Open house at Hoodsport at Tacoma wine tasting room

“If you’ve spent far longer than you should have thinking that wines fall into the snooty, roll the liquid around in your mouth and spit it out category, it’s time to rethink it and just drink it.You can do that Nov. 17 and 18 at the Hoodsport at Tacoma tasting room and special events facility, located in the Harmon Building at 1948 Pacific Ave., where a holiday open house is being held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.What can you expect at the complimentary tasting?Manager Tara Jones said that visitors will be given a list of wines to choose from, and either she or Jeff Curry will educate them on the dryness and sweetness of the wines on the list.Of the wines chosen about three to four-ounces will be poured and a maximum of three samples can be enjoyed.It’s a nice way to try the wines and familiarize them with the Hoodsport varieties without them having to purchase an entire bottle first, Jones said.Among the many wines to be tried are seven white wines, from a Sauvignon Blanc to a Riesling; and four red wines, from a Lemberger-Cabernet to an Island Belle-Merlot.And that’s just a beginning. Hoodsport Winery is well-known for its delicious fruit wines, Rhubarb, Raspberry, and Loganberry. Their Raspberry Wine has won a number of gold medals over the last couple of years, including Gold Best of Class at the 1998 National Orange Show which is the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition. 1998 is the current vintage and one of the best years for Washington State grape-growing, explained Jeff Curry. It was one of Washington’s hottest years and the grapes reached near-perfection.That year, according to information from Washington Wine Growers, had a record harvest of 71,000 tons at its 115-plus wineries.Our grape-growing is second only to California for premium wine production in the United States, Curry added, and the grape production in 1999 and 2000 were exceptional as well, with quantity as well as quality grapes.Hoodsport Winery, located North of Olympia on Highway 101 in Hoodsport, Wa., was established in 1980 and has grown to 23,000 cases in annual production. The company plans to grow to 40,000 cases, about half of which are fruit wines, with a new winery in 2001.Their vineyards are located in Eastern Washington State, Yakima Valley, Western Washington State, Puget Sound, and Stretch Island. Their wine label is easily recognized in stores. It has an artistic, picturesque view of Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountain range which are located right across from the winery.Also on the labels are works of art by Bremerton artist, Amy Burnett, whose work can be seen in the art gallery at the tasting room for which Bob Mead, of Art Concepts, is the curator.Burnett’s art graces labels for the white lemberger, pinot noir, and Johannisberg Riesling wines, 1991; the 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon (whose vintage took two gold medals in France), and the 1992 Island Belle.There are also wine-oriented gifts to purchase for Christmas at the tasting room. Jones, who was purchasing manager at the Hoodsport Winery location for six years, has higher-end items available, from pretty grape-shaped Christmas tree ornaments to decorative wine gift-giving bags, stopper tops and wine glasses.A treat to try with a Raspberry Wine sample would be a light or dark-chocolate Raspberry Truffle, made from a Hoodsport Winery recipe that includes Raspberry Wine. It’s sweet and tart at the same time.There are also four locally roasted coffees available: Hood Canal Breakfast, Puget Sound Decaf, Olympic Peninsula Roast, and Hoodsport Gold Medal, which are also available for tasting. Complimentary wine tasting doesn’t stop with this weekend’s open house. Hoodsport at Tacoma has complimentary wine tastings Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.We offer after-hours private tastings as well, Jones said, and have room for banquets to be held here, wedding receptions, and meetings. For information about booking the facility for a special event, call 253/396-9463. The Hoodsport Winery website can be visited at: “