By Kelly Moyer
CLARK COUNTY — Want to keep your Thanksgiving celebration going through the extended holiday weekend? Wineries across Southwest Washington will host their annual Thanksgiving weekend Barrel Tasting and New Releases event from noon to 6 p.m., Fri.-Sun., Nov. 25-27.
The three-day wine tour gives southwest Washington residents and visitors a chance to check out some of the area’s best wineries and experience a day in the life of a winemaker.
The Barrel Tasting event “is a peek at ‘wine in process,’” according to the Southwest Washington Winery Association (SWWA). “Winemakers taste their wines periodically to ‘check-in,’ make decisions about blending and determine whether a wine is ready for bottling.”
Wineries and tasting rooms throughout Clark County will open their doors for the three-day event, and allow visitors to participate in the barrel-tasting process.
“You may or may not like what you taste, but you will learn something!” the SWWA promises.
Southwest Washington is an up-and-coming wine region, with a 1-year-old wine association and nearly two dozen family-owned, boutique wineries and vineyards.
According to the SWWA, the North Bank region between the Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains, which includes much of Clark County, has a climate and soil-type similar to the famous Burgundy region of France, which has produced some of the world’s best wineries.
This region, SWWA says, “excels at growing traditional European grapes such as Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay, as well as lesser-known varietals like Golubok, Marechal-Foch, and Zweigelt-Rebe.”
The Thanksgiving Weekend Barrel Tasting event is happening throughout Clark County, at tasting rooms and wineries in Battle Ground, Ridgefield, Vancouver and Yacolt.
Following are a few highlights, but be sure to check out the entire line-up of participating wineries and tasting rooms — and take a look at the interactive Google map showing you where all of the wineries are located — at www.swwawine.com.
English Estates Winery: Vancouver’s first vineyard and winery is located on the old English Farm at 17806 SE 1st St., between 192nd and 164th avenues in east Vancouver.
The winery will host a barrel tasting and new release tasting Nov. 25-27, and will also be pouring wines from Rezabek Vineyards, also of Clark County, at the holiday weekend event. Expect to taste the only Cabernet Sauvignon grown west of the Cascades as well as the winery’s perennial favorite, a 2016 Raspberry Delight.
The winery also will barrel taste a 2016 Pinot Gris and will offer visitors a “vertical tasting” — tastings of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 versions of the same wine — of a Pinot Noir that uses grapes grown at the English Estates vineyard.
English Estates is open all year to the public and holds tastings in the Loafing Shed, located in the winery’s historic, 1915 red barn. For more information, visit www.englishestatewinery.com.
Moulton Falls Winery: Located along the railroad tracks in Yacolt, at 31101 NE Railroad Ave., the Moulton Falls Winery produces wines and ciders using grapes sourced from the Red Mountain, Yakima Valley and Columbia Valley AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in Eastern Washington and apples also grown in Washington State.
The Yacolt winery will celebrate the Thanksgiving Weekend with barrel tastings and new releases from noon to 6 p.m., Fri., Nov. 25 through Sun., Nov. 27, as well as with music on Friday and Saturday nights, Nov. 25 and 26, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Friday night, Harvest Gold, a Neil Young tribute band featuring musician Richie Bean, will perform. On Saturday night, it’s Abbey Roadster, a Beatles tribute band. For more information about the Yacolt winery, visit www.moultonfallswinery.com.