With work-from-home being the current reality for most of us, the silver lining is that we can be at our desks (read: couch) from nine-to-wine. And in our comfiest sweatpants at that. Being in quarantine feels like the winter blues, except for the gorgeous spring weather right now. Thank God for the sunny skies, and for technology.
We can’t go out for happy hour right now, but there’s nothing stopping us from drinking glasses of delicious Washington wine on our balconies (or porches, stoops, by the window). Start a happy hour rolling in your neighborhood, and raise your glasses and wave to each other. Or take advantage of technology and video-call your friends with Zoom or Google Duo for a virtual happy hour. Take in gulps of the fresh, springtime air and remind yourself that this is all temporary. Once this is over, you will be out in the sunshine, clinking glasses with your friends.
So while tasting rooms are closed and onsite-winery events are at a halt, for now, the wine industry has come forward with innovative solutions in these trying times. Luckily, wineries are still permitted to offer to-go sales, curbside sales and pick-ups, and deliveries. The best part? It’s not all about selling wine. It’s about creativity and community. It’s about virtual happy hours, that can turn a wine party-for-one into a musical evening with friends. It’s about supporting local businesses, artists and other wineries. It’s about feeding the less fortunate, and about sharing their resources for producing sanitizing products.
We compiled a list of cool (virtual) wine events, sweet vino deals, and community initiatives taken by local Washington wineries. Psst… there’s also a wine cocktail recipe for your inner mixologist.
So bottoms up – because it’s not good to keep things bottled up….
Virtual tastings & online happy hours
- The Red Mountain AVA Alliance recently launched its own Red Mountain Revealed virtual tasting series, bringing the sights and sips of Washington’s acclaimed wine-growing region directly to your living room. Tune in via Facebook (@RedMtnAVA) at 4:00 pm each Thursday in April to join the winemakers, growers, and characters of the Red Mountain AVA for a live broadcast each week with tours, tips, tricks, and tastings. “While we can’t bring folks to Red Mountain today, we hope to bring good wine to your door and inspire a visit later this year,” said Red Mountain AVA Alliance Board President and Winemaker at Hightower Cellars Tim Hightower. “We’re looking forward to connecting virtually, and sharing why we’re excited about the wine we’re making in a place we love.”
- On Thursday, April 16 at 4:00 pm, Chateau Ste. Michelle will be going live on Instagram with Vineyard Manager Kari Smasne. Kari will walk viewers through the Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard in Eastern Washington, sharing the happenings at the vineyard–including Bud Break (the start of the grapevine growing season)!
- On Friday, April 17 at 4:00 pm, 14 Hands Winery will go live on Instagram highlighting the best junk food pairings. Leading up to the event, 14 Hands will ask followers to vote on the pairings of the week, and staff from 14 Hands will try them live on the @14HandsWine Instagram account.
- Thank God It’s Friday! On Friday, April 17, enjoy some foot-tapping music with your glass of red. Northwest Cellars Winery is hosting a virtual TGIF happy hour with musician Anna Ken. Check it out here.
- On Thursday, April 30 at 4:00 pm via Instagram Live Chateau Ste. Michelle and Sarah Tracey, Sommelier and Founder of The Lush Life, will host a virtual ‘Wine Tasting & Pairing 101’ session with Chateau Ste. Michelle’s favorites and easy-to-make at home recipes!
- Pacific Place is offering a virtual happy hour in the form of live music, every Thursday at 5:00 pm.
Treat yourself and others
- Novelty Hill Januik is offering pick-up dinners with suggested wine pairings every Friday. Treat your family to a specially prepared take out dinner every Friday, made fresh in their kitchen. Each week’s menu includes dinner for two (Think Lobster mac-and-cheese!) prepared by winery chef Aaron Grund. It’s comfort food at its best, and the winemakers always have a wine pairings suggestions too, if you’d like to add to your order.
- Been a good samaritan and supported a local business recently? Sleight of Hand, Gorman Winery and Dusted Valley are discounting wine purchases with proof of receipt from a local business.
- During these challenging times, Matthews Winery is providing their customers with many opportunities to stay connected, including free shipping on all orders of 3 bottles or more, curbside pick up 7 days a week, a special 3-pack benefitting Mary’s Place designed to be food-friendly, and family meal boxes for their Wine Club members in partnership with Lagana Foods + Mainstay Provisions. Also, make sure to not miss their #MatthewsAtHome social campaign.
- Chipmonkey Wine is bringing us some much-needed humor and delicious wine during these difficult times. They have a brown box survival wine kit, and will ship it to you or your loved ones for free! You can send a thank you gift to first responders or essential workers. Know a mom of three who is especially bummed out? Send her some much-needed wine with a card that says, ‘So, How’s Homeschooling Going for You?’ for some laughter therapy.
- Here is a comprehensive list of local wineries and breweries offering great deals, deliveries, and curbside pick-ups for you to get your fix of #WAwine
Embrace your inner mixologist
New at-home cocktail recipes
H3 Wines is developing a small collection of spring-inspired cocktail recipes using H3 Sauvignon Blanc. These light, refreshing cocktails are delicious and can be easily made at home, whether just you’re enjoying an evening to yourself or bringing them to your next virtual happy hour with friends. The first of the collection is included below, a White Wine Sangria, created by Sarah Tracey, Sommelier and Founder of The Lush Life.
Refreshing White Wine Sangria
- 1/2 to 1/3 cup of simple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
- 8 basil leaves, muddled
- Zest of one orange, in strips
- 1 bottle chilled H3 Sauvignon Blanc
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, strained
- Chilled club soda
- 5 thin orange slices for garnish
- Combine simple syrup, orange zest, and muddled basil. Stir.
- In a pitcher, add H3 Sauvignon Blanc, Grand Marnier, and orange juice. Strain the zest strips and basil before adding the simple syrup to the mixture as well. Stir.
- Pour the sangria into ice-filled glasses and top with club soda. Garnish each drink with an orange slice and extra basil leaf and share it (virtually) with a friend.
Charitable initiatives and hand-sanitizing support
- It isn’t just about wine needs during these times, like so many other food and beverage companies who are looking for ways to help, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates teamed up with Glass Vodka in Seattle to help produce hand sanitizer at their Canoe Ridge Estate in Washington. Winemaker Leah Adint says, “From the winemaking material we are producing, Glass Distillery can produce at least 450 gallons of hand sanitizer. We’ve essentially changed our production focus right now to assist in this effort and our entire team is really proud to help the community in some small way during this challenging time.”
- Goose Ridge Estate Vineyards has repurposed a portion of their manufacturing for hand and surface sanitizer. They have been distilling their bulk wine grape juice to create hand and surface sanitizer. They are distilling the juice to 190 proof and making the product available to health care providers as well as consumers and they are offering delivery.
- Buty Winery sold a few barrels of wine to a local distiller, who will be distilling the wines for first responders and use in local healthcare sanitation.
- DeLille Cellars is donating 50% of sales from its 2016 D2 Heart Label to the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund and Lifewire.
- Betz Family Winery is donating $5 from every bottle of Betz Family wine sold to The Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
- Novelty Hill-Januik Winery is donating 100 freshly prepared meals each Wednesday to Hopelink, a Redmond-based social service agency.