Blending set up

Celebrating the Art of Wine Blending was one of the two hands-on blending opportunities at BLEND.  Jeremy, from Canoe Ridge Estate led the red wine blending exercise for us. From 2:30-4, I sat amongst food and wine lovers, winemakers, food journalists, enology experts and fun people. The experience priceless, the cost only $15.00!  This was a  rare opportunity to play with some of the best grape juice from the warm climate off the Wahluke Slope (Cold Creek Vineyards) and from the temperate terroir above the Columbia river (the vineyard at Canoe Ridge Estate).

Evaluate wine

Jeremy overseeing the wine evaluation

After Jeremy’s presentation and walking us through the process, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.  Each table designed their own blends, working with Cabernet, Merlot, Cab Franc & Malbec.  These single varietal Washington wines were brought to Seattle, for this seminar, direct from their barrels. My tablemates embraced a technical approach, deciding to make one blend. Of the 12 of us, 6 favored Canoe Ridge Merlot, while the other 6 (including me) chose the Cold Creek Cab Franc as the base of our blend.

Mike Sharadin

Mike explaining the different blends

Equipped with pipettes, beakers and 2009 vintage reserve wine, we began the art of blending. First we stared at one another, waiting for a courageous soul to take the lead. Thankfully, our group included Mike Sharadin of Northwest Totem Cellars, humbly accepting our nomination to guide us through the “Now What?”. This is not a write up about Mike, but I have to say, Mike’s modest, skillful guidance and knowledge made the blending memorable. Without taking over or swaying our opinion, he shared great stories and experiences and lead us to a favorable result.


Contemplating the blend

We began rating our favorites: the bold structure of the Merlot was enhanced by the earthy mushroom notes of the Cab Franc. The reverse (more Cab Franc then Merlot) left the Merlot lagging in comparison. Our first blend was 80% Merlot, 20% Cab Franc. After making three more variations, we  ultimately ended up with a tasty 73% Merlot, 27% Cab Franc blend. It was our unanimous favorite and we clinked our glasses in celebration like proud parents!


Pipette AKA wine paintbrush

The finished masterpiece not only resided in the glass but made it’s way to the canvas (our table linen).  All the different varietals, coming together like a professionally painted watercolor. I am not certain if there was more wine on the linens, in the glasses or on me (So smart to wear black. I had the tasting party to attend after the blending seminar).  As I got up to leave, looking on to the neighboring tables, whose white linens had tiny, random droplets of wine, I thought, this truly is art, everyone had a very unique experience. I need to take a pipette mastery seminar to ensure that my table art is predominantly in the glass but I would miss collateral art of wine blending.

A huge thank you to Peha Promotions, Columbia Hospitality, Jeremy and all those that participated in the wine seminar with me.