Every summer, I look forward to the glorious blending of sun, mild temperatures and great Northwest treats, and there’s one festival that has it all, plus more. Wine Rocks Seattle is a not-for-profit festival of wine, summer and great music. It’s held every year at Bell Harbor, right along the Waterfront at Pier 66, where the view provides an excellent backdrop for summer wine tasting. Proceeds from the event go toward helping local entrepreneurs and empowering industry professionals.
There’s nothing better than hanging out on the waterfront on a sunny evening in Seattle, but when you add in the ability to try dozens of local wines, beers and ciders, then throw in the chance to eat at a handful of Seattle’s best food trucks, all while listening to some good music, you’ve got one really fun time.
Nick & I have been to dozens of wine events in Seattle, not to mention regularly visiting local tasting rooms, so we’re pretty well versed in local wines. It’s always nice to see a few new labels in the crowd that we haven’t tried yet, alongside our perennial favorites. We were happy to try new-to-us wines, like Coral Wines, who had a very nice Rose, and Newsprint Wines, who had a Malbec we really enjoyed. Kiona Vineyards is one of our favorites, along with Amavi and Lauren Ashton.
Out of Walla Walla is Sleight of Hand Cellars with their lineup of awesome wines. I can’t say there’s one they have that I don’t like. Plus they have great labels, like the one made specially for The Conjurer with a drawing of Neil Patrick Harris. Love that one.
Sometimes drinking wine for four hours is a little harsh on the palette, so thankfully there were some beers and ciders to try as well. Some of our favorite beers in Seattle come from Pike Brewery. Charles & Rose Ann Finkle, the founders of Pike, were on hand with a bunch of their beers to try, like the Space Needle Golden IPA, the Derby Lager and the Saison Houblon Farmhouse Ale. We could have stood around their booth all night talking about beer and enjoying their flavorful brews.
Two of the cider offerings were new to us, as well: Wicked Cider and Pear Up from Neigel Vintner. Both had unique ciders that diverged a bit from what has become the norm in the Northwest. Cider has really become popular here the last few years and it’s great to find something a bit more unique.
One small drawback of Wine Rocks is that the ticket price doesn’t include food beyond a couple of nibbles here and there. We’ve grown accustomed to food & wine events where you can enjoy a bite to eat amongst the copious pours of wine. There are a few thing to snack on while you’re walking around. We particularly enjoyed the lamb that was being roasted over the spit by Restaurant Zoe.
We are also huge fans of a local cheese purveyor called Cypress Grove Chevre. They make a couple of cheeses that are just really good. Our favorite – which is also quite possibly my favorite cheese ever – is the Humboldt Fog. It’s a soft, tangy goat cheese with an edible vegetable ash running through the middle. Yum.
Other options for food include a couple of different cheese makers, some chocolate and even a steak skewer with salsa, but after consuming alcohol for a few hours straight, you’re obviously going to need more than that. Good thing they’ve called in some of Seattle’s best food trucks to do the job.
The food trucks are the only things that are stationed outside, and like I mentioned, they aren’t included in the ticket price. The wine and other booths are all located inside. That’s a good thing when the sun is beating down on you like it was this year. They’ve set up tables outside at which you can enjoy your food. The only trouble is picking what to eat, because there are some really tempting choices, like the Grilled Cheese Experience, My Sweet Lil Cakes, Lumpia World and Seoul Kitchen.
We ended up choosing a grilled cheese sandwich, because the ooey, gooey melted cheese cannot be resisted. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to try The Grilled Cheese Experience, you already know why we couldn’t resist.
Of course, I’ve neglected to mention that one other aspect of this event – the rock! This isn’t a subdued, quiet affair where people go around whispering wine critiques to their friends while sipping and spitting. It’s a party! The music is provided by Seattle musicians, as well as from the wineries themselves. Dancing is encouraged and was happily being carried out by event goers during the entire evening.
That’s how you know it’s a good time! And there’s one other way of knowing that it’s been a good evening. It has to do with holding a glass of delicious Washington State wine in your hand as you watch the sun set over the Puget Sound.
Disclaimer: I was graciously provided entry to this event by the organizers. However, that does not in any way impact my views or opinions of the event. This post contains only my own honest observations.