To the Land of Many Rivers!
With every trip we make along the Washington wine trail, it is further reinforced that the wine industry, as far as it’s come and as young as it still is, is one of the most exciting to be a part of. It’s hardly a wonder that that the substance Galileo Galilee once called “sunshine held together by water” can power such a passionate group of producers, growers, merchants and, of course, the consumers. Even amid a recession.
Hey, that’s you!
One year ago, in June of 2008, something remarkable happened. A new magazine hit the stands. This magazine. WINO Magazine.
The story of WINO isn’t altogether different than that of many upstarts. The evolution is one of paper types. What is now a comprehensive, didactic, bi-monthly publication on sleek, glossy FSC-approved paper stock, existed on about fifty pages of all-purpose 8.5×11” copy paper in the form of a business plan until just a year ago, which in turn can trace its lineage back just a few months to a wine-soaked, ink-tagged cocktail napkin—the whiteboard of sudden inspiration.
We are frequently asked, with ostensibly genuine curiosity, how WINO came about. The inquiry often dons the unsavory but amused tone that bespeaks the real question, “Are you out of your friggin’ minds?” In an age where print media seems to be falling by the wayside (if you listen to the naysayers who are putting all their eggs in a basket of interwebs), why would we decide to publish a magazine?
Spring Release is what we’ve been waiting for since, well, last spring
It’s that crazy, butterflies-in-the-gut time of year. The sun is starting to show itself on a more frequent basis, you can occasionally go outside without a jacket, sidewalk seating outside cafés and bars is starting to look more attractive, and tax season is almost over. There’s that awkward feeling that we shouldn’t be so vigilantly posted in front of computer monitors, that we should get out, maybe walk instead of drive, and play “Name That Tune” with the songs in our hearts. What could be better than that? Spring releases and barrel tastings, that’s what.
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor slow…
Recently, an acquaintance asked us, “So, since you’ve been into this wine thing, have you collected lots of wine paraphernalia?” Asking her what she meant, the mind immediately rested on the empty wine bottles collecting like lint on kitchen counters, waiting silently to be put to rest in the recycling bin. She clarified, referring to antique silver wine-tasting cups, corkscrews, glass tags, et al. Hmmm… The short answer was, “No.” Hell, we can’t even seem to cellar any wines, let alone accumulate a bunch of collectible accessories. That’s not to say that an antique tasting cup or some such bauble isn’t marvy in its own right. If we were to devote time to collections, there are worse things that could gather dust in our apartments than pewter tasting spoons or a wrought iron bottle holders. These trinkets, we suppose, are the equivalent of custom cell phone jackets and clever bumper stickers, a way to embellish something one loves. But, for us, it’s all about the wine.
A wino is as a wino does, you know.
Some people may never get it. And that’s OK. Some people will never get the idea that WINO was created not to help you acknowledge Washington wine culture, on the sidelines looking on as wineries pop up all over the state and tasting events happen every day in public and private settings, but to encourage you to become Washington wine culture.
Being a wino is not without its responsibilities. It goes beyond the bottle. Being a wino is not buying and drinking wine more than the guy next to you. It’s about developing a discerning palate, learning about what it is you like, and meeting those who help facilitate that hedonism. It’s about paying attention to your wine, learning about what brought it to fruition, so to speak, visiting the wineries, and sharing the love with those around you.
Go ahead, you know you want to.
Now that Labor Day has passed, you may have had to trade in your white pants for the ecru, but no one will tell you that you can’t still enjoy countless bottles of white wine. As the summer heads into its final stages, we’ve turned our attention to some of the amazing whites in Washington State. And not just the Chardonnays, Rieslings and Viogniers, either. According to the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers, there’s been a sixty percent increase in the production of lesser-known white varietals. White wine, obscure varietals, where else would we turn than Western Washington for a taste of that dangerous juice?
Recently, on a trip to Red Mountain, we stopped in at the tasting room of Fidélitas. On one of their brochures, we noticed the phrase, “It’s Just Wine.” Odd, considering Fidélitas makes some of the most impressive wines in the state. But, it’s a perfect philosophy, and one that we share. While there’s tradition, education, dedication, sweat and love poured into each bottle of wine, the end result is a beverage that just damned enjoyable. The more you learn about wine, the more pleasurable it becomes, but the fact remains that there is nothing intimidating about wine. Drink the juice, have fun with it…the rest will follow.
Wine Growing Regions Stake Their Claims
By Doug Haugen
When I visit my local wine shops, I peruse the wine selection, torn between buying something I know I like, and trying something I’ve never had before. I look at interesting labels, names of wineries, varietals, and yes, appellations. Among AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), we see all the competition that we see in professional wrestling fandom. (Yes, I did it, I used a pseudo-sports metaphor. Apologies all around.) From the colossal, veteran Columbia Valley to the skillful but rookie Wahluke Slope. And then there are those just waiting to get into the ring with the big boys. Among those are Columbia Cascade, and more imminent, Chelan.
You picked it up. You really just picked up a magazine called “WINO.” Well, why not? You’re likely the same as us, you just don’t know it yet. Don’t be afraid—embrace it.
After a little market research, control groups, and copious amounts of wine, we chose such an irreverent name for our publication to “break the ice,” if you will, aiding in the mission to further demystify wine and return our esteemed readers to the unabashed enjoyment of the juice, unintimidated by point systems, industry jargon, and incomprehensible wine lists presented by ma?tre d’s with white towels draped over their arm.