IF ONE WERE to fashion an All-Star Game for the Washington wine industry, it might just be the Private Barrel Auction during the annual Auction of Washington Wines happening this weekend. This trade only event reads like a who’s who of the Washington wine industry and we are lucky enough to be right in the middle of the action. Wine Spectrum founder and president Glenn Siegel will be getting the opportunity to taste and bid on the highly collectible wines made exclusively for the auction.
The Private Barrel Auction includes exclusive lots from Washington luminaries such as Woodward Canyon Winery, DeLille Cellars, Col Solare, Seven Hills Winery and Reynvaan Family Vineyards. Each participating winery produces small amounts of high-end wine. Typically, only five cases, always select grapes from the best vineyards, crafted with care using the best oak barrels and cutting-edge techniques — sometimes, using grapes not normally associated with the participating winery (Quilceda Creek syrah, anyone?).
At this year’s event, 31 Washington wineries are featured, up from 20 last year. Buyers from across the country will be in attendance. Last year’s event raised $137,000, all of which went to Washington State University to fund research at the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center in Richland. This is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy: More research leads to better Washington wine, so it is in the industry’s best interest to fund the future with some of its best wines.
The folks who buy the lots at the barrel auction include a mixture of restaurants and retailers. For Washington wine collectors, these special wines will have to be sought out. A section of the auction’s website shows where the wines are for sale.