On Monday, March 7, I flew to Seattle to participate in the judging for Seattle Magazine's Washington Wine Awards and some winery visits. Here's a recap of my day.

I took the 6 a.m. Horizon Airlines flight out of Walla Walla, arriving in Seattle at 7. I picked up a rental car and drove to the South Seattle Community College where the Washington Wine Awards judging was being held at the Northwest Wine Academy, the college's winemaking program. There, the Program Coordinator, Regina - "Reggie"- Daignault showed us around the program's facilities. Then the wine judging commenced at nine. We went through about one hundred wines, scoring them on a 20 point scale. We finished at about 11:30. We then had lunch, grilled ham and cheese croissants prepared by the College culinary program, while the scores were being compiled. After lunch, we judged the top wines in each category for the Red Wine and White Wine of the Year. The winners will be revealed in the August issue of Seattle Magazine.

After the judging, I tasted the Northwest Wine Academy's current releases. including an impressive Chardonnay for under $20 and a tasty Reserve Red Wine. The wines were made from donated grapes from vineyards such as the Wycoff Farm and Doc Stewart. The reviews will be in the April issue of the Review of Washington Wines.

I then drove to Esquin Wine & Spirits on Fourth Avenue South and placed an order for some wines to be shipped to me. I also tasted three Bartholomew reds, including a new "5th Quarter" blend of Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cab Franc (19/20 points). The wines will be reviewed in the April issue.

After Esquin, I drove to Structure Cellars on First Avenue South where I met the owners, Brian Grasso and Brandee Slosar. The wines lived up to their name with structure as well as accessibility. These included "Newel," an interesing combination of 51% Syrah and 49% Cabernet Franc. The "Foundation" Syrah was particularly impressive (19/20 points). The wines will be in the April issue.

After Structure Cellars, I drove back to SeaTac, turned in the car, had supper at Anthony's in the airport, took the 8:20 flight back to Walla Walla and got back home at 9:25, ending my day.