Talk about a successful fund raiser.
The Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center's 11th Annual Winter Wine Gala sold out early for the Saturday event. And the noise meter clearly indicated those attending had fun.
Maybe they were gearing up for their 12th man roles for the Super Bowl. My throat was raw from shouting to people right next to me.
About 300 people jammed into the museum main floor to sip award-winning wines from 16 North Central Washington wineries, taste luscious appetizers from seven restaurants and food vendors and judge dozens of pieces of art in the museum's first NCW Juried Art Show.
Live music was supplied by four excellent groups, but unfortunately, it was hard to fully appreciate over the din of lively chatter. The event struck me as the art-and-wine-lovers' version of a Facebook birthday party. Noisy, crowded and too brief for meaningful conversation, but a heck of a lot of fun in a mass connection with Wenatchee's finest.
It was a big night for Susan Kidd. She poured wine for the winery she and her husband Alan Moen own, Snowgrass Winery in Entiat. She also helped pouring for Stemilt Creek Winery. She was so busy pouring wine she at first didn't hear that her three art pieces were picked as the best entries in the Juried Art Show. Kidd said she just completed a novel in which the main character is an artist. She painted the three large semi-abstract canvases to help her realize the character, she said.
Second prize went to Wenatchee artist Niki Stewart for her abstract tryptich in blue. Ron McGaughey of Manson placed third.
It wasn't hard to find a wine to like with more than 30 to choose from. My personal favorites were the 2008 Fielding Hills Syrah and the 2008 Jones of Washington Super Tuscan. Both were really outstanding. Also tasting very well were 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon from 37 Cellars, Cave B Winery's 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2011 Sauvignon Blanc and Beaumont Cellars 2011 Syrah. I heard rave reviews from others for Esther Bricques Winery's 2012 Chardonnay and Malaga Springs Vineyard 2011 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.
The food was fantastic, highlighted by Visconti's co-owner Dan Carr carving a leg of prosciutto from Cured, the Leavenworth charcuterie and cheese shop also owned by Visconti's. Another hit were the exotically spicy ahi tuna poke appetizers served by Karma Vineyards and 18 Brix Restaurant chef Brant Davis Jones.
I capped the fun evening with a flute of Karma Vineyard's excellent 2009 Methode Champenoise Brut sparkling wine. It was a boisterously grand night but I was ready to head home for some quiet time.