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Raise a Glass and Toast to …

Raise a Glass and Toast to …

The sun is shining and warmth fills the air. There is nothing quite like relaxing on the patio after a long day, opening that bottle of wine that has been calling your name and pouring a glass. Whether it's gathering with friends for the weekday happy hour or enjoying the weekend’s beautiful sunny afternoon, dining and imbibing with good company is a good time to share a nice bottle.

Wine. No matter what the season, or the occasion, every day is worthy of a good glass of wine. Bold reds, crisp whites, rosés and bubbles … summertime is just as good as any time of year to enjoy any and all. Though we’ve all heard that certain wines pair best with particular flavor profiles, well, you can throw that out the window. There is no right or wrong when it comes to wine and your food-pairing selection. Though some may say a white wine will go best with fish, if you prefer a cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir, know that your personal palate pairing will be the perfect one!

“I tend to think of white and rosé wines during the summer because of their light, fresh and fruity characteristics,” says Natalie Barnes, winemaker at Latah Creek Wine Cellars in Spokane Valley. “One reason why I love rosés is because you get all of the berry flavors from the red grape variety but in a light, fresh, white-styled wine, making it absolutely delightful to enjoy on a warm, sunny day.”

When selecting which wine will pair well, several things must be taken into consideration including the heartiness of the food and the dominant flavors. Both reds and whites can be light, medium or full bodied. If cooking up lighter foods, such as fish, chicken and vegetables, a lighter wine is the better choice, as you don’t want the wine to overpower the flavors of the food. Take note: For those foods such as barbecued chicken or marinated shrimp, the flavors of the ingredients and seasonings will dominate the dish. And for foods with a stronger flavor profile, such as steaks, burgers and sausage, a more robust wine is the best pairing in order to complement the flavors and without getting lost. Meat, no matter how it’s seasoned, will be the prominent flavor.

Red wines typically pair well with barbecued steak, but as Natalie suggests, you should be sure to chill your red in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to get it down to cellar temperature, which is between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.“I think that makes the pairing, especially for summer, perfect!” she says.

Natalie also suggests a nice sangria. Though you can purchase premade sangria, these tend to be overly sweet. Instead, opt for making your own. She recommends using one bottle of red wine (of your choice) and one can frozen concentrate pink lemonade. Prepare the lemonade as instructed on the can, add in wine, and then add sliced citrus fruits for a beautiful presentation. You can also add frozen grapes, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or strawberries to the pitcher with the sangria when serving (still frozen). “This will keep the Sangria chilled without watering it down,” says Natalie. “Then, at the end of the night, take the wine-soaked berries, scoop them out onto pound cake, add a dollop of whipped cream, and you have the best shortcake ever!”

It is important to stay hydrated when imbibing in the warm days of summer, especially when day drinking, so be sure to drink one non-alcoholic beverage for every glass of wine. Water of course is best, and Natalie suggests making these drinks “fun” by adding frozen berries, cucumber and basil, or lemon and oregano. “And try adding sparkling water for additional texture in your mouth!”

Good food, great wine and summertime. There’s no going wrong. Enjoy!

Four Wine Events:

June 15, 2019

The Pour - A Wine Event

Held on the beautiful grounds of Arbor Crest Winery in Spokane, Washington, The Pour is a spectacular evening with gourmet wine dinner and auction featuring some of the region’s finest vintages. The event includes a pre-dinner grand tasting as well as a selection of wines that are perfectly paired with four delectable courses. The wine will begin flowing at 5:30pm. Funds will be raised for Providence Health Care Foundation, with proceeds benefiting the B.E.S.T. child psychiatry program at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital and the Providence Neuroscience Institute. For more information, call 509.474.4594 or email or

Arbor Crest Winery

Spokane, Washington

4705 N. Fruit Hill Rd.

July 11 - 13

Crave! Food & Drink Celebration

Discover the region's best tastemakers coming to Crave! Northwest. Sample and interact with a huge assortment of the Inland Northwest’s best wineries, breweries, ciders, distilleries, artisans, restaurants and caterers during this three-day event held at CenterPlace at Mirabeau Point Park in Spokane Valley. There will be more than a dozen wineries on-site throughout the weekend, including local wineries Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, Castaway Cellars, Maryhill Winery and Robert Karl Cellars. For more information, including event schedule and to purchase tickets, visit their website.

CenterPlace at Mirabeau Point Park

2426 N. Discovery Place

Spokane Valley, Washington

July 21, 2019

Vintage Spokane

Vintage Spokane: A Wine and Food Affair, highlights the award-winning and up-and-coming wineries throughout the Northwest, each offering samples of their amazing wine. Join them at The Davenport Grand Hotel and sip wines from more than 50 of the region’s most celebrated wineries. Vintage Spokane is one of the area’s largest summer wine and food events. VIP ticket holders have access to the event an hour early, from 2 to 6pm, and general admission tickets grant you access to the event from 3 to 6pm. There are a limited number of tickets available to attend this event—just 150 tickets—so purchase your ticket today.

Davenport Grand Hotel Ballroom

Spokane, Washington

333 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

July 21 & 22

Schweitzer Mountain Northwest WineFest

Join Schweitzer in Sandpoint, Idaho, at their fifth annual Northwest WineFest! Purchase your souvenir wine glass with tasting tickets and get tasting at “Wine Valley.” The two-day festival is held on the Schweitzer Village Lawn and features multiple bands playing throughout the weekend paired with more than a dozen regional wineries offering dozens of wines, a craft beer tent, barbecue, arts and crafts vendors and activities for the entire family. Wine tastings take place Saturday, 11am to 6pm and Sunday, 11am to 5pm. To find out more, call 208.263.9555.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort

Sandpoint, Idaho

10,000 Schweitzer Mountain Rd.

September 1 4

Pend d’Oreille Winery Harvest Party

Celebrate the harvest during this fall tradition at Pend d’Oreille Winery in Sandpoint. Owners and winemakers Jim Bopp and Kylie Presta continue to bring the community together through this annual family friendly tradition the second Saturday of September. Gather with family and friends 1 to 5pm for an afternoon of grape stomping fun, live music, prizes, great food and spectacular wine specials. Help them celebrate this year's harvest and the start of their favorite time of year … crush! Even better, this event is free for all to attend! For more information, call the winery at 208.265.8545.

Pend d’Oreille Winery

Sandpoint, Idaho

301 Cedar St.

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