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Uncorking a summer of wine tastings

Christianne Sharman Special to Travel

I wonder if this is what Sting meant by “Message in a Bottle.”

The Yakima and Columbia valleys invite you to uncork yourself in the state’s ongoing wine vs. apples knock-down drag-out. They’ll play you a little song while you do it. Their message: Bottoms up!

Once sufficiently sauced, you’ll happily listen to anything, even David Lee Roth. (You might as well jump.)

I send an SOS to the world.

Your choices:

Richland’s Bookwalter Winery kicks off its Sunday afternoon concert series on May 24. It runs through Sept. 6.

They say “the winery’s uncomplicated yet seductive décor is the ideal venue.”

The mind reels at the thought of “seductive décor.” I welcome your reports from the scene.

Bookwalter’s enticements further include a menu of meats, farm cheeses and artisan bread to go with your wine.

The Burner Brothers Blues Band leads the schedule. Keep an eye on bookwalterwines.com for future Sunday offerings. Or call (877) 667-8300.

If you just can’t wait for Sunday, down the road from Bookwalter, Tagaris Winery hosts a series of Saturday evening shows around its fire pits and 33-foot basalt fountain.

The lineup features Coyote Kings on June 6 and again Aug. 15, and alternative rockers Buffalo Jones on July 25 and Sept. 19. (They do a fun cover of Men at Work’s “Down Under.”)

Gertrude’s Hearse (putting the fun back in “funeral”) performs on July 18 and Aug. 29. I’d go for the name alone.

We’ve only scratched the surface here. Tagariswines.com will tell you more. So will (509) 628-1619.

Moving on.

The Sunday Music Series at Silver Lake Winery in Zillah, every Sunday in August, packs live music, lunch and a bottle of wine into one tipsy afternoon. The concert is free.

Silver Lake claims to be the state’s “largest consumer-owned winery.”

In fact, Taynea Setephas, the winery’s tasting room manager and events director, tells me it’s actually the only one.

“We’re one of few in the wine world out there that does it this way,” she says. “We get a lot of feedback and support.”

No doubt. There are more than a thousand shareholders to provide advice.

The schedule includes Gentlemen Wild, Aug. 2; Marlayne Kyle, Aug. 9; Larry La Riviera and the Bayou Boys, Aug. 16; the Joe Brooks Quintet, Aug. 23; and Rose Laughlin with Kat Eggleston, Aug. 30.

See silverlakewinery.com or call (509) 829-6235.

You want more? Don’t you have some chores to do around the house?

Very well.

Near Quincy, Cave B Winery’s Live! at the Cellar Concert Series promises “an intimate event.” (Does that include “seductive décor”?)

On select Friday evenings, they’ll combine live music with a glass of wine. They’ll even sell you something to eat.

Refer your questions to sagecliffe.com or (509) 785-3500.

Celebrate your independence at Tsillan Cellars Winery Summer Concert on July 3 and 4. The Paperboys will play the winery’s amphitheater overlooking Lake Chelan while you sip and taste Sorrento’s Ristorante’s fare.

According to the Tsillan Web site, The Paperboys are “Celtic, Canadian folk, stomp, acoustic, Latin, alt-country, roots and pop in style.”

Sounds like that concert will go on forever.

Contact the winery at tsillancellars.com or (877) 682-8463.

They just keep coming. From its outdoor amphitheater in Quincy, White Heron Cellars presents Jesse Colin Young and the Celtic Mambo on July 4.

(That makes sense. Our nation’s founders loved nothing more than to mambo. It’s right there in the Declaration.)

On Aug. 22, three singer/songwriter women will take the stage.

Both events include wine and food pairings prepared by guest chefs. Check www.whiteheronwine.com or (509) 797-9463 for details.

Finally, thank goodness, Vin du Lac Winery’s Summer Saturday Music Series rolls out May 23 and wraps up Oct. 10.

The not-very-specific information provided me sketches out a “versatile portfolio of artists as well as a new bistro, patio and wine bar.”

No matter who those performers may be, you’ll see them for free. See Chelanwine.com or call (866) 455-9463.

Crazy, man, crazy

On another musical imbibition note, the Oregon Zoo’s third annual microbrew festival, Zoo Brew, features a Crazy 8s reunion.

In their day, this homegrown ska band hit No. 1 in college radio. You may remember their hits, “Johnny Q” and “Law and Order.”

The May 29 show pairs the 8s with samples from more than 20 local microbreweries.

Get your tickets at oregonzoo.org or (503) 226-2561.

Regional events

•Great Divide Orchid Society Show and Sale, May 15-17, Helena. More than just orchids, the show also includes orchid art. (visitmt.com/406-443-2069)

•Geranium Fest, May 16, Billings. Seems Montana’s an equal-opportunity flower lover. Get your geraniums on with an array of colors and plants for sale. (visitmt.com/406-652-8100)

•Northwest Folklife Festival, May 22-25, Seattle. You’ll find 19 stages and about 1,000 performances, along with dance, crafts, food, displays, demonstrations, workshops and more. (visitseattle.com/206-684-7200)

Christianne Sharman can be reached by e-mail at travelturkey@earthlink.net.
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