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Kicking off over the long Valentine's/Presidents Day weekend, the Annual Red Wine & Chocolate Tour takes place on Feb. 13-15 and Feb. 20-21.
Ten artisan wineries and cideries ranging from Chimacum to Port Angeles are to be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to treat visitors to a truly indulgent experience.
In addition to the much anticipated new red wine releases paired with sweet and savory chocolate delights, some wineries are adding new white wine releases to the mix.
The tour features a number of new activities in which visitors are encouraged to engage. Among them are Olympic Cellars’ Love Lock Fence and the winery’s Gallery of Love, featuring local art; FairWinds Winery’s pirate photo booth and dueling chocolate fountains; Alpenfire Cider demonstration of the traditional champagne-making process; and Harbinger Winery’s gourmet s’mores bar. Several wineries are to offer special VIP tastings, giving visitors an opportunity to better refine their palates, and live music is performed at Sequim’s Wind Rose Cellars after the tour.
Visitors are invited to bring back their stamped tour ticket on a non-event weekend for one free tasting per winery.
Here is a rundown of all that awaits visitors at participating Jefferson County wineries and cideries.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery in Chimacum invites visitors to enjoy a sip of its seasonal Love & Bubbles cocktail, featuring Finnriver’s succulent raspberry brandywine and award-winning méthode champenoise artisan sparkling cider. Samples of its aged Black Oak cider is also be offered, along with cacao brandy wine and a special-release red currant "Liberry” wine. Tarts by Crust Bakery are to be served hot out of the wood-fired oven, and local chocolatier Elevated Candy offers its custom truffles created with select Finnriver brandy wines.
Marrowstone Vineyards on Marrowstone Island offers its new release "Black Dog” barbera with owner/winemakers Ken and Judith Collins’ rescue dog, Ginger, gracing the label. Ten percent of the proceeds from this red wine are donated to the Humane Society of Jefferson County. Marrowstone’s featured chocolatier is Port Townsend Chocolate Company. The winery plans to pair dark chocolate with its barbera and pinot noir, and white chocolate with its riesling and gewürztraminer.
Lullaby Winery in Port Townsend presents tastes of its newly released “Morning Light,” a unique nutty white wine served with a white chocolate and sea salt almond butter lollipop. This is followed by the Rouge de Virginie, a fruity and delicious blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon, and Lullaby’s other newly released dessert red wine, "Carbon,” made with grenache noir. This is paired with a dark chocolate and cherry cupcake. The winery hosts a separate reserve tasting that features the 2010 "Lalayee" and the 2010 syrah. For $10, visitors can taste wines that are produced in very limited quantities.
Port Townsend’s FairWinds Winery features not one, but two giant chocolate fountains. Two new wines are offered for pairing with the chocolate: Captain’s Port O’Call and The Captain’s Lady raspberry liquor. For an extra $10 tasting fee, visitors can indulge in a vertical tasting of three Champoux Vineyards cabernets.
Alpenfire Cider, also in Port Townsend, is uncorking its new release of “Cinders.” That release is served with a dark chocolate truffle from Good Food Award–winning Arrowhead Chocolates of Wallowa, Oregon. Hot Cakes of Seattle, another Good Food Award winner, provides samples of its molten cakes with a special vinegar caramel sauce made with Alpenfire vinegar. This cake is paired with the earthy, darkly sweet Ember Bittersweet cider. The cidery also serves its Apples & Chocolate Martini, made with Dungeness cider and chocolate liquor, and Pirate's Plank Bone Dry Cider.
Eaglemount Wine & Cider, now in its new tasting room in the historic Palindrome just outside of Port Townsend, pours new releases of red wines, ciders and a special apple wine. Those are paired with chocolates and caramels by Chocolate Serenade of Sequim.
Tour tickets are $40 and include wine and chocolate tastings at all 10 wineries/cideries, plus a souvenir wine glass. Purchase tickets online at opwredwineandchocolate.eventbrite.com or at any participating winery. Independently, each winery charges a $7 tasting fee per person. For additional information, visit olympicpeninsulawineries.org.