A beloved February tradition returns this year with new and delectable additions.
For the first time in its history, South Whidbey’s Red Wine and Chocolate Tour will offer mead.
The event spans three weekends and six tasting rooms. Tickets cost $35 each and must be purchased in advance at wivda2022.brownpapertickets.com. Tickets sales are limited to 100 per weekend. As of Monday, about half of the tickets have been sold for the event, which runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the tour has not happened since 2020.
Hierophant Meadery, which Michelle Scandalis and Jeremy Kyncl opened in 2021 near Freeland, is brand-new to the tour. Scandalis said each ticket holder will receive a tasting flight of eight different meads paired with one Reishi Fudge Truffle from Wallace Chocolates, which are made on South Whidbey.
Seasonal meads released around Valentine’s Day include the rich chocolate-flavored Cacao Damiana, a sparkling champagne style mead with Damiana leaf and fair trade Haitian cacao. Other flavors that will be highlighted are the off-dry Rose Cardamom and the bubbly Pacific Northwest Chai, which is made with reishi mushrooms.
Besides the meadery, two distilleries and three wineries are part of the tour. All venues offer outdoor seating. Proof of COVID vaccination is not required in compliance with Island County guidelines.
Theresa Martinez, owner of Holmes Harbor Cellars, said her winery is maintaining its tradition of handcrafted truffles featuring an infusion of Holmes Harbor Cellars wine. Heated “wine igloos” on the premises can seat up to six people. Igloo rental reservations can be made by calling the winery at 360-331-3544.
Lindsay Krug said wines at Spoiled Dog Winery near Langley will be paired with fudge made by Chocolate Flower Farm, which is also a Langley-based business. All seating is outdoors only at this venue. Krug said the winery has four covered gazebos with heaters spread throughout the garden and vineyard areas.