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Pairing Wine and Food – a Primer for the Holidays

Thanks to the "Working Girls" at Olympic Cellars Winery for this "sip"sational primer on pairing holiday foods and the perfect wine! Just in time for our annual listing of just a few of the many delicious Thanksgiving feasts being prepared all around the LOOP. YUM! If you can’t visit Olympic Cellars, and  all the other OCL member wine and cideries this weekend for the annual Harvest Wine Tour, Olympic Cellars has put together a few suggestions and a three pack wine special to help you on your way.  This party pack of Dungeness White Riesling, Cranberry Jubilee and Dungeness Red is specially priced at $50.00.  Click here to order on-line.

On to the Pairing Principals!

Depending on where you are in your wine journey, the idea of pairing wine to food can be overwhelming.  This is especially true during the holidays when preparing a meal for several guests. Match Acidity with Acidity Acidic white wines, like our Madeleine Angevine have a crisp, citrusy tang. They pair well with any simply prepared shellfish, particularly oysters, but also seafood salad and vinaigrette. Acidic red wines, like our Dungeness Red Lemberger taste like a basket of fresh berries.  The acidity cuts through rich side dishes and doesn’t overpower lighter meats. Dungeness Red is delicious with a classic Thanksgiving Dinner. Offset Spice or Salt with Sweetness A slightly sweet white wine helps to cool spicy dishes.  Our Dungeness White Riesling pairs beautifully with Thai curry. Also, salty food like ham will pair well with a sweeter wine.  Think spiral ham glazed with cranberry orange sauce served with our Cranberry Jubilee. Yumm! Pair Light with Light Pork is a lighter meat, so you want to pair it with a medium bodied red wine.  Our 2014 Zinfandel is perfect with roast pork.  As a side note, Washington State Zinfandel is very different from California Zinfandel, which tends to be big and taste of purple fruits.  Washington Zin tends to be a little lighter and taste of red fruits like raspberries. These are dry red wines – not sweet Zinfandel Rose’ which is referred to as White Zin. Big Flavors with Big Red  Big reds, pair with hearty red meat.  A classic pairing is grilled steak with sautéed mushrooms and a Bordeaux Blend.  Our Winemaker’s Signature pairs beautifully with heartier foods. The tannins help balance the richness of a steak dinner allowing the flavors of the wine to shine. Sweet Wine with Dessert  The sugar in the dessert and the sweetness in the wine will balance.   My Sweet Syrah pairs well with anything chocolate, but pumpkin pie might be better with a fruitier white like our My Sweet Angevine or even Cranberry Jubilee.  Sweet Rose’ wine pairs well with creamy, mild desserts. Give Them What They Want If you know that Aunt Julie only drinks sweet, white wine, don’t bother trying to convince her that she will enjoy a full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with her Beef Wellington.  It just won’t work for her. Pick up a bottle of something you know she enjoys and don’t wine shame.

Kathy Charlton signs her new book, "Working Girl: Behind the Cellar Door", at Olympic Cellars.

Former Olympic Cellars Owner Kathy Charlton Authors New Book, Royalties Support Local Charity 

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Kathy Charlton, Olympic Cellars’ former owner, is author of book, "Working Girl: Behind the Cellar Door"

Winery to host book signing on October 24  Port Angeles, Wash., October 24, 2017 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. –  Join Kathy Charlton, Olympic Cellars’ former owner and original Working Girl, will greet the public and sign her new book, Working Girl: Behind the Cellar Door, on Tuesday, Oct. 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Olympic Cellars. Royalties from the sale of the book, which shares Charlton’s story of “an entrepreneur’s journey from a bankrupt winery to gold medals,” will support a local charity to be announced at the book signing event. Charlton intends that support for this charity will become part of her legacy.  

“You might want to pour yourself a glass of wine and put your feet up. I’m a Working Girl and have a story to tell you from Behind the Cellar Door,” Charlton laughed relaying a quote from her book. “Seriously though, the winery, its land and historic barn are part of the heritage of the North Olympic Peninsula and Washington State’s wine industry and became my heritage to preserve. My book is part memoir, part business book with a focus on owning and marketing your small business in today’s Amazon driven marketplace.”

