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Event connects winemakers with wine lovers

Some Spokane-area residents are getting tipsy this weekend in celebration of the annual Mother’s Day Spring Release Weekend.

The event, put on by the Spokane Winery Association, is a celebration of spring, wine and the moms who enjoy it.

“It’s a chance for local wineries to showcase new wines that were released to the public,” said Michael Haig, owner of Whitestone Winery, which has a tasting room on North Post Street in downtown Spokane. “And so people can take their mom out for a nice treat, because nothing says you love your mom like getting her drunk.”

Spring traditionally marks the end of the winemaking season and the beginning of a new wine year. The event features more than a dozen local wineries, which show off new releases ranging from rich reds to crisp, cool whites to complex blends.

“It’s grown a lot,” said Ann Finnegan, who sampled the goods at Overbluff Cellars on South Washington Street on Saturday and has attended the event every year for the last decade. “It’s really, really blossomed. The first year I went there were just a few, and now they’re all over the place.”

In addition to exploring new wines, the event, which began Friday and continues through today, gives the public a chance to interact with those passionate about making wine and those passionate about drinking it. It also helps Spokane-area wineries promote themselves.

“People in Spokane are really becoming more aware of all the wine we have,” Haig said. “(They) are really, really getting to know how lucky they are. We have great wine.”

Wineries and tasting rooms are cropping up all over Spokane; there are more than 20 in the area. Although local wineries are in competition with one another, the growth in the industry is good for them all, said Lynnelle Caudill, whose husband, John Caudill, owns Overbluff Cellars.

Overbluff had about 1,200 people come through Saturday.

“The whole wine scene has grown, which is OK,” she said. “The more, the merrier. It creates a whole scene.”

And for moms and any other wine lovers, the weekend is quite the treat.

“There are a few wineries in town making some of the best wine in the state,” John Caudill said. “It’s pretty competitive, worldwide.”

For many, the event has become an annual tradition.

“We come here pretty much every year,” said Duwayne Hogan, who was enjoying the new releases at the Marketplace Wine Bar downtown, home to Emvy Cellars and Bridge Press Cellars. “It’s the same bunch of friends. We get together on Saturday and enjoy being together, listening to some good music.”

His son, Kyle Hogan, said although the event takes place on Mother’s Day weekend, that isn’t necessarily why the family goes.

“I just like drinking wine with my mom,” Hogan said. “Every day.”

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