This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the 2013 International Food Blogger’s Conference. It was a special thing to attend the fifth year of the conference because I attended the very first one way back in 2009, and I didn’t even realize I was actually a food blogger until attending the conference!
On Thursday some of us kicked off the weekend with a tour of Chateau St Michelle winery. Excuse the blurriness of my friend Garrett and I. It’s hard to get a good iPhone photo on a moving bus!
Chateau St. Michelle is pretty much the biggest wine producer in Washington (I don’t know that for sure, so if you are a bigger wine producer, I apologize) and our regular wines we always get at Costco are from them. While we aren’t very big drinkers, we do like to have a little wine with dinner now and then, and I cook with it all the time. So I was thrilled to finally visit the birthplace of my bottles of choice.
We were met at the entrance to the chateau (yes, there is actually a lovely chateau) with beautiful glasses of sparkling rosé. I thought I didn’t like pink wines. Apparently I just had never tasted a good one before.
This rosé was crisp, a little sweet, and oh so refreshing. Perfect for the lovely, hot, sunny day that was quite possibly the last of our summer weather here in the Pacific Northwest.
I snapped this photo so I could be sure to remember the wine. You can imagine my delight to discover it was just $11 a bottle and even less with our tour discount, so I grabbed one for the upcoming New Year’s Eve.
Now before anyone panics that I am passing on alcohol to my little nursling, I must share my handy dandy tool for wine tastings.
That’s right, the paper cup spitoon! Much more discreet than a giant bucket, and a smart way to stay sober. Now back to the tour.
Here’s a quick video of their amazing bottling system.
Apologies (yes again!) for the poor audio on the video, I was apparently really pushing the limits of my iPhone. The part you can’t hear is our guide explaining how much employees hope lots of bottles end up in the reject bin (like in the photo below). Sounds like maybe they have a chance for a ginormous discount on the rejected bottles.
After the tour, we had a little tasting of five wines and food pairings, led by the highly talented and enjoyable Chef John Sarich. We even got a copy of his latest cookbook, Chef in the Vineyard. I know VERY little about wine so am excited to keep in touch with him and learn more. Let me know if you have any wine questions to pass his way.
Do you have a favorite brand of wine and have you ever visited their winery? I’d love to hear about it!