Sixteen years ago, Kathy Charlton made a hard-right turn, the new owner of a bankrupt winery, knowing nothing about running a small business, nor wine other than she liked her red wine served cold, sometimes over ice if she was in a hurry. Bucking tradition Charlton rolled-up her sleeves and began to rebuild her winery. Driven by a personal motto of “out of sight, out of mind, out of business,” marketing became her middle name sparking a new passion for off-the-wall guerilla tactics. Women and wine became the platform to reinvent the winery through creative labeling, philanthropic initiatives in support of women, and a series of ongoing unique winery events that piqued the interest of consumers, industry players and the media. “Sipping wines at sunset it wasn’t.” Charlton details battling everything from a leaking septic system that shut the winery down, exploding wine presses, shortchanged bottle inventory and now-legendary lawsuit brought forth by the United States Olympic Committee. How did she do it? Well, that’s where the hard work and yes, the fun began as Charlton takes a winery with little name-recognition and massive quality issues and parlays it into an award-winning operation with double-gold medals to prove it. This in the trenches book captures winery life, the ups and downs, in poignant and sometimes laugh-out-loud stories. It’s real life with a dose of laughter, a few tears and some zany antics to keep things interesting. Throughout Charlton shares her own Working Girl approach to business including her constant focus and passion for her customers, without whom she emphatically exclaims, “There is No Business.”   About Kathy Charlton Charlton worked for the high-tech giant, Texas Instruments, for 25 years. A born entrepreneur, she earned a reputation as a highly effective manager by “making things happen”. Recognized early on for her abilities to get-to-the-bottom of a problem, analyze it and come up with a workable solution – Fast, it wasn’t long before her assignments moved outside her comfort zone of finance into the business sectors. Then in 1999, life threw Charlton a winery! The opportunity to turn the business around and take it in a whole new direction lent itself to Charlton’s skills and experience and set her enthusiasm on fire. She jumped on an early retirement package offered by Texas Instruments in 2001, packed-up her Dallas home, and together with her husband headed north to begin an exciting second career at the age of 51. Charlton was honored when Leslie Sbrocco wrote the foreword for her book. Leslie was voted one of the Top 100 most influential people in the American wine business and is an award-winning author, speaker, consultant and television host. Both ladies focused on women and wine and in 2003 Kathy launched the Working Girl Wines; at the same time Leslie published her first book, Wine for Women, A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine.  

Olympic Cellars Summer Concert Series

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="500"] The Olympic Cellars 2017 Concert Series Line-Up starts Saturday, July 22 with the West Coast Women’s Blues Revue ![/caption] Treat yourself to a Summer Concert at Olympic Cellars this summer! The Olympic Peninsula is a very special place to visit and an awesome place to live.  Our community is somewhat isolated from the rest of the United States. So, out here at the edge of the world we make our own fun.  During the summer months, when the sun sets late and the days are warm and filled with sunshine, our community comes together at The Barn to dance the night away. The music is always toe-tapping and the wine flows.  Our venue is absolutely spectacular.  The concerts are held outside with a big, in your face view of the Olympic Mountains.  As the sun sets and the moon rises, the band plays.  And boy do they play. As those of you who have attended know, our concert attendees love to dance and they are up on their feet beginning with the first song.  In return, the bands love the adoration creating a positive feedback loop. We put the FUN in fundraiser with our annual Summer Concert Series.  These concerts are a great way to spend an evening having fun with a purpose.  All of the concerts are partnered with a local, non-profit organization.  In return for providing us with volunteers; all of the tips, dollar dance money and a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales are donated to the non-profit group. Through our concerts, we have raised over $150,000 for local, non-profit organizations. The doors open at 6:00.  All concerts begin at 7:00 p.m.  Sequim restaurant, Nourish will be onsite with food available for purchase; wine will be available for purchase by the glass or by the bottle. All concerts are family-friendly but 90% adults over 21. Arrive early for best seating. The cover charge for each concert is $13.00 in advance or $15.00 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online through BrownPaperTickets.com. Search for “Olympic Cellars.” A Season’s Pass is available for just $75.00, and includes admission to all 2017 concerts. Passes can be purchased online at Season's Pass.

The Perfect Pairing - Drink in this Taste Tour of the LOOP

Wine, Cider & Chocolate Tour February 11th & 12th, 2017 // 11am - 5pm February 18th, 19th, & 20th 2017 // 11am - 5pm A scrumptious red wine perfectly paired with just the right chocolate can bring out the romantic in anyone. The Olympic Peninsula Wineries will take that perfect pairing to another level in 2017, bringing together new release varietals and blends created with premium Washington grapes and decadent chocolate delights that will make you a better wine lover!

