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Two weekends of wine and chocolate tastings begin Saturday at North Olympic Peninsula wineries.
Pairings of handcrafted wines and locally made chocolate delights are planned at nine wineries in Clallam and Jefferson counties in the annual Red Wine & Chocolate Tour.
It is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday and next Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Feb. 17), the Presidents Day holiday.
This year, those on the tour will have a new destination available: Marrowstone Vineyards at 423 Meade Road in Nordland on Marrowstone Island.
Tour tickets are $30 and include wine and chocolate tastings at all nine wineries plus a souvenirwine glass.
Those with limited time can take advantage of the new $20 “half-ticket,” which covers wine and food pairings at four wineries of choice and a souvenir glass.
Both tickets are available online and at each participating winery.
Independently, each winery charges a $5 tasting fee.
Participating wineries, and their special attractions, are:
■ Marrowstone Vineyards, 423 Meade Road off state Highway 16 in Nordland, 360-385-5239, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.marrowstonevineyards.com.
This micro winery annually produces red and white wines in the Alsatian style.
Owner/winemakers Ken and Judith Collins will offer a sampling of two pinot noir wines, one produced from grapes grown in Washington state and the other from grapes grown in Oregon's Willamette Valley, as well as a dry, white Madeleine Angevine, also produced from Washington grapes.
The wines will be paired with chocolates by the Port Townsend Chocolate Co., as well as a handmade toffee by the Heavenly Toffee Co.
Marrowstone is featuring ceramics from Marrowstone Pottery, woodwork from Benchmark Woods and the photography of Kathryn Nichols.
■ Finnriver Farm & Cidery, 62 Barn Swallow Road, Chimacum; 360-732-4337 for tasting room, 360-732-6822 for office; www.finnriver.com.
A 33-acre organic family farm and artisan cidery, Finnriver produces hard ciders, dessert wines and spirits from organic and homestead fruits.
Owners Keith and Crystie Kisler offer two special releases in their “brandy wine” line: Raspberry Wine, used in the “Love and Bubbles” Champagne Cider Cocktail, and Brandy & Cacao, a bittersweet dessert wine.
Gourmet sipping chocolate by Jennifer Michele Chocolat will be available for tasting in the pavilion while locally baked tarts by Crust, made with chocolate and Finnriver's Black Currant Brandy, will come hot out of the wood-fire oven.
New this year, guests can enter Finnriver's “Have a Heart” prize drawing, with treats including a two-night stay in the Huckleberry House retreat cottage at Finnriver.
■ Eaglemount Wine & Cider, 2350 Eaglemount Road, Discovery Bay; 360-732-4084.
This boutique winery and cidery crafts wines as well as hard ciders made from apples grown on its homestead orchard.
Visitors can sample new wine and cider releases paired with chocolates by Chocolate Serenade.
■ FairWinds Winery, 1984 W. Hastings Ave., Port Townsend; 360-385-6899; www.fairwindswinery.com.
For the eighth year in a row, FairWinds Winery will feature what owner/winemakers Mike and Judy Cavett have dubbed the “tallest chocolate fountain known to man.”
Visitors can dip strawberries and other sweets into the dark European chocolate cascading down the fountain's sides.
FairWinds' Port O'Call will be paired with the chocolate fountain while other wine releases are waiting to be sampled.
Guests who deliver the “secret phrase” to a cellar helper can sample something special from a barrel.
■ Wind Rose Cellars, 143 W. Washington St., Sequim; 360-681-0690; www.windrosecellars.com.
In the tasting room in downtown Sequim, visitors can sample five wines made with Italian varietals grown in Washington state, including new release Bravo Russo.
Owners/winemakers David Volmut and Jennifer States will pair the wines with master chocolatier Yvonne Yokota of Yvonne's Chocolates.
Additional wines will be available for tasting in Wind Rose's VIP area.
■ Olympic Cellars, 255410 U.S. Highway 101, Port Angeles; 360-452-0160; www.olympiccellars.com.
In the spirit of “going for the gold” — since the Red Wine & Chocolate Tour coincides with the start of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia — Olympic Cellars will offer all four of its 2009 gold medal winners, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Syrah.
Yokota's “chocolate bark” and a port-infused truffle will be featured.
The gallery will feature the work of photographer Eric Neurath, Chilean printmaker and painter Monica Gutierrez-Quarto, painter Jeff Tocher and abstract media artist Patrick Loafman.
A photo booth filled with props for do-it-yourself photos also will be available.
■ Black Diamond Winery, 2976 Black Diamond Road, Port Angeles; 360-457-0748; www.blackdiamondwinery.com.
Black Diamond specializes in fruit wines made with locally grown fruit and berries.
Boysenberry, raspberry and strawberry wines, as well as Muller-Thurgau, a slightly sweet white wine, will be paired with assorted chocolates.
■ Camaraderie Cellars, 334 Benson Road, Port Angeles; 360-417-3564; www.camaraderiecellars.com.
Winemaker Don Corson will offer Cabernet Franc, Merlot and some blended wines.
In the winery's new enclosed crush area, a gathering space complementing the outdoor garden, wines will be paired with a savory treat featuring a barbecue sauce recipe with a chocolate twist.
Reserve tastings of some older vintages will be available for an additional $5.
■ Harbinger Winery, 2358 W. U.S. Highway 101 W., Port Angeles; 360-452-4262; www.harbingerwinery.com.
Spencer Hoveskeland of “The Duet” will perform classical guitar music at a pre-tour event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Wine and beer will be available by the glass tonight.
During the tour, winemaker Sara Gagnon and crew will offer a “hall of fame” sampling that pairs Dynamo Red with Harbinger's chocolate potato chip, the 2009 Rapture with a new chocolate combination from Chuao, the 2010 Bolero with the “chocolate rocket” and Raspberry Bliss with a special chocolate confection.
In the Kitty Kat Lounge, the VIP “aphrodisiac” chocolate and wine sampling will be available.
For more information, visit www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org or phone 800-785-5495.