Taste Washington adds magnum event in Chihuly Glasshouse

By on February 25, 2014
The Chihuly Garden and Glasshoue played host to the closing event of the Chateau Ste. Michelle's 2013 Riesling Rendezvous.

The Glasshouse at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle played host to the farewell reception for Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Riesling Rendezvous in 2013. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

SEATTLE — Taste Washington festivities begin earlier in the week this year with the Red and White Party, a new high-end consumer event in the Glasshouse at Chihuly Garden and Glass featuring magnums poured by more than 20 of the state’s top producers.

The inaugural Taste Washington Magnum Party is Thursday, March 27, at Seattle Center. Catering will be headed up by Collections Café chef Ivan Szilak, and the food and wine will be accompanied by live music.

red-white-party-magnum-logoA ticket costs $195, which includes a gratuity of $27.12, and is available online at the Chihuly Garden and Glass website.

Magnums of both red and white wines will be poured for three hours starting at 7 p.m. The list of wineries includes Andrew Will, Avennia, Baer, Betz Family Winery, Cadence, Charles Smith Wines, Col Solare, Corliss Vineyard, Côte Bonneville, DeLille Cellars, Doubleback, Dunham Cellars, Figgins Family, Gorman Winery, Januik, L’Ecole No 41, Leonetti Cellar, Mark Ryan Winery, Sparkman Cellars, Spring Valley Vineyard, and Woodward Canyon.

“I am excited about the new Red & White Party!” Côte Bonneville winemaker Kerry Shiels told Great Northwest Wine. “The Chihuly Glasshouse is a beautiful setting for these special, hard-to-find wines. It promises to be a more intimate setting for the best of Taste Washington. My mom (Kathy) will be pouring for Côte Bonneville, and we will be featuring our Chardonnay and the 2004 Côte Bonneville Estate from our library.”

The wines were selected by Chihuly Garden and Glass, according to Kauilani Robinson, public relations manager of Visit Seattle, which is orchestrating the Red & White Party.

Chris Sparkman, chair of the Washington State Wine Commission and winemaker for Sparkman Cellars, is credited with creating the concept.

“He was the brains behind this event,” Robinson said. “He had the idea to do a magnum event that would help grow Taste WA, and this is the first event outside of the weekend to do that.”

Tickets for Taste Washington’s public tastings and seminars March 29-30  are now available at several Puget Sound wine shops, including Arista Wine Cellars (Edmonds), Compass Wines (Anacortes), McCarthy & Schiering Wine Merchants (Queen Anne and Ravenna), Pete’s Wine Shop (Bellevue, Seattle and Mill Creek) and The Grape Choice (Kirkland).

'A Tower' is the featured display within the Sealife Room of the Chihuly Garden and Glasshouse exhibit at Seattle Center.

‘A Tower’ is the featured display within the Sealife Room of the Chihuly Garden and Glasshouse exhibit at Seattle Center. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

As of Friday, 205 wineries and 71 restaurants were scheduled to participate in the two-day event — billed as the largest of its kind in the country — at CenturyLink Field Center.

Chihuly’s glass work and friendship with then-Ste. Michelle CEO Allen Shoup led to the development of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Artist Series, which was launched with the 1993 vintage using images of Chihuly art on the labels of the red Meritage-style blend.

Chihuly, 72, grew up near Tacoma’s University of Puget Sound but attended the University of Washington, where he graduated in 1965 with a degree in interior design. He went on to earn a master’s of science in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin, home to the country’s first glass program. Chihuly later helped establish a glass program at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he taught for more than decade, according to his website.

The concept of teams blowing glass was introduced to him during a fellowship in Venice, Italy, and in 1971, Chihuly returned to his home state to help launch the Pilchuk Glass School in Stanwood. His acclaimed work inspired the creation of the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, which opened in 2002.

The Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, a LEED Silver-certified project, opened May 21, 2012. Last summer, it played host to the farewell reception of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Riesling Rendezvous.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the President and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for a decade. He is a frequent wine judge at international wine competitions throughout North America and orchestrates 10 Northwest competitions each year.

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