What visions come to mind when you think of wine? Do you think of  romantic dinners or do you think of biking, golf, racing and hiking, even football? We encourage you to think of wine “out of the box” (although there are lots of good reasons to explore boxed wine but that is for another post!) The opportunities to learn more about wine are limited only by your imagination!

This past November the Barebones Evening Adventure Sprint (BEAST) 2009 series capped the season with a day long adventure race in West Seattle.   With a compass and a map, marked with checkpoints, the teams biked and trekked Puget Ridge, biked and orienteered at Lincoln Park, biked and tested their skill at disc golf, and then biked once more to the finish line.

Racer searching for varietal tag on the grapevines outside of the Northwest Wine Academy.

Racer searching for varietal tag on the grapevines outside of the Northwest Wine Academy.

The first trek of the day was on Puget Ridge, putting the racers on the South Seattle Community College campus, the home of the Northwest Wine Academy (NWA).  Since I was part of the Meridian Geographics crew designing the event, nothing less would do than to incorporate grapevines and award-winning Northwest Wine Academy wines.

One of the several  grapevines growing next to NWA  became a checkpoint marked on the map.  Using the map and a location description, teams had to find the right grapevine and answer the question to prove they were successful.


Location Description: N-most grapevine, near NW corner of building

Question: What varietal name is on the tag? (circle one)

Granny Val         Lynden Blue         Pinot Grigio

(the correct answer is Lynden Blue)

BEAST Series 2009 prizes - Barbera from Northwest Wine Academy

2007 Barbera from Northwest Wine Academy

Lynden Blue is actually a table grape, suited for the Puget Sound. The vines along side the Northwest Wine Academy are more to demonstrate vines than to produce wine. The grapes that go into NWA wines are donated by various Washington state vineyards.

Meridian Geographics wanted to award this year’s BEAST series winners  with award-winning wine. NWA’s 2007 Barbera received a gold medal at this year’s Tri-Cities WineFestival.   It seemed appropriate to award the  winners of the series  with wines produced in West Seattle. At the end of the day, the lucky six – three women and three men – claimed their prizes.