Be sure you plan your Tour to visit:

Finnriver Farm & Cidery - Finnriver invites you to join us at the Cider Garden this Valentine’s to delight your senses with a tantalizing taste of our sumptuous special release brandy wines, including the limited edition and vibrantly pink Huckleberry Wine. Alpenfire Cider - Help guarantee a successful 2017 harvest at Alpenfire's Organic Late Winter Wassail. Toast our tree's with cider, visit the bonfire and sip hot Lamb's wool cider. Eaglemount Wine & Cider - is excited to partner once again with local Olympic Peninsula favorite Chocolate Serenade. They will pair their artisan wines, ciders, and fruit meads with Jim's delicious hand-dipped chocolates, truffles, and caramel sauce. Featured colorful ciders and wines will bring out your Valentine's spirit, including Raspberry Hopped Cider, Cranberry Mead, Rhubarb Cider, Cab Sauv Dessert Wine, and more! Wind Rose Cellars -  is proud to be hosting local Olympic Peninsula chocolatier Yvonne Yokoda from Yvonne's Chocolates. She'll be on hand both weekends to talk about her chocolates as well as offer tasty samples from the variety of chocolates she produces. We will be pouring some new wines: 2015 Pinot Grigio, 2014 Hunter's Red (Grenache & Cab) 2013 Bravo Rosso (Italian blend) , 2014 Field Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon) and our 2013 Primitivo. Olympic Cellars - will feature new releases of their dessert wines. Sailing Moon Ruby is made from a blend of Portuguese/Spanish grape varietals, including Tempranillo and Souzao. It’s rich and warming and pairs beautifully with cuddling by a fire and enjoying a piece of chocolate. Sailing Moon White is made from locally-grown Madeleine Angevine grapes and fortified with brandy distilled in Port Townsend. Camaraderie Cellars -  Celebrating history with our 25th year of making great wine in a beautiful spot! There will be tastes of older vintages, pulled from our cellar and the debut of our newest varietal, Dolcetto. Favorite savory chocolate tastes from the wood-fired oven and the Cocoa Spiced pulled pork, delicious bittersweet chocolate heart cookies, and some crunchy biscotti.

Olympic Peninsula Wine & Cider Harvest Tour 2016

Sip and savor the flavors of fall, enjoy seasonal activities and marvel at nature’s vibrant palate during the Olympic Peninsula Wineries’ Harvest Wine Tour, November 11th through 13th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m each day. The nine artisan wineries and cideries are located in the Peninsula towns of Chimacum, Nordland, Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles
Harvest Tour 2016 November 11th, 12th, & 13th, 2016 11am – 5pm
Participants who have their ticket stamped at all nine of our wineries will be entered into a drawing for an elegant wine themed gift basket.  The gift basket winner along with a second and third place winner will receive two tickets to the Red Wine & Chocolate Tour in February. Full details and advance ticketing opportunities on-line

Delicious and affordable white wines for summer enjoyment

Congrats to Wind Rose Cellars for getting top listing in this great article by By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue, highlighting wonderful whites to sip this summer! Great Northwest Wine Make some room in your refrigerator because it’s time to keep a few bottles of delicious Northwest white wine and pink wines on hand. There is nothing quite like a chilled, refreshing glass of wine to enjoy on the back deck after a long, warm day, and we have compiled a list of eight affordable white and rosé wines using Northwest grapes. All of these are priced at $15 and below. We tend to look for wines that offer crisp acidity, which means they are more likely to pair well with a wide variety of dishes. Enjoy these versatile wines with fresh seafood and grilled meats, particularly chicken or pork. Ask for these at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly. Wind Rose Cellars 2015 Rosato, Yakima Valley, $15: Olympic Peninsula vintner David Volmut’s Italian-themed rosé focuses on fruit from Lonesome Spring Ranch. The blend of Dolcetto and Sangiovese offers an alluring strawberry/rhubarb color with aromas to match, including Rainier cherry, nectarine and a rub of dried herbs. The fluid is refreshing with delicate red fruit flavors akin to raspberry, Rainier cherry and cranberry. (12% alc.) http://www.heraldnet.com/life/delicious-and-affordable-white-wines-for-summer-enjoyment/

Now Taste the Magnifique Wine - and Way of Life - at Walter Dacon Winery

Reprint from 
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="640"]walter dacon winery Ann Anderson welcomes tasters in their cozy setting at Walter Dacon Winery.[/caption]

"Life is Magnifique – Now Taste the Wine at Walter Dacon Winery"

