A sunny day, a taste of wine, and thou

South Sound Wine Trail tasting and chocolate passport event wraps up successful weekend

rboone@theolympian.comMarch 4, 2013 

A steady stream of wine enthusiasts stopped at Medicine Creek Winery in the Nisqually Valley on Sunday, capping a successful spring event for the South Sound Wine Trail.

The South Sound Wine Trail, which is home to six wineries in Thurston County and one in Mason County, has two events throughout the year, including Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s wine and chocolate passport event during the first weekend in March.

Visitors buy a “passport” to taste wines at all the wineries.

The South Sound Wine Trail’s next event is its fall passport in the second weekend in September.

Medicine Creek Winery is a stop on the trail. It operates out of a barn that was built in 1984, which was later renovated into a winery and tasting room, designed to look like a late 19th century hotel or saloon. The property was home to a U-pick pumpkin farm for 20 years and then gradually shifted to wine, said co-owner Liz Myers, who was busy filling wine glasses Sunday.

Medicine Creek has been selling wine to the public for five years, even though the Myerses have been making wine for 13 years, she said.

“We started out in our basement, and now it’s a hobby out of control,” Myers said.

The winery purchases its grapes from the Walla Walla area and produces about 650 cases a year, she said. It produces only red wines; several have won awards, Myers added.

The winery opened at noon. It was slow during the first hour, and then was suddenly overflowing with people during the second hour, perhaps many spurred to participate because of Sunday’s sunny weather. About 50 people crowded around the bar during that second hour, tasting wine or moving from the bar to another table covered with chocolates and candies.

Some made Medicine Creek their first stop on the tour, while for others it was their last stop before heading home.

Dan and Angie Davis of Olympia made it their first stop, before moving on to the Hawks Prairie area of the county, which is home to three wineries: Stottle Winery, Madsen Family Cellars and Northwest Mountain Winery. Both were surprised to learn that Thurston County had so many wineries.

For friends Lindsay Haggerty and Crystal Beeler of Lacey, Medicine Creek was their third stop on the trail, after visiting Scatter Creek Winery in Tenino and Walter Dacon Wines in Shelton.

Both said all the wineries were busy, and Haggerty singled out a red wine at Scatter Creek that had appealed to her palate.

The two of them also sang the praises of a new winery in Tenino called Mill Lane, which was not part of Sunday’s trail.

Medicine Creek was the last stop for Michael Erway and Carol Catlin of Tacoma. They were impressed with the Medicine Creek location and enjoyed all of the wines on the trail, buying a few bottles along the way. Although they have visited wineries throughout the state, it was the first time to try the South Sound Wine Trail, they said.

The two don’t consider themselves experts, although if the wine is bad, they’re not against “dumping it down the drain,” they said.

Co-owner Myers said about 260 people visited the winery on Saturday and Sunday.

“It was a great weekend,” she said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog

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