The lingering days of winter seem easier to bear with all sorts of fun sipping opportunities in the near future:
1. Loads of terrific vintners, distillers, cider makers and brewers will be pouring at Sunday's Seattle Food and Wine Experience at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. More than 20 restaurants will be serving all sorts of savories and sweets. This year's event has turned up the volume on the Experience part of the equation. That includes Seattle magazine's All Things Sweet Chocolate shop featuring producers and artisans and hot sipping chocolate from Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery. Tickets are $55 and are available through Brown Paper Tickets.
2. Let's celebrate the local boom in distilleries at a bash at 5:30 Tuesday at Palace Ballroom. The second annual local distillers cocktail party will feature drinks created around the talents at Bainbridge Distillery, Captive Spirits, Fremont Mischief, Oola Distillery, Project V Distillery, Scrappy’s Bitters, Sound Spirits, Woodinville Whiskey, Sun Liquor. Tommy D's crack catering crew will serve a bunch of swell snackage, offering much-needed ballast, so drinkers don't get too tipsy. Tickets are $35.
3. The Golden Grapes Awards will be hosted by Barking Frog wine director Matt Davis, who invited more than 50 Woodinville wineries to compete this year. On Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m. the general public is invited to join the Woodinville winemakers for a special awards presentation and wine tasting event in the Sammamish Ballroom at Willows Lodge. Tickets to the Golden Grape Awards Ceremony & Tasting are $15 for 15 tastes, if purchased in advance, or $25 at the door.
4. Early bird tickets are on sale now to Passport to Woodinville, one of Washington’s favorite annual wine tasting events. This year’s Passport will be held at participating wineries throughout Woodinville April 20-21, but with a twist. A VIP preview, called RESERVE, an exclusive tasting of top-rated wines will be held Friday, April 12, the week prior to Passport at 7 p.m. at Columbia Winery. That event will feature 90 selections and bites prepared by guest chefs from Woodinville’s Barking Frog, Italianissimo, Pasta Nova, Petit Terroir, Purple Café and Wine Bar and The Station Pizzeria. RESERVE ticket holders will also receive a two-day pass to Passport to Woodinville. RESERVE tickets are $125.
5. Back by popular demand, the Bourbon Bash is returning for its second year at Daniel’s Broiler-Bellevue on Saturday, March 16 at 5 p.m. This one-of-a-kind event will bring bourbon enthusiasts together to sip, sample and savor one of the largest collections of bourbon and rye whiskey west of Kentucky. More than 80 whiskies will be available for sampling along with a small collection of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons, the highest rated whiskies available, including the renowned 20-year-old “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve,” rated 99 by Wine Enthusiast magazine. In addition, Woodford Reserve ‘Four Wood’ bourbon and Col. E.H. Taylor small-batch bourbon will be featured. Experts will be on-hand to answer questions and share the history and stories of the whiskies. General admission is $125 and includes samples, appetizers, a tasting guide and a commemorative tasting glass. VIP admission is $175 and provides an additional hour of tasting and sampling of limited and exclusive bourbons. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 425.990.6310 or emailing email@example.com.
6. 52 craft breweries across Washington state, from Edmonds to Seattle to Yakima, are participating in the Washington Beer Open House, this Sunday, February 23rd. Each brewery will have unique offerings, from rare tastings to food pairings. For a detailed info and list of participating breweries, visit the Washington Beer Commission's website.
7. And, finally, the mother of all tastings, Taste Washington is March 23 and 24. More than 225 wineries will be pouring in the massive Century Link Field Event Center. Fifty restaurants—including 13 James Beard award winners—will be featured. Tickets for the seminars are now on sale, too.