February abounds with wine events, some including chocolate

FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 4, 2013 

February might seem like an off month for wine-related events, but in spite of the plethora of festivals and special events one usually finds each spring, summer and autumn, there are plenty of things happening this winter during February, as well.

For some people, wine tasting in February means pairing up a glass of red wine with a delectable chocolate or two. You'll have ample opportunity for that and more at the Yakima Valley Red Wine and Chocolate event Feb. 16 and 17. It's one of the largest and oldest tastings of its kind in Washington, with more than 40 participating wineries from Yakima to the Red Mountain area.

Buy a $30 premier pass in advance and you'll receive access to exclusive pairings, library tastings and tours not available to the general public. For a list of wineries and additional ticket information, go to wineyakimavalley.org.

If you prefer to stay closer to home, I know of a couple of similar events at Whatcom County wineries.

Dakota Creek Winery will host a Valentine's Day Celebration from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 14, and Vartanyan Estate Winery is planning a Valentine's Wine and Chocolate event from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 8 through 10 and Feb. 15 through 17. The Vartanyan event will feature truffles made by Bellingham's Chocolate Necessities.

Thinking about going out for a nice dinner with wine during February? I'll be moderating two events this month that might be just what you're looking for.

On Feb. 9, a Washington wine dinner at North Bellingham Golf Course's Nine Restaurant will feature an exquisite five-course dinner, plus wines and winery representatives from Treveri Cellars, Robert Karl Winery, Barrister Winery, Terra Blanca Winery and Dynasty Cellars. Reservations are required; call 360-398-8300, ext. 2.

On Feb. 26, I will host a zinfandel wine dinner at Bellingham Technical College. Each of the dinner's five courses will be paired with a specially selected zinfandel, and I'll give you an in-depth look at the versatile red wine. To register, go to btc.ctc.edu.

Finally, if your wine tastes lean to more global preference, be sure to consider the Vancouver International Wine Festival. This year's weeklong extravaganza of tastings, lunches, dinners and seminars begins Feb. 25 and features 175 wineries from 15 countries.

I've attended many of the festival's events over the past 10-plus years and found it to be unparalleled in volume and variety. Book a hotel room and plan for an easy, wine-related getaway. For details, see playhousewinefest.com.

Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.

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