Craft Winefest of Vancouver toasts local, state wineries

In its second year, event offers more wines, food, music

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter



If you go

What: Craft Winefest of Vancouver.

Where: Esther Short Park.

When: 3 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Cost: $15 Friday, $10 Saturday and Sunday. Admission includes re-entry. Wineries set their own tasting prices, which vary. VIP packages also available.

Information:Craft Winefest of Vancouver website.

2014 Craft Winefest of Vancouver tasting awards

Red varietal:

Double Gold: Basel Cellars, Merlot.

Gold: Burnt Bridge Cellars, Syrah.

Silver: Five Star Cellars, Sangiovese.

Bronze: Glencorrie Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Red blend:

Double Gold: East Fork Cellars, Cellar Rat Red.

Gold: Basel Cellars, Claret.

Silver: Locati Cellars, Innovation.

Bronze: Mt. St. Helens Cellars, Kick Ash Red .


Double Gold: East Fork Cellars, Riesling.

Gold: Bateaux Cellars, Vilaine Rhone.

Silver: Basel Cellars, Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc.

Bronze: Olequa Cellars, Riesling.


Gold: Bateaux Cellars, Late Harvest Viognier.

It almost goes without saying that Clark County has a strong love of things that are local, especially when it comes to wine, beer and food.

Clark County wineries got their first signature festival last year with the launch of the Craft Winefest of Vancouver, and this year the event has even more local offerings.

The number of wineries at the festival has grown from 20 to 25. All Clark County wineries were invited, and 12 of them are participating. The 13 other wineries are all small craft wineries from the state, said organizer Cody Gray.

“We define a craft winery as one with less than 10,000 cases of total production per year,” Gray said. “These are all wines made by small local businesses in the state of Washington.”

Clark County wines at the festival include award-winning varieties from Clark County’s Burnt Bridge Cellars, East Fork Cellars and Olequa Cellars.

Several awards were given out to those and other festival wineries at the blind judging competition for the festival earlier this month.

“With submitted wines across the board of such high quality, the judging was a pleasure and a challenge,” said Norm Banks, chief judge and winemaker for Confluence Winery.

Other Southwest Washington winners included Bateaux Cellars from Toledo and Mt. St. Helens Cellars from Castle Rock.

Visitors can buy bottles at the event to take home. Prices range from $12 to $65, with most bottles in the $15 to $30 range, Gray said.

“All the wineries will have new releases,” Gray said. “People can buy bottles to go. Another thing about us, 70 percent of the wine purchase price goes back to the local wineries. Most festivals, the wineries get a lot less.”

Local offerings at the event also go beyond wine.

The festival will host Clark County’s only distiller, Double V Distillery, which will have vodka, gin and other tastings available, and 10 local brewers at the Esther Short Park gazebo, which they’re calling the “Beerzebo” for the event.

“The only one not from Clark County is a new brewery in Longview called Ashtown Brewing,” Gray said.

Food vendors include Clark County’s La Bottega, Farm to Fire Pizza and Jodell’s Catering. Whole Foods will also be at the event with cheese pairings, and crab dishes will be available from the Portland Crab House.

There will also be live music all three days of the event, including a headline performance by Patrick Lamb Friday night at 8. A variety of cover bands will play the rest of the time, with a headline performance by Gold Dust, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band on Saturday night, and Kinked, a tribute band to The Kinks, on Sunday.

“It’s the summer solstice weekend — the weather’s going to be nice,” Gray said. “It’s going to be perfect wine sampling, music listening and beer drinking weather.”

Proceeds from the non-profit event this year will go to the Arc of Southwest Washington, which helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Friday’s event will also feature a no-alcohol Family Fun Zone, which will have its own food vendors, face painting and other activities for families with children. The area costs $5 per child and $15 per adult, with the adult admission including three-day admission to the regular festival.

Festival admission is $15 on Friday and $10 on Saturday and Sunday at the gate. All admissions include re-entry on subsequent days.