Seattle Wine & Food Experience 2012
February 8, 2012 by Doug Haugen
Bringing wine front and center
In 1985, Kraft ran a television commercial featuring Annie and two other enthusiastic kids who called up Kraft Company on the phone to suggest that their Macaroni & Cheese dinner should be called Kraft Cheese & Macaroni instead, because it tastes the cheesiest. While Kraft has maintained the name of their cheesy dinner, these consumer-conscious kids might have been on to something. Just a slight tweak of a brand name would get what the product is most known for out to the forefront.
Fast-forward to 2012 in Seattle, Washington, where a rebranding could have been taken right out of little Annie’s coloring book. The event we’ve come to look forward to each year, the Seattle Food & Wine Experience, has undergone a subtle rebranding of its own; this year the event has begun to be called the Seattle Wine & Food Experience. It makes perfect sense, because while the savory vittles served up by masters of the craft at this event are invariably brow-raisers, they are enjoyed in the context of wine–lots and lots of wine.
On February 26, the New and Improved! Seattle Wine & Food Experience will arrive on the scene at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Well over one hundred wineries will pack into the exhibition hall to pour their juice for attendees. While we tend to seek out the Washington wineries at these shindigs (there will be over forty at SWFE!), this year’s event will have an educational focus on the Oregon wine region.
Oregon: It ain’t just Pinot anymore. Oh, don’t fret; you’ll get to try plenty of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc from the state that has hung its hat on these blends. But, you’ll also get to taste Chardonnays, Rieslings, Zinfandels, Cabernet Sauvignons, Cab Francs, Müller-Thurgaus, Viogniers, Syrahs, and Malbecs. Not only will there be more than thirty Oregon wineries represented at SWFE, but the Oregon Wine Board will be in the house as an exhibitor to talk to you about the exciting world of Oregon wines. Like our own Washington Wine Commission, The Oregon Wine Board is tasked with the development of the wine industry in their state, and coordinating the marketing efforts of Oregon wineries. If you’ve got your eye on Oregon (if you don’t now, you will), here is your chance to get in the know.
Still not enough wine? Scads of wineries from California, Idaho and International wineries will round out the mind-boggling selection. Need more? How about a dozen brewers and fifteen distilleries? I caution you, you’ll have a mere five hours, five wonderful hours, to taste all you can.
Of course, there’s a delicious way to increase your longevity. Twenty chefs, twenty-five local fooderies and an array of specialty food purveyors will be sampling their nosh during the event. If you’re a foodie, you could easily attend the Seattle Wine and Food Experience just for the food. If you’re a wino like we are, you’ll appreciate the small bites as a complement to all the wine and other beverages you’ll be sampling throughout the afternoon. Wine and food go together like love and marriage.
Tickets for SWFE are just $49 in advance. The price of admission is all-inclusive and comes with a souvenir wine glass for you to keep. This is a steal considering I can spend that much in just a couple of hours at a local wine bar without even looking at the food menu, and even my favorite haunts don’t offer this kind of wine selection by the glass-pour. And, while I’m glad that my dollar goes to great local proprietors when I spend a typical night out, I’m particularly glad that the proceeds from ticket sales for the Seattle Wine and Food Experience, by partnering with the Giving Grapes Foundation, will be going to a charity called Big Table, whose mission is “to transform lives by creating community around shared meals for those in the restaurant and hospitality industry and offering practical and personal support to those who are struggling, falling through the cracks, or in transition.”
I can’t wait until this year’s Seattle Wine & Food Experience. Put it on your calendar, and get your tickets early. And as for Annie, who made her branding pitch to Kraft twenty-eight years ago, call us and we’ll tell you how it worked.