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Roll Out The Barrel Take A Sip This Weekend

When wine buffs describe a fine chardonnay or cabernet, they will invariably swoon over the rich “oaky” flavor of a wine.

Why anyone would get excited about wet wood might not make much sense to the uninitiated, but Spokane area vintners will demonstrate the significance of aging wine in oak barrels during the annual spring barrel-tasting this weekend.

Each of the six wineries have special activities planned. All will be open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday.

At Caterina, tasters will have the opportunity to sample cabernet and merlot from the barrel and to see how well the two grape varieties blend together. John Campo, former restaurateur, will be on hand to autograph copies of his new cookbook. Caternia is located at 905 N. Washington.

Knipprath Cellars will offer a cheese tasting, along with sampling chardonnay and pinot noir at various stages of development. The winery is located at 163 S. Lincoln.

Gourmet food samples, custom labeling and new releases will be available at Latah Creek Wine Cellars, 13030 E. Indiana, just off I-90 at the Pines exit.

Spokane’s sparkling wine experts, Mountain Dome, will demonstrate the “disgorging” process, as well as offering samples of still wines from the barrels. Mountain Dome is located in the foothills of Mount Spokane. Call 928-2788 for directions.

At Worden’s, they will dip into three barrels to demonstrate the differences between aging wine in wood and aging it in stainless steel tanks. That winery is located 7217 W. 45th, just off I-90 at exit 276. However, due to construction on the interstate, those coming to the winery on eastbound lanes should exit at the Medical Lake exit and follow the signs. Those traveling in the westbound lanes can still take exit 276.

Various samples from finished and unfinished wines will be available at Arbor Crest. The winery will also be pouring its bubbly, made from grapes on the property.

Due to liability restraints, Arbor Crest requires all guests to be at least 21. The winery is located at 4705 N. Fruithill Road, just off Upriver Drive in the Valley. Call 927-0574 for directions.