Fri, Nov. 22-Sun, Nov. 24 from noon-5 pm each day
Map at spokanewineries.net
The holidays are coming and you need some wine.
Perhaps you need it for your Thanksgiving feast, or that reluctantly attended office Christmas party. Maybe a couple of bottles are going out as gifts this year. More likely, you just need a glass of wine because, well, it's the holidays.
Spokane's increasingly robust wine industry knows what you're thinking, and it's on the same page, rolling out the annual Holiday Wine Festival in the days leading up to the first weekend of the holiday season. Organized by the Spokane Wineries Association, nearly all of the region's wineries are participating on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons this week, greeting local oenophiles with specialty tastings, wine releases and perhaps the opportunity to stock up for the aforementioned occasions.
The multipurpose event mostly means that wineries are open during the allotted hours, typically offering special tasting opportunities. At Arbor Crest Wine Cellars' tasting rooms — at the winery's Cliff House Estate and River Park Square — the wine-loving masses flood through over the course of the weekend, getting an early start on the Thanksgiving holiday, says tasting room manager Shelby Enevold. Arbor Crest is offering cheese pairings, wine specials and gift packaging during the three-day-event.
At downtown Spokane's Barrister Winery, owner Greg Lipsker uses the event to roll out new wines. This weekend, he'll debut his 2011 Merlot and a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon made from grapes plucked from the 40-year-old vines of the Bacchus Vineyards. Bottles of these new releases, along with Barrister's other standbys, are all on sale, with your $5 tasting fee going toward a bottle purchase.
Everyone is exposed to foods that aren't good for them — things too heavy in salt, butter, caffeine, sugars and GMOs, says John Gardner, the owner of Beet It Up mobile raw juice bar. But he admits he eats bad things sometimes, too.
"We'll never be perfect," says Gardner. "[Beet It Up is] a good source for you to feel better if you can — detox, clean yourself out and maintain proper nutrition."
Beet It Up is the name of the mobile raw juice bar that Gardner started with Brandi Elder last month. Gardner hosts a reggae radio show on KYRS, teaches West African hand percussion and recently started a group called the Organic Beets Drum Collective, which is where he got the name for the juice bar. He loves beats and beet juice, Gardner says.Almost every juice ($5.50) on the menu has beet in it, and everything is made from certified organic produce. The Beet It Up combines apple, carrot, beet and lemon. It's a good choice for juice-drinking beginners, says Elder, as it's the most basic on the menu and has a little tang from the lemon.
The Veggie Hut is a little heavier on the vegetable side, with apple, celery, cabbage, carrot, lemon, cucumber and beet, while the La-Beet-O adds only a hint of beet to a mixture of pineapple, pear, carrot and ginger. Gardner and Elder also blend up smoothies ($5.50) like the Irie Solution with banana, pineapple, berry blend, spirulina, kale and hemp milk.
There's also the choice of building your own juice, getting a cup of organic fair-trade coffee or sipping some yerba maté.
Just look for the 1969 Prowler with red, yellow and green stripes and a big grinning beet.