By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The second weekend of the Olympic Peninsula Wineries' Red Wine & Chocolate Tour invites explorations of not only wine and sweet chocolate but also diverse venues throughout the North Olympic Peninsula.
The self-guided tour of nine Peninsula wineries and cideries will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
(The two-week event kicked off last Saturday and Sunday.)
“Nothing is more delicious than a good red wine and the right chocolate shared amid the beauty of the North Olympic Peninsula,” said Vicki Corson, Olympic Peninsula Wineries president and co-owner of Camaraderie Cellars, one of the nine on the tour.
“Participants who visit all nine of our wineries will be entered into a drawing for an elegant wine-themed gift basket.”
Along with Camaraderie Cellars west of Port Angeles, tour destinations are Olympic Cellars, Black Diamond Winery and Harbinger Winery in Port Angeles; Wind Rose Cellars in Sequim; Eaglemount Wine & Cider in Discovery Bay; FairWinds Winery in Port Townsend; Finnriver Farm & Cidery in Chimacum; and the newest member of the tour, Marrowstone Vineyards in Nordland.
Visitors travel from winery to winery, visiting the ones that entice.
Tickets for the complete tour of wineries in Clallam and Jefferson counties are $30. Tour tickets are not required — individual winery visits cost $5 per person. Ticket holders also receive souvenir wine glasses.
New this year is a $20 “half-ticket.” That covers wine and food pairings at four wineries of choice and a souvenir glass.
Tickets are available online at www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org and at each participating winery.
Although the main attractions are boutique wines and hand-made chocolates, other treats enhance the experience.
The work of area artists is displayed at two of the wineries.
Olympic Cellars is featuring the “Love is in the Air” Gallery, with displays of artwork by photographer Eric Neurath, Chilean printmaker and painter Monica Gutierrez-Quarto, painter Jeff Tocher and abstract media artist Patrick Loafman.
In its wine tasting room and upstairs gallery, Marrowstone Vineyards's upstairs gallery is now exhibiting ceramics from Marrowstone Pottery, woodwork from Benchmark Woods and photography by Kathryn Nichols and Paula Purcell.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery offers a “Have a Heart” drawing, with prizes including a two-night stay in the Huckleberry House retreat cottage at Finnriver.
Camaraderie Cellars' new enclosed crush area, a gathering space complementing the outdoor garden, makes its debut on this tour. There wines are paired with a savory family barbecue sauce recipe with a chocolate twist.
And, for the eighth consecutive year, FairWinds Winery's fountain of dark European chocolate cascades and invites.
The newest winery on the North Olympic Peninsula is on the tour for the first time.
Newest stop on tour
Marrowstone Vineyards at 423 Meade Road overlooks the Puget Sound, Whidbey Island and the Cascade Mountains.
Owner-winemakers Kenneth and Judith Collins produce 500 cases of red and white wines in the Alsatian style.
On the tour, they are offering two pinot noir wines and a dry white Madeleine Angevine.
Chocolate offerings for the Valentine's Day weekend include a double chocolate fudge confection, dark chocolate with almonds, dark chocolate with sea salt, milk chocolate with almonds and dark chocolate with peppermint.
“It goes very nicely with the red we're serving,” Kenneth said.
The Collinses came to Washington from Orinda, Calif. They found the property in 2005 and immediately began dreaming of a slower lifestyle.
The couple considered using the barn for horses, alpacas and cashmere goats but eventually settled on creating their own private vineyard and winery.
“We pictured ourselves sitting on our porch, sipping white wine and looking out at the Sound. It was supposed to be just a hobby,” Kenneth said.
But their vintner's dreams grew. The horse barn was converted into a wine tasting room and art gallery, and their quiet back porch is a reception area for weddings and other events.
The couple took classes in viticulture, planted summer-tolerant grape vines on half of the property and waited.
However, their 2.5 acres of young grape vines have yet to produce a harvest. Their wines so far have been produced from grapes grown elsewhere in the state or in Oregon.
During the 2013 growing season, which was to be their first year of homegrown wine, their vineyard was hit with powdery mildew, so pressing wine from their own property has been put off another year.
Where to go
Here is a list of the wineries and cideries on the last weekend of the tour:
■ Marrowstone Vineyards, 423 Meade Road off state Highway 16 in Nordland, 360-385-5239, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.marrowstonevineyards.com.
■ Finnriver Farm & Cidery, 62 Barn Swallow Road, Chimacum; 360-732-4337 for tasting room, 360-732-6822 for office; www.finnriver.com.
Owners Keith and Crystie Kisler, owners of the 33-acre organic farm, offer Raspberry Wine, used in the “Love and Bubbles” Champagne Cider Cocktail, and Brandy & Cacao, a bittersweet dessert wine, along with gourmet sipping chocolate by Jennifer Michele Chocolat and fresh-baked tarts by Crust.
■ Eaglemount Wine & Cider, 2350 Eaglemount Road, Discovery Bay; 360-732-4084.
Visitors can sample new wine and cider releases paired with chocolates by Chocolate Serenade at this winery that crafts fine wines and hard ciders from apples grown in its orchard.
■ FairWinds Winery, 1984 W. Hastings Ave., Port Townsend; 360-385-6899; www.fairwindswinery.com.
FairWinds' Port O'Call is paired with the chocolate fountain. Other wine releases also can be sampled.
■ Wind Rose Cellars, 143 W. Washington St., Sequim; 360-681-0690; www.windrosecellars.com.
Five of the winery's signature Italian-style wines — including new release Bravo Rosso — are teamed up with master chocolatier Yvonne Yokota of Yvonne's Chocolates in the tasting room in downtown Sequim.
■ Olympic Cellars, 255410 U.S. Highway 101, Port Angeles; 360-452-0160; www.olympiccellars.com.
Olympic Cellars is offering all four of its 2009 gold medal winners, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, merlot and syrah.
“Chocolate bark” produced by Yvonne Yokota is paired with the red wines as well as a selection of whites and rosÚs.
A photo booth filled with props for do-it-yourself photos is available.
■ Black Diamond Winery, 2976 Black Diamond Road, Port Angeles; 360-457-0748; www.blackdiamondwinery.com.
Black Diamond, which specializes in fruit wines made with locally grown fruit and berries, offers boysenberry, raspberry and strawberry wines, as well as a white Muller-Thurgau wine, paired with assorted chocolates.
■ Camaraderie Cellars, 334 Benson Road, Port Angeles; 360-417-3564; www.camaraderiecellars.com.
Surrounded by the forests of Olympic National Park, Camaraderie Cellars offers winemaker Don Corson's Cabernet Franc, merlot and some blended wines.
■ Harbinger Winery, 2358 W. U.S. Highway 101 W., Port Angeles; 360-452-4262; www.harbingerwinery.com.
Winemaker Sara Gagnon and crew offer a “hall of fame” sampling that pairs Dynamo Red with chocolate potato chips, the 2009 Rapture with a new chocolate combination from Chuao, the 2010 Bolero with the “chocolate rocket” and Raspberry Bliss with another special confection.
For more information, visit www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org or phone 800-785-5495.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.