We’ve been promoting the Aug. 10 North Central Wine Awards for several weeks, but I don’t want all that “buy your tickets now” stuff to get in the way of what this event is all about.
First, some history. In February 2011, when we started Foothills magazine, our full-glossy, bimonthly lifestyle magazine, its simple mission was to celebrate where we live.
There is much to celebrate, as we all know. The magazine has featured many, many of our outdoor marvels, our arts, our people and more.
We also, logically, knew our fast-growing wine industry would be a regular part of the magazine. Winemaking encompasses many things, including agriculture, business, tourism, art and a unique experience for each consumer.
As the number of wineries has grown in North Central Washington, so too has the quality of those wines, and the competition for attention and customers.
In fact, many of our wineries are now gaining national and international recognition for the wines they produce. Around their wines, wineries have built tasting rooms, restaurants and other amenities that have made wine an addition to our region’s attractiveness as a tourist destination.
It is a big and growing business that also adds to our cultural flavor.
So in 2011, we decided it would be great to find a way to recognize the outstanding wines being produced in Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties and give them more of the exposure they deserve.
The North Central Washington Wine Awards was born. Well, the idea of holding a wine judging and awards ceremony was born. It turns out there was a lot to it we had to learn as we went along.
Fortunately, Annette Pitts was on our staff and used her experience and extensive skills to show that we actually could do such a thing.
Among other things, she worked with wineries on entering, with Wine Press Northwest on the judging, signed up sponsors and planned, marketed and organized our awards ceremony.
It all went amazingly well and has grown each year since as more wineries enter and pour their award-winning wines.
Now, after judging earlier this summer, we’re ready to honor the winners for 2013 at a new venue, the Town Toyota Center.
In this bigger facility we have a lot more room and the expertise of the TTC staff to work with.
Thus, in addition to at least 33 wineries pouring, we’ll have distilleries and breweries pouring, numerous establishments serving food, live music and more.
It is going to be big and we’re expecting great attendance. All the wine, food and everything else is included in the $40 ticket price. The only additional cost will be if you want to buy any bottles of the award-winning wines. Those sales will be handled by the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center to benefit the museum.
Our goal from the start has been to bring recognition to our great wineries. That has worked out very well and it also has served as a way to bring our winemakers together each year to socialize.
If you’re interested in attending, you can purchase tickets online at ncwwineawards.com or at the front desk of The Wenatchee World.