I am just coming to the end of a whirlwind tour of the US – representing Bordeaux and Medoc wines to the great and good of the distribution and education wine world here. Thank-you to everyone who has been kind enough to receive me, listen to me and taste with me over the past few weeks.
We have tasted about 200 Bordeaux wines and that’s just in class. However when school is out I have been doing my best to taste other things and mainly wines from the regions I have been visiting – which hasn’t been a hardship as everyone is more than keen to show what their region produces, or serves.
It started in the Finger Lakes with some delicious Rieslings, then of course some Napa whites and reds, some spectacular Burgundies – I know they are not local but my American wine enthusiasts friends in New York always seem keen to give me a Bordeaux break when they are entertaining! Not to mention some local tequila in the odd margarita in Texas (of course) and even a Klein Constantia in a great pairing with fish at The Sand Bar Fish House in Saint Antonio.
In my obligatory stay in Healdsburg some lovely Pinots from Russian River as well as discovering the beautiful vineyard Wattle Creek Winery who have a great tasting room in San Francisco in case you don’t have time to make it up to Wine country .
Altogether is has been quite a line up.
I had already had a preview of Washington Wines in upstate New York, having been treated to the Walla Walla wines of Gramercy Cellars
(and I thought with a name like that they had to be from Australia!)
When visiting Washington a range of wines particularly caught my attention. I taught class at the South Seattle Community College, home to the North West Wine Academy. The academy was created in 2004 to teach wine making and appreciation to young people starting out on a career in the wine industry.
Still sharing a facility with the welding department (I almost had to wear a helmet to teach class) not only do they teach wine they make it, the students practice what they are taught. From production through marketing to wine and food matching all the students pull together to make their own range of wines. After studying here many go on to learn more about wine at the Wine Science centre at Washington state University, others become wine makers and the school shop proudly displays and sells some of the wines now made by former students.
Washing state is interestingly the USA’s largest state for wine production and the first vines where planted here in 1825 and the industry which currently has over 700 wineries produces $3 billion of wines. Not Microsoft exactly but still a force to be reckoned with.
The success of the wine department is shown by the fact they are relocating and hope to leave the welders next year to move into a purpose built facility of their own. This is however an expensive project so please feel free to support them; buy some of their wine to help finance the project.