The Washington State Wine Commission has held a Taste Washington event in Spokane for the last nine years, but not in 2011. The commission canceled the Spokane event this year in favor of throwing one in … Portland. It’s where young people go to retire, where hip is at its hippest, and now evidently, where all of our wine went.
But Spokane has been a great spot for these events, says Dick Stephens, event producer for Varsity Communications, which put on Taste Washington. So his group has decided to carry on the tradition this year, only with a new name and more activities for its patrons. Thus, Vintage Spokane was born.
This time, says Stephens, they’ve moved to the roomier Lincoln Center, allowing for more interaction between the over 60 wineries and the patrons of the event.
They’ve also added the “Viking Celebrity Chef Stage,” where local chefs will prepare dishes and then pair them with wines. This year, attendees can also expand their wine knowledge with blind taste testing — wine experts will be on-hand to help newbies identify the array of flavors found in Washington wines.
Stephens says he has noticed wine becoming, like the famous Washington apple, a “pride product” in Washington, which produces more wine than any state except California. He adds that wine is the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage on the market and that its appeal stems from its accessibility.
“You can have it by the glass, and you can have it by the bottle, and it mirrors the person’s economic ability,” says Stephens. “There’s great wines at the $7 mark, and there’s great wines at the $107 mark.”
A portion of the proceeds from Vintage Spokane will go to benefit Hospice of Spokane, a charity that for Stephens and many others has been a great benefit to the community.
“We wanted to find a charity that meant something to us…” says Stephens. “The wine industry recognizes that it’s a great charity.” (Tiffany Harms)
Vintage Spokane • Sunday, June 5 from 4 pm-7:30 pm • $60 • 21 • Lincoln Center • 1316 N. Lincoln St. • vintagespokane.com • 327-8000
Summer in the City
We have more than a few bars and restaurants opening around the downtown core this summer. Here are three in the early planning stages that you probably haven’t heard about yet:
1017 W. 1st Ave. | Shooting for July 1 opening
Soon, the ladies boutique Tangerine will have company in the old Centerstage Building (formerly the old Odd Fellows hall). Mary and Greg Walmsey will open Luxe, “a small coffee house with pastries and sandwiches,” as soon as a change-of-use permit comes through from the city and other details are locked up. It’ll be right next door to Tangerine, on the main floor of the building. The place doesn’t have a kitchen, so the pastries, donuts and croissants for sandwiches will be bought from a to-be-determined bakery in town.
THE SARANAC PUBLIC HOUSE
21 W. Main Ave. | Shooting for Aug. 1
The hip-as-hell Community Building block is getting a pub in the husk of what was, until a couple weeks ago, Isabella’s Gin Joint. The most noticeable change to the space, owner Kevin Blanchat says, will be the bar, which they’re moving from the back of the house to the front. They’ll also be installing garage doors out onto the sidewalk patio and maybe out back, into the hotel’s courtyard
“We want to do fresh, local, organic, food,” Blanchat says, “tying in with the Main Market theme. We’d like to do gluten-free, vegan items mixed in with the standard pub selections.”
They’ll have more microbrews on tap than Isabella’s did, befitting the pub theme. He’s also open about shooting for an Elk-like crowd. “We’ll close at midnight,” he says, “11 during the week. We want it to have a family atmosphere.”
THE VAULT SOCIAL CLUB AND EATERY
120 N. Wall St. | thevaultspokane.com | Opening TBA
The deserted bank branch used by Terrain ‘08 is getting a permanent tenant. Despite the dark, opulent, speakeasy allure of the website, Timothy McKinney, one of four partners in the establishment, says the Vault will initially target a lunch and happy hour crowd, featuring the upscale comfort food Chef Gonzalo Carrillo pioneered at spots like the Game (which was recently shuttered). “Wall is great for lunch,” McKinney says of the pedestrian-only stretch of the street between Sprague and Spokane Falls Boulevard. “We think there’s great synergy with [lunch at] Madeleine’s. So that’s what we’ll focus on first, then we’ll work towards the nightlife.”
Menus have already been posted to the website and the club is hiring, but in order to transform it from an abandoned bank to a restaurant/lounge, the Vault needs to obtain a change-of-use permit from the city. Until that goes through, McKinney is reluctant to predict an opening day. (Luke Baumgarten)