A decade ago the weather forecast for the weekend after Thanksgiving was make-or-break for the local wine industry; even the threat of snow on Snoqualmie Pass could keep Seattle-area wine buyers from making the trip to Yakima Valley tasting rooms for Thanksgiving in Wine Country.
That’s not the case these days. Other industry events have ascended to offset the weather-related volatility of the once heavily marketed Thanksgiving in Wine Country and Red Wine and Chocolate weekends, the latter of which is in February. Catch the Crush in October is now a bigger deal than either.
So where does that leave Thanksgiving in Wine Country? It’s now geared more toward locals with family in town than it is to destination-seeking wine-tasters.
“Really what we see now is the families,” said Barbara Glover, executive director of industry group Wine Yakima Valley. “People who have family in town, they like to showcase the best of the area for their guests. It’s still a good weekend, but it’s the smallest of the events we do.”
With that in mind, Wine Yakima Valley tried a new approach this year, marketing Thanksgiving in Wine Country as a monthlong thing, starting Nov. 1. This weekend is still the biggest part of it, but there have been special deals and promotions for weeks at local wineries.
“We made that shift to help people buying wine for the holidays,” Glover said.
After all, you can’t buy wine for Thanksgiving the weekend after Thanksgiving.