By Mary Ellen Psaltis The sign on Highway 101 says, Walter Dacon Winery – Tourist Attraction. Delay your errand in Shelton and turn right on Skookum Road. It’s not far to the winery. Award winning wines accompanied by their down-to-earth vintners are ready to charm your taste buds, and then keep you coming back for more. Lloyd and Ann Anderson, owners of Walter Dacon Winery, are a two-person show. The grapes may be grown in Eastern Washington, but the crushing, crafting, bottling and labeling are done right on their property. The vintage tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. Ann or Lloyd is there to talk with you about the wine, answer your questions and share a friendly visit. The official greeter is Beaux, their dog who is noticeably quiet but attentive. Their at-home winemaking enterprises blossomed into a business after years of coaxing by friends. Who imagined that that first bottle of wine they shared on a trip to Reno air show with mutual friends would end up with their marriage and a business? Both Ann and Lloyd had already had careers. Ann had retired from 25 years at the state and Lloyd had a forestry consulting business. The couple studied wine making and traveled to UC Davis to further their wine knowledge.
  Read the rest of this article: http://www.thurstontalk.com/2015/05/30/walter-dacon-winery/

Boys [and Working Girls] in the Boat - Olympic Cellars Connection to Olympic Gold

There's nothing like a good glass of wine to help wind a story into an epic experience.Kathy - Working Girl WG-header-2012.jpg Original Olympic Cellars "Working Girl", Kathy Charlton, invites readers to connect the historical (and sometimes hysterical) dots from:
  • Rowing Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics,
  • A near salad bar at TGI Friday’s survival story!
  • Best seller "Boys in the Boat's" connection between University of Washington and Sequim.
All to illustrate how dedicated collaboration: be it making wonderful wine, or beating all odds to win Gold , depends on tenacity and teamwork!
“Great crews may have men or women of exceptional talent or strength; they may have outstanding coxswains or stroke oars or bowmen; but they have no stars. The team effort—the perfectly synchronized flow of muscle, oars, boat, and water; the single, whole, unified, and beautiful symphony that a crew in motion becomes—is all that matters. Not the individual, not the self.” - George Pocock 
So pour a nice glass of Olympic Cellars wine, (I always try to keep a bottle of their "Handyman Red" on hand!) and  read Kathy's great post before you read - or re-read - Daniel James Brown's Boys in the Boat              A great summer adventure awaits!           Read Kathy's "Boys [Girls] in the Boat" post: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=aaf43e68a3888a25147e63609&id=50af315b70&e=6951bd51d9  

After near death, a winemaker finds new life

  [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="365"] A terrible plane crash gave Harbinger's Sara Gagnon new perspective on what was important to her.[/caption] Enjoy this reprint of Seattle Times profile of Sara from Harbinger Winery! Out of Sara Gagnon’s experience of surviving a small-plane wreck that killed the pilot, Harbinger Winery was born. By Andy Perdue, Special to The Seattle Times SARA GAGNON knew she was in trouble when the plane’s windshield hit her in the face.   It was August 2004, just before wine-grape harvest was to begin, and Gagnon was riding in a Cessna 182 from her hometown of Port Angeles to Boeing Field on a cloudy, rainy night. In the plane was co-worker Tammi Hinkle, and in the pilot seat was friend Barry Koehler.   They barely made it 10 miles out of town when they came through a cloud bank and everything went wrong.   “We clipped the top of a ridge and went down into the trees at about 150 miles an hour,” Gagnon remembers. “It was full speed. The plane disintegrated around us, and I was pretty sure that was it. I was unlucky enough to not lose consciousness, so I get to remember.”   Koehler died in the crash, and Gagnon and Hinkle, both badly injured, were left stuck all night in a remote area of Olympic National Park, wondering if they would be found, because Koehler hadn’t filed a flight plan. “It was a pretty wild night. I was afraid to fall asleep because I didn't want to wake up dead.” They were found the next morning and hiked out of the forest. Gagnon, who had returned to Port Angeles from Seattle four years earlier to follow her passion for winemaking, was the head winemaker at Olympic Cellars in nearby Sequim. She was having a blast in the job and also had discovered a love for kayaking that moved her to become a professional guide.As she recovered from a fractured sternum, cracked pelvis, broken nose and concussion, Gagnon came to a hard-earned conclusion: Life is too short to not follow your dreams. “That really shifted my perspective and made me realize that I wanted to go do my own thing. So I finished up harvest at Olympic Cellars and moved on.” Out of her near death was born Harbinger Winery. In the decade since, Gagnon has built Harbinger into a 3,000-case winery. West of Port Angeles on Highway 101, it is the northwestern-most winery in the continental United States. She shares the winery building with Hinkle, with whom she co-owns Adventures Through Kayaking, putting both her passions under one roof. As a result of the harrowing plane crash, Gagnon is stronger mentally and physically. Whether she’s in the cellar making wine or working the tasting room, she takes on life in a gentle, Zen-like manner, living for the moment rather than for the paycheck.