From SeaTac to Lake Chelan: it’s time for WBC13!

After flying in on June 1 and a whirlwind weekend of 3:15 experiment poetry events in Seattle, I’m writing a paper then moving full blast into wine blogging mode! On Tuesday, after a quick trip to Woodinville home of westside tasting rooms for wines grown on the east side of the Cascades, wine writing and blogging gals like Wine Julia, Wine Hooch, Travel Wine Chick, Wild Celtic Rose and I will gather on the rooftop patio of Janice Van Cleve, former President of the Wine Society of Seattle for wine and conversation. Then Wednesday, Wine Julia, Wine Hooch, Travel Wine Chick and I plus 100 or so fellow bloggers will board buses at SEA-Tac for a pre-conference excursion to the Lake Chelan Valley on way up to the Blogger’s Conference in Penticton.

On the bus, there will be box lunches and beverages for everyone from
Blueacre Seafood in Seattle ( –I had such a hard time deciding between the WINDSOR COURT & DUNGENESS CRABMEAT SALAD (apple smoked bacon | tomato | avocado | red onions | bleu cheese| hard-boiled egg | lorenzo dressing) the HEART OF ROMAINE CAESAR SALAD (grilled draper valley farms chicken breast | charred lemon dressing | fennel croutons | parmesa) or the HEIRLOOM BEET SALAD (arugula | maytag bleu cheese | pickled onions | grain mustard vinaigrette. Hold the onions please! rio-winery-plane-bottle

It’s going to take us about three hours to drive over the Cascades to the Lake Chelan AVA but every minute on that bus will be worth it! (And fortunately, there are bathrooms on the bus! The last bus I took –from Seattle to WBC10 in Walla Walla–did not!)

Once there, we’ll enjoy a reception at Rio Vista Winery, a riverside winery with stunning gardens and sandy beach. There, we’ll have the option of a

  Seaplane Tour of Lake Chelan!!! Of course I said sign me up!!

Next is a  Grand Tasting at Tsillan Cellars, a Tuscan Villa restaurant overlooking Lake Chelan and then a 4-Course Italian Dinner at Sorrento’s Restaurant in Tsillan Cellars Winery. tsillan cellars

On Thursday June 6th, we start with Brunch and Bubbly Tasting at Karma Vineyards with a vineyard tour and a walk through this lakeside vineyard. Then we will break up into five groups for one of these five excursions–which one do YOU think I should choose?

Karma Vineyards

Organizers say: “Karma Vineyards established itself as the first Methode Champenoise house in the Lake Chelan AVA and proud to be part of only a handful in Washington State. With an abundance of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growing on site and the recent investment in state of the art machinery to make sparkling in the true French tradition, Karma Vineyards is bringing their vision to life and helping define Lake Chelan as the next truly great sparkling region. Meet owners Julie and Bret Pittsinger and tour the million dollar production facility and deepen your knowledge of making sparkling in the true French tradition.” Paired with appetizers.

Vin du Lac Winery

Organizers say: “Vin du Lac has always had a reputation among its fans as a top producer of Cabernet Francs, since Owner/winemaker Larry Lehmbecker is an aficionado of the variety and has had great success with it. He believes that Washington State is one of the best places in the world to grow Cabernet Franc as it achieves a wide variety of expression here, from typically bright, high acid northern-French stylings to uniquely dark and even massive wines that nonetheless remain distinctly recognizable as Cabernet Franc. Under the winery’s new Lehmbecker label, Vin du Lac has begun producing several very limited bottlings of single vineyard Cabernet Francs from top vineyards around the State. Join Vintner and Proprietor, Larry Lehmbecker, on a Q&A stroll through the Estate Vineyarddubbed Michaela’s Vineyard—and catch the Vin du Lac story first-hand, from one of Lake Chelan’s viticultural pioneers. After poking around on the hillside with Larry, head back down to the peaceful setting of the bistro patio— where we’ll be joined by the rest of the Vin du Lac winemaking team— to taste through five of our more treasured bottles and enjoy three specially paired appetizers. Wines: 2010 Lehm Pinot Noir—100% Michaela’s Vineyard | Lake Chelan; 2009 Barrel Select Cabernet Franc | Columbia Valley; 2010 Lehm Riesling | Lake Chelan; 2011 Lehm Gewurztraminer | Lake Chelan; 2007 Lehm Chelan Rouge—100% Michaela’s Vineyard | Lake Chelan.

