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Snohomish wine festival a chance to taste local goods

SNOHOMISH — The Snohomish Wine Festival March 5 lets people sample a diverse range of vino with the ability to chat with the winemaker.
 At some tables, the producer could be your neighbor: a community of winemakers has grown up around town.
 Snohomish’s handful of wine producers will be making a short drive to Thomas Family Farm to pour among the 17 wineries in the festival. (There’s also going to be beer, kombucha and cider.)
 The festival is put on by the Snohomish Chamber of Commerce.
 “Winemakers definitely love sharing their wines and their process, it’s a fun part of it,” chamber manager Nancy Keith said.
 Using grapes mostly grown on the hills and slopes of the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington, these winemakers caress, balance and accentuate the ingredients to produce their barrels of wine.
 The pursuit of excellence drives Rush Lattin Cellars’ Larry and Michelle Ransom. The goal: Perfecting the syrah.
 “When we started this winery, we didn’t have any business in wine,” Larry Ransom said, but they decided, “let’s go out there and have some fun.”
 The husband-and-wife team will be bringing their 2018 vintage Fiddler’s Bluff, a red syrah mixed with a light amount of grenache wine. They’ll release their 2019 vintages in April and launch their third wine.
 Oh, and they do this after-hours while having day jobs.
 “We don’t have a lot of extra time, but sharing that something special gets us up,” Michelle Ransom said.
 It takes at least two hands to count the number of boutique wineries that have emerged in the Snohomish area over the past 20 years: Furion, Shackelford and Laterus to name a few. Lake Stevens has Lantz Cellars and relative newcomer Cavelero Hill Cellars.
 Each will be pouring at the wine festival.
 A selection of wineries from Woodinville is coming to the festival, too. The area has more than 130 wineries and tasting rooms already.
 But Snohomish is now surely on the map.
 Rush Lattin’s upscaling story could parallel others: They started production in their garage. Then, they annexed the woodshed. Then, they made a deal to rent part of their neighbor’s garage as the home winery on Kenwanda Drive expanded.
 They’re now moving operations into a brand-new building in Maltby to share a space with Laterus Cellars of Snohomish.
 It takes some 40 to 50 volunteers from the chamber to put the festival together. “It’s a well put-together event, and we have volunteers who have been volunteering for years,” Keith said.
 The events attract a wide crowd.
 “The festival appeals to a wide variety — we definitely get a lot of locals, but also people from surrounding communities” as far away as Tacoma to attend, Keith said.
 The coronavirus sidelined last year’s wine festival, making 2022 a big return.
 Statewide in 2020, there were 178,500 tons of grapes harvested, the Washington State Wine Commission reports, with about 60% harvested for red wines and about 40% for white wines.

If you go
 The Snohomish Wine Festival will be Saturday, March 5 at Thomas Family Farm, 9010 Marsh Road.
 General sessions are $40 and include seven wine tasting vouchers. Two sessions are available: noon-3 p.m. or 5-8 p.m.
 There is a VIP session available for $75 that includes 10 wine tasting vouchers. Tickets for the VIP session are limited.
 Tickets available at
 This is a 21-and-over event. No exceptions, including infants.




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