fun to do something different.” Others concurred. Chris Upchurch, cofounder and executive winemaker of DeLille Cellars added, “Yes, we’re on to something. In Washington, and similarly Oregon, when the variability of soil, slope and aspect are coupled with human culture and viticultural precision, we can optimize the land value and create wines that are authentic, expressive and delicious.”
Bob Betz and Louis Skinner of Betz Family Winery, Chris Upchurch of DeLille Cellars, all of Woodinville, Washington, Darel Allwine of Col Solare, Red Mountain, Washington, Joe Dobbes of Dobbes Family Estate, Dundee, Oregon and Dick Boushey of Boushey Vineyards, in the Yakima Valley town of Grandview, Washington, offered unique selections and stories throughout the weekend. Planning is already in place for the 2017 Northwest Wine Encounter at Semiahmoo.