WENATCHEE — You’re strolling Wenatchee Avenue, doing a bit of casual window shopping, when you’re bonked by the overwhelming urge for a sip or two of, say, Jones of Washington’s 2010 Viognier. Heck, it could happen to anyone.
You’re in luck. The Wenatchee Valley Visitors Bureau just opened a spanking new wine-tasting room at the core of the city’s commercial area — and guess what? Jones of Washington is one of eight featured wineries offering tastes and bottles of some of their top vintages.
“As far as we know, this is only the second tasting room installed in an official visitors bureau in the state,” said Roger Clute, the WVVB’s executive director. The first was in Yakima. “So we’re happy to be on the cutting edge of wine promotion.”
Yep, that’s right. Opened Friday, the tasting room is right there in the visitors bureau’s downtown storefront location. There’s a bar, racks chock-full of wines and — at the center — a snazzy, four-bottle, computerized wine dispenser that measures the perfect sip, from one to four ounces. The dispenser also keeps wine in an uncorked bottle fresh for up to 60 days. As if it would last that long.
It’s worth noting that this $4,000 machine replaces air with argon gas to reduce oxidation. It also provides exact by-the-ounce measurements to limit servings to four ounces per customer per day. After all, it’s called a tasting room, not a guzzling room.
“We’re offering local wineries an inexpensive and efficient way to market their products in downtown Wenatchee,” said Clute. The facility is a partnership of the WVVB, the eight wineries and Wenatchee Wine Country, a local wine marketing group.
Featured wineries include Jones of Washington, Quincy; Crayelle Cellars, Cashmere; Horan Estates Winery, Cashmere; Snowdrift Cider Co., East Wenatchee; Stemilt Creek Winery, Leavenworth; Malaga Springs Winery, Malaga; Saint Laurent Estate Winery, Malaga; and Chateau Faire Le Pont, Wenatchee.
“It puts local wines and wineries in front of tourists who might not know about our region’s wine industry,” Clute added. “Our surveys show that wine tourism is a growth market in the overall tourism industry. And what better way to tell people about our wines than with a sample?”
Details: Wenatchee Valley Visitors Bureau wine-tasting room, 5 S. Wenatchee Ave., Suite 100. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Tastings are $4 for four ounces. Bottle prices range from $12 to $25. For more info, call 1-800-572-7753 or visit wenatcheevalley.org.