BLEND Seattle: Another Great Year

by Shona Milne on September 17, 2012

I had an opportunity to be a judge for BLEND Seattle this year. There were so many great wines and it always hard to decide as you know everybody puts much hard work into their wines. It was a great event again this year with plenty of good wine and good food.

Washington wine blends took center stage at BLEND, one of Seattle’s premier tasting events. The third annual event was held at Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Sunday, September 16 and featured more than 40 Washington wineries pouring 120+ wines; all blends.

“Wine blends are the most sought after wines with consumers,” said Jamie Peha, Owner/Principal of Peha Promotions and BLEND’s event producer. “Showcasing only wine blends and incorporating blending stations where winemakers can pour the components of a blend helps to drive education with consumers and that is what BLEND Seattle is all about.”

The 2012 Blend Awards were decided during a blind tasting on Monday, September 10 by a panel of seven judges including Christopher Chan (Rainier Club/Seattle Wine Awards), Jameson Fink (Wine Without Worry), Leslie Kelly (Seattle magazine), Shona Milne (Woodinville Wine Update), Anne Nisbet (International Pinot Noir Celebration), Duane Pemberton (Wine Foot) and Erin Thomas (Sip Northwest Magazine). Judges honored the top wines in six categories including:

White Blends Under $20:

1st Place – Eye of the Needle Harvest White NV, Columbia Valley

2nd Place – Maryhill Winemaker’s White 2010, Columbia Valley

3rd Place (TIE) – Alexandria Nicole Cellars Shepherds Mark 2011, Destiny Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills

3rd Place (TIE) – Smasne Cellars Konner Ray White 2010, Upland Vineyard, Snipes Mountain

White Blends Over $20

1st Place – Patterson Cellars Mélange Blanc 2011, Columbia Valley

2nd Place (TIE) – McCrea Cellars Sirocco Blanc 2009, Yakima Valley

2nd Place (TIE) – Brian Carter Cellars Oriana 2010, Columbia Valley

Red Proprietary Blend Under $20:

1st Place – Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red Blend 2010, Columbia Valley

2nd Place – Waterbrook Mélange Noir 2009, Columbia Valley

3rd Place (TIE) – Columbia Crest H3 Les Chevaux 2010, Horse Heaven Hills

3rd Place (TIE) – Smasne Cellars Farm Boy Bunk House Red 2010, Columbia Valley

Red Proprietary Blend Over $20:

1st Place – Smasne Cellars Gravel Bar Red 2009, Columbia Valley

2nd Place – Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain 2009, Red Mountain

3rd Place – Walter Dacon Wines Skookum Red 2009, Columbia Valley

Red Bordeaux Blends Over $20:

1st Place – Gamache Vintners Nicholas 2008, Columbia Valley

2nd Place – Chateau Ste. Michelle Artist Series Meritage Red Blend 2008, Columbia Valley

3rd Place (TIE) – Fidelitas Optu Red Wine 2009, Columbia Valley

3rd Place (TIE) – Hightower Cellars Red Mountain Red Wine 2008, Red Mountain

Red Rhône Blends Over $20:

1st Place – Rôtie Cellars Southern Blend 2010, Washingotn State

2nd Place – Airfield Estates Mustang 2010, Yakima Valley

3rd Place – Brian Carter Cellars Byzance 2008, Columbia Valley

Event guests were also given the opportunity to vote for their favorite wine blends of the night. Winners of the “People’s Choice” award went to:

People’s Choice Best White Blend:

1st Place (TIE) – Patterson Cellars Forbidden White 2011, Columbia Valley

1st Place (TIE) – Alexandria Nicole Cellars Shepards Mark 2011, Destiny Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills

2nd Place – Brian Carter Cellars Oriana 2010, Columbia Valley

People’s Choice Best Red Blend:

1st Place – DiStefano Winery Domenica 2008, Columbia Valley

2nd Place – Woodward Canyon Estate Reserve 2009, Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley

3rd Place – Chateau Ste. Michelle Artist Series Meritage Red Blend 2008, Columbia Valley

The Bubble Lounge returned to BLEND this year and featured sparkling wines from Treveri Cellars, Domaine Ste. Michelle, Ste. Chappelle, a selection of French Champagnes, and cider from Finnriver Farm & Cidery perfectly paired with fresh mussels courtesy of Taylor Shellfish.

Eight Columbia Hospitality, Inc. properties provided delicious savory bites showcasing the talent of their chefs and Sartori Cheese kept people coming back with a selection of artisan cheeses. Fonte Coffee served espresso drinks and specialty cocktails using Project V Distillery spirits.

BLEND is collaboration between Columbia Hospitality, Inc and TableTalk – Radio That Tastes Good, bringing wine and food to the forefront through festivity and education. To access the list of wines and the menu provided at BLEND please visit

About Peha Promotions/TableTalk – Radio That Tastes Good Peha Promotions is a Seattle-based strategic marketing, public relations and event management company specializing in wine, culinary and lifestyle brands. For more information please visit TableTalk – Radio That Tastes Good hosted by Jamie Peha and Chef in the Hat Thierry Rautureau showcases regional wine, food and the Northwest lifestyle through lively and entertaining conversations with the tastemakers behind the hottest trends. Table Talk Radio That Tastes Good airs the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at 8am on KKNW 1150 AM. For more information please visit

About Columbia Hospitality, Inc Columbia Hospitality, Inc. (Columbia), a Seattle-based hospitality management and consulting firm specializing in luxury hotel and resort management, was founded in 1995 by John Oppenheimer. Columbia’s growing portfolio of premier properties, including boutique hotels, award-winning resorts, event venues and conference centers, offer world-class service in exquisite settings. Columbia creates memorable experiences for guests and team members while achieving phenomenal results for owners. The company’s continued success has led to an international expansion of the consulting division and more than 100 hospitality development projects worldwide. For more information about Columbia and a full list of properties visit

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