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What I Offer You

Experience. Expertise. Exclusive Access.

My 15 years of Northwest wine experience is available to you via a series of unique services and products, each designed to give you exactly the level of Northwest wine knowledge and insider access you are seeking. From publicly, available-to-all information, to  easily-affordable membership-based exclusive wine review access, to premier-level professional and personal consultation, I offer my experience, expertise, and exclusive access to Northwest wineries to you:

EssentialNorthwestWines.com

This freely accessible website is the most comprehensive web home of Northwest wine information available. The website includes the following features:

Cole’s Essential Northwest Wines Blog. Constantly updated blog posts keep you “in the know’ on Northwest wine developments and gives you the up-to-the-minute inside scoop on Northwest wines, wineries, winemakers, and winegrowers—not to mention informed opinion and advice on Northwest wine issues of interest to consumers.

Northwest Wine “Inside Scoop” Feature Stories. Each month the website offers an exclusive in-depth feature story on a key Northwest winery, wine personality, or regional wine issue of immediate interest to wine lovers—The Inside Scoop. This content that can’t be found anywhere else!

Featured Essential Northwest Wine Report Cards. Every week I’ll offer 2 to 4 new, free, and highly detailed ENW Report Card reviews so you’ll discover new Northwest wines you’ll love. No one reviews Northwest wines like I do, and nowhere else can you find as much information about Northwest wines. The result? I help you find the best wines to match your palate (an affordable ENW Membership will give you full access to all ENW Report Card reviews—see the next toggle subject).

Northwest Wine Countries Overview. In keeping with my goal of giving you the most comprehensive information on Northwest wines, EssentialNorthwestWines.com also offers you reference sections on each of the region’s major wine countries, accessed via the “NW Primer” menu tab. Quick reference maps and descriptions, plus background information on geography climate, and viticultural styles helps you understand what makes Northwest wine distinctive.

ENW Report Cards

For a low ENW Membership price you get exclusive access to a constantly updated database of detailed reviews of Northwest wines—many more than are posted for free access on EssentialNorthwestWines.com. Cumulatively, this will grow into the most comprehensive analysis of wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and Idaho available online! Every week over a dozen new ENW Report Cards are published exclusively for ENW Members and not available to the general public (approximately 50 per month). What’s more, these reviews are unlike any wine reviews you’ve seen before:

A sample ENW Report Card.

A sample ENW Report Card.

Detailed Qualitative Description of How the Wine Looks, Smells, and Tastes. I have been professionally reviewing Northwest wines since 1998, and for each review I give you a detailed narrative of how I perceive all the salient characteristics of each wine, including color and clarity, aroma nuances, flavor qualities, fruit components, acidity, tannin, balance, length, and all other organoleptic aspects of the wine. The goal is to share my perception of the wine so you have a better idea of what you can expect before you decide to buy. Of course, my experience of the wine will be different from yours—wine tasting is an individual experience—but by using my palate as a data point, over time my reviews should enable you to make buying decisions that better match your own palate preferences.

Evaluation and Grade. Beyond just a description of the wine, I give you my personal evaluation along with a report card-like grade (I do not believe in the exactitude of numerical scores, and instead use the broader classification of our familiar school grading system). For instance I answer key questions such as: Is the wine typical of the vintage, or the producer’s style?; Is it over-oaked, or too hot?; Does the wine have good balance?; Is it ageable?; How does it stack up to other similar wines?; Just why did I give it the grade I did?

The Story of the Wine. It’s great to know what a wine tastes like, but to fully appreciate it you need to know how—and why—it was made the way it was. ENW Report Cards dig deep into the background of each wine to give you a comprehensive understanding of its background: What is its composition, the grape clones, the age of the vines?; Where did the grapes come from, the elevation of the vineyard, the soil type?; Was there anything distinctive about the fermentation or the cellar procedures?; What was the barreling regime?; Where does the wine fit in the winery’s portfolio? In some cases, the winemaker’s background will be provided and perhaps he/she will be quoted about the specific wine under review. No other Northwest wine review source provides such depth and detail to help you find wines you’ll love. Take a look at a typical ENW Report Card. Click the button to learn more about subscribing.

