Washington's wine industry is finally hitting that age where the kids of the wine pioneers are starting to take hold of the reins, and they're leading the horses and wagon into a new territory.
I think I like this pioneer spirit.
Christophe Hedges, of Hedges Family Estate, and Justin Wylie, of Va Piano Vineyard, event chairs for one of Washington's newest and funkiest wine events, Vinolution, are just part of an expanding movement working to breathe new life into Washington's now well-established place in the world of wine.
Vinolution's second coming will be held Friday, June 22, 2012 from 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm at the West 8th Building in downtown Seattle. The event's website states that it's a "new kind of wine event," and is designed for those who don't necessarily fit into the "swirl, sip and spit set." (It also mentions pairing red wine with juicy cheeseburgers, which, for me, seems an obvious choice. This sounds like my kind of event).
But as if that wasn't good enough, the best part is that the entire production is being pulled together to benefit The Market Foundation, which works to support the Pike Place Market neighborhood's human service agencies for low-income and elderly residents at its Clinic, Senior Center, Food Bank, and Child Care & Preschool.
To find out more about how this wine event differs from others I spoke to Christophe Hedges, son of Tom and Anne-Marie Hedges, who founded the family winery on Red Mountain in the late 1980's.
What sets Vinolution apart immediately, Christophe said, is the location. "The venue is going to be different," he said, with the event being held on a large deck in the middle of downtown Seattle - a "super urban setting" instead of more formal hotel-style events, or the rustic warehouse style venues in Georgetown, SoDo, and Fremont.
Secondly, Hedges said that the wineries, distilleries (yes, there will be booze!) and restaurants taking part in Vinolution have been hand selected for their passion for the geography of Washington, sourcing local ingredients and celebrating the "authenticity of the Northwest."
Among the nearly 20 Washington wineries involved are Dusted Valley, Efeste, Sparkman Cellars, and Mark Ryan Winery (just to name a few). My favorite local distillery, Oola, will be present, as well as Pike Brewing (in case you really need a pint of Kilt Lifter by the end of the night).
Hedges admitted that while the event is being marketed toward younger wine lovers, more seasoned drinkers will still enjoy themselves, perhaps more than their younger counterparts because they've been to more run-of-the-mill events in the past and this one will stand out to them for its quirkiness.
Another aspect of this event that is revolutionary is its modern take on the charity auction idea. Hedges said they're "getting rid of the 'show off' auction idea," in which your peers get to watch you raise your paddle during a live auction or read your name and the winning dollar amount on the silent auction bid list. At Vinolution, auction bids will be made via smart phones, and you'll be texted at the end of the night to let you know if your bid has won or not.
Finally, Hedges said they're keeping the event small and exclusive, with a 200 person max. And you know what that means? It means you need to go buy your tickets! They are available online or by calling 206.236.6167. Reserved tables are available for groups of eight. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up on any new additions to the wine list.
Come out and be a part of Washington's Vinolution on June 22. Viva la Vino!