CASHMERE — Calling all amateur winemakers: It’s not too early to start thinking about entering your wines in this year’s Çhelan County Fair. The deadline for submitting wines is Aug. 26. The fair is Sept. 8-11.
After a pause last year, fair directors are ready to stage another attempt at an amateur wine competition to showcase what hobbyists and home winemakers can do with one of the state’s most renown crops. Washington is second in the nation behind California in wine grape production.
This year the competition will be held and the wines displayed in the same building reserved for commercial wine booths — 17 North Central Washington wineries have reserved space. There will aslo be wine tasting and a wine garden, where fair-goers can purchase local wines — the commercial ones, not the amateur entries — by the glass or bottle, said Doug Bergstrom, the fair’s events co-director. One of the Cashmere fairgrounds’ largest buildings, the Auditorium Building next to the rodeo grounds, has been reserved for wine displays that will educate as well as entertain fairgoers about the region’s thriving wine industry, he said. Bergstrom said the commercial wine displays themselves will be judged and awarded ribbons based on their creativity and success in offering information, similar to how grange displays have in the past. Amateur wines and their awards will also be on display in a protected display case.
Any amateur winemaker can enter the amateur competition, but wines have to be made with 100 percent Washington grapes. There is no entry fee. Classes include reds and whites in sweet, dry and Niagara styles as well as sparkling wines and various fruit wines. Wines will be judged on color, clarity, bouquet, flavor and finish. Complete information about how to enter amateur wines and entry forms are in Chelan County Fair guide, available at the fairgrounds and many local businesses.
For more information, call Bergstrom at 669-0993 or Bruce Thorn at 662-9444. Entry forms are available at the fairgrounds or at Valley Feed Store, 735 N. Wenatchee Ave.
This story originally appeared as a blog entry in Winemaker’s Journal: www.wenatcheeworld.com/weblogs/winemakers-journal
Rick Steigmeyer: 664-7151