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Oregon and Washington opt for London ‘Encounter’ in latest shake up of generic tasting formats

Published:  16 February, 2018

The annual Oregon and Washington tasting in London is to morph into a series of highly focused events this year, with each targeting a specific interest group in the UK trade under the banner ‘Encounter Oregon and Washington State Wines’.

In response to what the organisers describe as a general “fatigue with the annual trade tasting format”, both regions have decided to preface the familiar ‘welcome all comers’ style of tasting with a series of masterclasses and events running over two days on 12 and 13 March.

Taking inspiration from multi-day events such as Oregon Pinot Camp, Taste Washington and Riesling Rendez-Vous, the first day of the London Encounter will feature a mix of Oregon seminars and masterclasses.

These will include a seminar aimed at MWs and MW students, a ‘Secret Sommelier’ tasting, a ‘pop up’ Chardonnay and non-Pinot red session, and an invite only ‘Magnum Opus’ party, where magnums of top wines from the two states will be poured and explored.

On the second day, writer Richard Hemming MW will host a morning seminar on ‘The evolution of Washington reds’, before a more familiar tasting format returns with the opening of doors on a joint Oregon and Washington State main tasting from noon to 5PM.

“Both regions desired to grow their tasting event beyond the boundaries of a generic annual tasting and this March sees the beginning of a series of ‘Encounter Oregon and Washington State Wines’ events,” said Kate Sweet, who represents both the Oregon Wine Board and Washington State Wine in the UK.

From 2013 to 2015 Oregon and Washington partnered with the Wine Institute of California to form the collective Go West tastings, but parted ways in 2016 when California decided to move its annual London tasting to September.

The Encounter format is the latest of a number of new initiatives from generic bodies and others to refresh and shake up the traditional annual tasting format, with countries including Argentina, South Africa and Chile using a mix of trade and consumer events, funky venues and break out special focus tastings to spice up their approach and better engage with communicators and trade. 

Encounter Oregon and Washington State Wines will take place on 12 and 13 March at Level 2, OXO2 on London’s south bank.

Monday 12 March

11am, Oregon Seminar for MWs and MW Students

3pm, Oregon Seminar 'Unexpected Oregon'

11am to 5pm, Oregon 'Pop Up' tastings: Oregon Chardonnay and Non-Pinot noir Reds

6pm-8.30pm, 'Magnum Opus' - Invite only

9pm til late, 'Secret Sommelier' tasting - Invite only

Tuesday 13 March

10.30am Washington Seminar 'Washington Cabernet 10 years on', chaired by Richard Hemming MW

Noon to 5pm, Oregon & Washington General Tasting

For more information contact: