Savor Life

February 13th, 2012

We had a great turnout for the first weekend of our Red Wine and Chocolate Tour. Thanks to everyone who journeyed to the Olympic Peninsula to enjoy delicious combinations of locally made chocolate and Washington State Wine.

Olympic Peninsula Red Wine and Chocolate Tour

Take advantage of the upcoming long weekend and journey to the Olympic Peninsula for the Red Wine and Chocolate Tour.

If you were unable to make it to Port Townsend, Sequim, or Port Angeles wineries and cideries this past weekend, you’ll have another opportunity this weekend. The Red Wine and Chocolate Tour of Olympic Peninsula wineries continues February 18-20, 2012.

Spend a couple of nights in a romantic Port Townsend Bed and Breakfast. Rent a cozy cottage in Sequim. Book a room overlooking the water in Port Angeles. Allow yourself plenty of time to visit the eight Washington Wineries and Cideries participating in the Red Wine and Chocolate Tour. If you visit each one, you’ll be eligible to win an elegant gift basket.

Take advantage of the coming long weekend. Spend your time sipping wine, savoring chocolate, and immersing yourself in the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. Visit Dungeness Spit. Walk the trails of Fort Warden. Ride your bikes along a stretch of the Olympic Discovery Trail. Visit a beautiful farm in Chimacum.

Please see our Red Wine and Chocolate Tour for additional information, and plan you weekend getaway now.

Two Weekends of Bliss at Olympic Peninsula Wineries

February 9th, 2012

The Red Wine & Chocolate Tour at Olympic Peninsula Wineries begins this weekend, February 11 and 12, 2012. It continues the following weekend, February 18-20.

This is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Sublime combinations of wine and chocolate are explored and celebrated. Each participating Washington State Winery and Cidery on the Olympic Peninsula will have something unique to share: a deep, dark chocolate fountain, sinful truffles, and an abundance of new release wines.

Black Diamond Winery

Try a variety of sweet combinations at Black Diamond Winery. Chocolate truffles will be served alongside Raspberry, Loganberry, and Strawberry Wines. Black Diamond will also be pouring their Syrah, for folks who like life a little less sweet.

Try cocoa spice-rubbed pulled pork at Camaraderie Cellars in Port Angeles.

Camaraderie Cellars

There are chocolate desserts, and then there is chocolate food. It’s hard to resist Camaraderie Cellars’ cocoa spice-rubbed pulled pork cooked in a wood-fired oven. Try it with the savory chocolate bruschetta, which is unlike anything we’ve ever tasted. Enjoy them both with the 2009 Syrah, which will be released during this event.

For the sweet teeth out there, Camaraderie will serve Molly Baby chocolate shortbread cookies and Equal Exchange Fair Trade Chocolate bars. Cabernet and Merlot varietals will be served alongside these goodies.

Eaglemount Wine and Cider

Tucked away on a lovely piece of ground above Discovery Bay, Eaglemount will serve new releases of their cider, mead, and red wine. Chocolates by Chocolate Serenade add a sweet touch.

Dip a strawberry into the chocolate fountain at FairWinds Winery, in Port Townsend.

FairWinds Winery

It just wouldn’t be the Olympic Peninsula Red Wine and Chocolate Tour without a chocolate fountain. The fountain at FairWinds Winery is said to be the tallest chocolate fountain on the Peninsula. Dip fruits and sweets into this delicious pool of dark chocolate and try the latest vintages of Gewürztraminer, Port O’ Call, and a Carbernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend. You may not want to leave.

Finnriver Cidery

Warm yourself with Finnriver Cidery’s newly released Raspberry Wine and then savor chocolate-covered berries.

Try Black Currant and Pear Cider cocktails with outrageous chocolate brownies.

Treat yourself to a ticket to the Chocolate Chamber, where you can dive into a cup of “BLISS” Chocolate Elixir, a creamy gourmet sipping chocolate by Jennifer Michele Chocolat of Port Townsend.

Harbinger Winery

Mount Olympus Black Truffles by Wicked Little Sweets are divine. When paired with Harbinger Winery’s newly released 2009 Bolero, they’re sinful.

If you appreciate good beer, don’t leave without trying Bar Hop Brewing’s Venezuelan Chocolate Porter.

Harbinger Winery is also hosting Aphrodisiac Chocolate tastings in the Kitty Kat Lounge. Reservations recommended.

Olympic Cellars

You may think you’re wine tasting on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, but when you step into Olympic Cellars, you’ll realize you’re actually in Paris. Sip red and white Washington State Wines, savor handcrafted chocolates by Yvonne Yakota, sway to French music and watch an artist at work. Don’t leave without trying a freshly baked chocolate croissant.

Wind Rose Cellars

Italian grape varieties grown in Washington State are the foundation of the wines at Wind Rose Cellars in Sequim. Try the newly released 2010 Dolcetto and sample the creative chocolate combinations made by Sequim’s Cocoa d’Amici: Hazel Nut Crunch, Pistachio Fig, and Ginger Cinnamon.

Additional information is available at Red Wine & Chocolate Tour. Bon appétit!

Chocolate. Red Wine. A Divine Combination.

January 28th, 2012

Chocolate is divine. It is luxurious. It is decadent. It has been special since it was discovered, and with good reason. Sweet and smooth, dark and creamy, rich and bittersweet…there is really nothing else like it. We drink it. We melt it. We eat it any way we can.

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Red Wine and Chocolate.

Although today chocolate is relatively affordable, it was once quite a luxury. Even these days, chocolate of extraordinarily good quality comes with a price. A gift of fine chocolate is meaningful; that’s why we give it to the people we love.

But don’t just give a box of chocolates to your Valentine this year. Step out of the box. Give an experience. Bring your sweetie to the Red Wine & Chocolate Tour at Olympic Peninsula Wineries.

Discover enchanting combinations of red wine and chocolate. There will be deep Cabernets, rich Merlots, and flavorful Syrahs. There will be hand crafted, locally made chocolates. They will be paired by experts who recognize that both grapes and cocoa beans are effected by the climate and geography of the regions that produce them.

Pairing wine and chocolate has got to be one of the most delightful sciences there is. Taste for yourself. Join us Olympic Peninsula Wineries for two weekends of Red Wine and Chocolate.

The Red Wine & Chocolate Tour runs February 11-12 and February 18-20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional details are available on our Events page.

 

Olympic Peninsula Home To “Coolest Small Town”

January 18th, 2012
Old Boat and Point Wilson Lighthouse

Fort Worden, one of Port Townsend's many perks.

Each year, Budget Travel asks its readers to nominate an American small town for the title Coolest Small Town. The choices are then whittled down to the top 10, and those are put to a vote. To our delight, Port Townsend, Washington, has made the 2012 short list for America’s Coolest Small Towns.

There are a few parameters. Each town must have a population under 10,000. It must be “on the upswing,” thanks to a vibrant arts scene, good restaurants, or its proximity to nature. The town must also eschew quaint and embrace edginess.

Given theses parameters, Port Townsend should be a shoe-in.

  • It’s hip, with edgy artists and a sizable number of residents who live there precisely because it isn’t like every where else.
  • It has astoundingly strong arts and culture for a town of its size, with an impressive list of festivals such as the Film Festival and the Wooden Boat Festival.
  • It has Centrum: Centrum is responsible for the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, a Chamber Music Festival, a Jazz Festival, a Blues Festival, and a host of other artistic programs.
Hastings Building, Port Townsend, WA

Port Townsend also has beautiful, historic buildings.

  • It’s home to Fort Worden.

Port Townsend can go neck and neck with just about any town in the country for natural beauty. It sits on the tip of the Quimper Peninsula, which is located on the Olympic Peninsula. Two volcanic peaks stand in the east, Mount Baker to the north and Mount Rainier to the south. The Cascade Mountain Range rises in the distance behind the white cliffs of Whidbey Island to the east, and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains lie to the west. It impossible to remain indifferent to the view. And opportunities for outdoor recreation are abundant.

In addition, three of our member Washington State Wineries are located in and near Port Townsend: FairWinds WineryEaglemount Wine & Cider, and FinnRiver Farm & Cidery.

If you’ve been to Port Townsend, you’ve probably already cast your vote. If you haven’t been there, or if it’s been a while, go take a look. Have a glass of Washington State Wine or Cider made on the Olympic Peninsula. Stay in a Bed and Breakfast or Boutique Hotel. Then cast your vote for Port Townsend as America’s Coolest Small Town. Votes accepted through January 31, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

Discover the Olympic Discovery Trail

January 12th, 2012
Railroad Bridge over Dungeness River

Park at the Railroad Bridge in Sequim and bike to one of our member wineries in Port Angeles.

One of the many wonderful qualities of Washington State is that it is home to such diverse terrain and climates. Tall volcanic peaks such as Mount Baker and Mount Rainier are snow-covered twelve months a year. The lush forests of the Hoh are green twelve months a year. There are ocean beaches and high plateaux. There are steep canyons, rolling palouse, and several mountain ranges.

This diversity means that the sun is almost always shining somewhere in the state.

On the Olympic Peninsula, the sun shines most frequently in the Olympic Rain Shadow; Sequim and Port Townsend are the two towns that benefit most from the sheltering presence of the Olympic Mountains. Whereas the Seattle area receives an average annual rainfall of close to 40 inches, Sequim receives approximately 15 inches a year. Port Townsend gets a whopping 17 inches. That is a significant difference.

The Olympic Discovery Trail is a great spot to stretch the legs with a run, a walk, or a bike ride. The trail currently stretches from Ediz Hook in Port Angeles to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center at the south end of Sequim Bay. Other completed sections of the trail are in Port Townsend and west of Port Angeles. Eventually the trail will extend from Port Townsend to the Pacific Coast.

When the persistent low cloud cover in the Seattle area starts to bring you down this winter, load your bike in the car and head to the Olympic Discovery Trail. Make it a day trip or stay for a few days. It’ll do wonders for you.

While you’re on the Olympic Peninsula, we hope you’ll be in the mood to try some Washington State Wine and Cider. You’ll find three wineries on the Port Angeles end of the Olympic Discovery Trail: Camaraderie Cellars, Harbinger Winery, and Black Diamond Winery. Olympic Cellars is a great spot to rest mid-route; it sits near the border of Sequim and Port Angeles.

Stop for a taste, or pick up a bottle and enjoy it once you’re safely back home.

More information about the trail is available at Olympic Discovery Trail.

Olympic Peninsula Red Wine and Chocolate Tour

January 4th, 2012

For many of us, February on the Olympic Peninsula means red wine and chocolate.Life is beautiful, even in February.

Folks often believe February in the Pacific Northwest to be a bit dreary. In truth, the second month of the year typically includes many days of grey and rain. Fear not! The antidote to February Glums is the miraculous combination of chocolate and red wines from Washington State.

For the past several years, Olympic Peninsula Wineries have given new meaning to the month of February. We devote two weekends to the delightful combination of red wine and chocolate; locally made chocolates are tasted and paired with our own Washington State Wines. What can we say? “It’s a tough job…”

In 2012, the Red Wine and Chocolate Tour will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends of February 11-12 and February 18-20. We are currently exploring bold new combinations guaranteed to rock your world. Take our word for it–you won’t want to miss this event. Mark your calendars now.

Tickets are not required to attend the Red Wine and Chocolate Tour, but advance tickets do guarantee admittance. The $30 ticket includes admittance to all eight participating wineries (in Port Angeles, Port Townsend, and Chimacum), a commemorative wine glass, and complimentary wine and chocolate tasting at each winery. If you have your ticket stamped at all participating wineries, you’ll be eligible to win a gift basket.

Non-ticketed visitors will be charged a $5.00 wine / chocolate tasting fee at each winery.

The Washington State Wineries of the Olympic Peninsula encourage responsible drinking, and we will not serve or sell wine to any guest who appears intoxicated.

Happy New Year from the Olympic Peninsula

December 30th, 2011

We’d like to extend heartfelt thanks to everyone who visited our Washington State Wineries and Cideries in 2011. Thanks for journeying to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. Thanks for taking the time to visit us, taste our wine and cider, and chat with us about what we do and why we do it. We all love what we do, but the work wouldn’t be nearly so fun if we couldn’t share our wine and cider with you.

We hope to see you again in 2012.

Happy New Year from Olympic Peninsula Wineries!

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Resolution: Be a Locavore

December 21st, 2011

As you review the past year and consider the year to come, we at Olympic Peninsula Wineries would like to encourage you to be a locavore.

This is what being a locavore in Washington State looks like.

We don’t mean to suggest that you should eat and drink only locally produced foods and drinks 100% of the time (though what an accomplishment that would be).   The joys of biting into colorful, juicy Satsumas during grey Pacific Northwest winters are too great to overlook. We do hope you’ll consider the benefits of eating locally: to your health, to the environment, and to your local economy.

This blog is no place for a diatribe, so we’ll keep it short and sweet. Eating locally:

  • keeps your money in your community
  • reduces your carbon footprint
  • tastes and feels good

Those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest are lucky: we can eat a varied diet of foods grown and raised here twelve months a year. We can grow kiwis and tomatoes and greens and berries in our backyards. We can find a wide variety of artisan, farmstead cheeses, free-range chickens, and grass-fed beef at farmers markets. We can eat wild salmon and Hood Canal oysters. We can drink Washington State wine and cider and beer.

In short, eating local in Washington State means eating pretty darn well.

Be kind to yourself in 2012. Be a locavore.

Find Inspiration in Mountains, Forests, and Wine

December 12th, 2011

Winter can feel long in the Pacific Northwest. Endless days of grey ceiling skies can tamp down our souls and dampen our spirits. We sit and watch our creativity sink into the sodden earth with the rain.

That may be a bit melodramatic, but most of us have had days like that, during the winter, here in the Pacific Northwest.

Dungeness Spit

The Dungeness Spit, shrouded in mist and fog; perfect.

We can wallow in it, or we can stand up, brush the moss from our shoulders, and head to the Olympic Peninsula.

It doesn’t matter if the skies are grey when you’re walking through a forest of towering Douglas Firs. It feels like they’ve reached up and tickled the heavens, and that the raindrops are really tears of mirth.

It doesn’t matter if the skies are grey when you’re bent into the wind, walking out on the Dungeness Spit, and the the spray from the Salish Sea jumps up to kiss your cheeks.

It doesn’t matter if the skies are grey when you’re curled up with a good book in a quiet inn, next to the person you love most in the world.

It doesn’t matter if the skies are grey when you’re sitting in a cozy restaurant, with a glass of Washington State Wine or Cider grasped in your hands.

So when you find yourself feeling that the rain has washed away your spunk, come to the Olympic Peninsula. Take a ferry if you must, and stand on the upper decks where the wind will blow some spirit back into you. Find a place to stay. Strap on snow shoes and explore the Olympic Mountains. Put on your rain jacket and head out to the Hoh Rain Forest. Watch a good movie at The Rose Theater in Port Townsend. And after a full day, sit down and drink a glass of Washington State Wine or Cider, made right here, on the Olympic Peninsula.

You’ll feel better.

Hurricane Ridge and Washington Wine

December 5th, 2011

Hurricane Ridge is one of the Olympic Peninsula’s treasures.

Sunny, snowy, Hurricane Ridge.

The summit stands over 5,200 feet above sea level, so the road from Port Angeles heads up and up and up. Once at the top, visitors enjoy amazing views of the interior Olympic Mountains, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and beyond. The view alone is well worth the winding drive.

At this time of year, Hurricane Ridge is covered with snow. There is a small ski and snowboard area well suited to skiers of all levels, and many powdery bowls, steeps and glades open to expert skiers and snowboarders. Folks who normally head to the Cascades may be surprised by all Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area has to offer these days.

For many of us, the best part of winter sports is the Après Ski that begins once the skis and snowboards are securely loaded on the car. We hope that those of you planning to ski at Hurricane Ridge this weekend will stop by Olympic Peninsula Wineries for our annual Holiday Open House. Consider it a fresh twist on an old tradition.

The Holiday Open House takes place from noon to 5 p.m., November 10 and 11, 2011, at all eight of our Olympic Peninsula Wineries and Cideries. Harbinger Winery, Camaraderie Cellars, Black Diamond Winery, and Olympic Cellars are all located in the Port Angeles area. Eaglemount Wine & Cider, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Sorensen Cellars, and FairWinds Winery are located in or outside of Port Townsend. All are perfectly situated for Après Ski wine tasting.

The Holiday Open House is a great time to hand-pick Washington State Wines for holiday parties. It’s also a great time to select wines for gifts. Visiting the individual wineries allows you to taste the wines you normally only look at on the shelf. It’s a fantastic opportunity.

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