Taste Washington, Seattle’s premier wine and food event, reported its highest overall attendance in 2016; both in event participants, and also for participating restaurants and wineries. The 19th annual event took place March 31-April 3 at various venues throughout Seattle and the region and drew more than 6,400 people over the course of four days.
Taste Washington 2016 by the numbers:
- Overall attendance: 6,439
- Grand Tasting attendance: 5,258
- Wineries at Grand Tasting: 237
- Wines poured: 700
- Number of oysters shucked: 575 dozen
The annual event’s continued growth and success can be attributed to each year’s new and exciting series of events celebrating the state’s renowned artisans and vintners, from exclusive cocktail-style parties to unique epicurean excursions and educational seminars. This year, Taste Washington introduced the first ever Best Bite award at the Grand Tasting. Participants were able to vote for their favorite culinary bite from one of the 66 Pacific Northwest restaurants, 19 of which were new this year. The inaugural winner, out of more than 2,100 votes, was Swiftwater Cellars’ duck confit on a wonton chip, topped with an Asian plum sauce.
The weekend kicked off with a beautiful Seattle sunset and red and white cocktail attire at the third annual Red & White Party at AQUA by El Gaucho featuring exclusive pours from 25 wineries. In its second year, Taste Washington on the Farm boasted three epicurean, interactive excursions allowing participants to get mud on their boots and learn more about Washington’s farm-to-table culinary culture. Designed for up-and-coming wine enthusiasts, The New Vintage served up cocktail-party vibes with eight celebrity chef stations, 45 wineries, DJ Tina T and a rosé lounge. This year’s educational seminars, led by panels of top wine critics and sommeliers, included in-depth and interactive discussion of topics ranging from King Cab! to Riesling on the Rise.
The Alaska Airlines Chef’s Stage brought celebrity chefs and special guests including Chef Thierry Rautureau, known as the Chef in the Hat which drew large crowds for live cooking demonstrations. This year’s demonstrations were led by Chef Ryan Burnett of Muckleshoot Casino, Chef Jason Stratton of Mamnoon, Chef Aarti Sequeira Host of Food Network’s Aarti Party, Food & Wine’s Best New Chef in 2012 Chef Jenn Louis of Lincoln Restaurant + Sunshine Tavern, Chef Sarah Scott of El Gaucho Bellevue, Brad Robinson of Stella Artois and Chef Debi Hernandez of Crisp Creperie food truck.
Taste Washington is produced by Visit Seattle in partnership with Washington State Wine. To learn more, visit www.tastewashington.org.