Hard Row to Hoe

Organizers say: “Hard Row to Hoe has emerged as one of the appellation’s most visible estates, not least for making award-winning and eclectic wines such as ‘Good in Bed’ Sparkling, estate Cabernet Franc and an enticing dessert Ice Cider. Meet owners/winemaker Don and Judy Phelps and tour the vineyard and learn what makes Lake Chelan different and special as a wine growing region. We will talk about Salmon-Safe farming and LIVE certification, the impact on the Lake Chelan watershed and what it means to wine consumers. Then we’ll taste a diversity of wines that demonstrate the eclectic nature of this winery. All paired with artisan cheeses and light hors d’oeuvres. We’ll taste:A méthode champenoise Blanc de Noirs which Randy Caparoso of Sommelier Magazine said “what may be Washington‘s finest sparkling wine”. Estate Cabernet Franc, one of only 5 double- gold medal wines given at the Washington State Wine Competition.” And more!


Organizers say: “After an inspiring visit to Italy in 2002, Rob & Donna Mellison were seduced by the vineyards, the food and the wines. They were given and followed some very wise advice from an Italian winemaker: “Make your wine for your own tastes, your own pallet, it will be unique and will represent you. The benefit of making the wine to your own taste is that if no one else likes it, and it doesn’t sell, at least you’ll enjoy drinking it!” Meet the always entertaining winery owners Rob & Donna Mellison, as they take you through an exploratory session of your senses. Visually, Mellisoni sits high on the bluff of the South Shore of Lake Chelan. Their vineyards hug the steep slopes with the steepest grown at 60 degrees. With the vineyards as your backdrop, sit back, relax and soak in the unobstructed views of Lake Chelan – the 3rd deepest lake in the United State. Guests will taste a selection of white and red wines, each with a unique food pairing that showcases the unique qualities of the Mellisoni wines. You’ll taste: o 2007 Syrah, a jammy, earthy, and very aromatic, with balanced fruits and tannins o 2006 Reserve Merlot is rich and layered, very fruit forward, and so silky smooth, you’ll want to keep drinking it all night long; o 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, a young vintage from Mellisoni that is showing very well: o 2012 Estate Gewürztraminer, called Outstanding by Wine Press Northwest – it nails the variety with classic rosewater and grapefruit rind bitterness in the finish: o 2009 Estate Riesling, earning Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition and rated Excellent by Wine Press Northwest: o 2011 Estate Pinot Grigio, winning double- gold at the Washington State Wine Competition as well as Platinum in Wine Press Northwest’s Best of the Northwest competition; o 45 Degrees, a stunning blend of 70% Riesling/30% Gewürztraminer that is winning everyone over.

The Blending Room by WineGirl Wines

Organizers say: “Meet Angela Jacobs. Winemaker and owner of The Blending Room. You’ll immediately discover that youth is not always wasted on the young. Angela Jacobs, determined and adventurous never hesitates to climb the barrels, wine thief in hand and test the wine. A previous life as a roller derby girl, you can’t help but be entertained!” Wines paired with pizzas from the wood burning oven!

I haven’t been to Lake Chelan since I was in my mid-20s and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from the California/Oregon border to the Washington/Canadian border. On that trip, we were on the far end of Lake Chelan and we took a boat to the Campbell Lake resort where my former husband and I picked up our resupply box and had lunch with his grandma Ethel who drove to see us from Spokane. I remember being impressed by the rustic beauty of the region and the deep, clear green blue of the third largest lake in North America. I wonder how it’s changed in all these years–back then it was all apples, and no wine that I can think of! I certainly don’t remember it looking like this press photo they sent me! Campbells Resort

Thanks to Erin McCardle Executive Director,  of the Lake Chelan Wine Alliance and Nicole Campbell, PR and Social Media Manager of Lake Chelan Wine Alliance for putting together such a fabulous excursion!

Follow me @artpredator on twitter to see up to the minute photos and tasting notes from the trip!

And remember to subscribe to Wine Predator, too!


6 thoughts on “From SeaTac to Lake Chelan: it’s time for WBC13!

  1. OMG – I love Lake Chelan – it is so gorgeous! I’m from Spokane originally . . . Have a great time! Talia Wunder Logo_new Shop: 926 Railroad Ave., Santa Paula inside the Agriculture Museum, aka The Mill Mail: PO Box 856, Santa Paula CA 93061 Call: 805-312-1845 Shop Online:


  2. Great meeting you today in the vineyard, with Angela, AKA, the wine girl. The trip sounds fantastic, enjoy. We love our little area, of Lake Chelan and welcome you here.


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