Red Wine and Chocolate is the second-biggest event of the year for the Yakima Valley wine industry, drawing more than 1,000 visitors to local tasting rooms every Presidents Day weekend.
Only Spring Barrel Tasting draws more, said Barbara Glover, executive director of the industry group Wine Yakima Valley.
The appeal is simple: The two-day event starting Saturday combines two symbols of decadence and indulgence for an inherently romantic pairing. Each participating winery offers its own take. Some have truffles or cakes, others have brownies or solid dark chocolates. Some pair the treats with merlots and cabernet sauvignons, while others break out the port or the syrah.
“It’s always fun when it’s around Valentine’s Day — chocolate and the whole romance of wine,” Glover said. “But for me, it’s just really interesting to look at those pairings. I remember the first time I had a port with dark chocolate. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.”
In addition to the culinary decadence, many wineries will offer live music or other activities. Cultura Winery in Zillah, for instance, will offer wagon rides to visitors. For specifics of what each winery will offer visit www.wineyakimavalley.org and www.rattlesnakehills.org.