ENW Report Cards.

ENW Tasting Seminars

Tasting Northwest wines.

Tasting Northwest wines with a knowledgeable guide is the best way to become acquainted with this exciting wine region.

Have you ever wondered why pinot noir is so widely grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, but barely grown at all in Washington—and why it tastes different from California pinot? Or why so much cabernet sauvignon and riesling are grown in Washington and so little in Oregon? Or who the newest boutique wineries are in the Seattle area, or the Columbia Gorge? A little knowledge goes a long way to increasing your enjoyment of Northwest wines. That’s why I’ve developed a series of Essential Northwest Wine Tasting Seminars for you.

You can kick-start your enjoyment of Northwest wines by attending an ENW Tasting Seminar. Through a breezy, entertaining, and personalized 1.5-hour seminar (for up to 20 attendees), you’ll get all your Northwest wine questions answered and taste through some of he region’s most impressive wines. You’ll come away with a complete understanding of what makes Northwest wines distinctive. Topics include the geology, topography, and climate that influence the character of Northwest wine grapes, as well as the history, people, and winegrowing culture that produces the styles of Northwest wines you enjoy. And as part of the seminar, I’ll guide you through a tutored tasting of specially-selected Northwest wines so you’ll be able to taste for yourself the special character of Northwest terroir.

ENW Wine Safaris

In the vineyard with ripe grapes.

When possible, you’ll get into the vineyard to see vines up close . . .

When I organize your visit to Northwest wine country, you will experience an exclusive, personalized wine safari—not a typical tasting tour. My Essential Northwest Wine Safaris give you private, privileged, and personalized winery, vineyard, and tasting experiences in Northwest wine countries. Created for the serious wine connoisseur and collector, each Safari is individually designed to give you an exclusive, behind-the-curtain involvement in whatever aspect of Northwest wine most interests you. Here are some of the features and benefits ENW Wine Safaris offer:

Sorting just-picked grapes.

. . . and perhaps observe first-hand key winemaking processes.

Customized Experience. I will consult directly with you to understand what you want to get out of your Northwest wine country visit, and then collaborate to design an itinerary that fulfills your goals. I do not conduct cookie-cutter tours. The wine safari we plan will be unique to you.

Exclusive Access.  Your winery visits will be private, and you will go beyond the tasting room to experience all aspects of the winery, from examining estate vine rows to wandering the barrel room. Tastings will include unreleased barrel samples (usually with the winemaker), current reserve and/or single vineyard releases, and when appropriate, library wines from older vintages.Whenever possible, our visits to wineries and/or vineyards will include meetings with the owner or winemaker.

Personal Consulting. I personally conduct every ENW Wine Safari. At all times I am available to answer questions, provide guidance, and serve as a resource to optimize your experience.

Winemaker getting a barrel sample.

. . . before tasting barrel samples of newly-made or unreleased wines.

Every participating couple or individual receives a copy of my book Essential Wines and Wineries of the Pacific Northwest to take with them after the Safari, as well as a year’s membership to ENW Report Card reviews.

Turnkey Experience. We will arrange all aspects of your ENW Wine Safari, to your specifications. After consultation, we will arrange lodging and dining to your desires—or leave that to you, as you specify. The Safari itself will be conducted using our own well-appointed vehicle, but we can also arrange transportation to and from airports. If culinary-related side trips are desired (perhaps a visit to Portland or Seattle restaurants in conjunction with your ENW Wine Safari) we will make recommendations and arrange the excursion to conform to your needs. Our desire is that while on your ENW Wine Safari you will have no responsibilities other than tasting, learning, and enjoying.