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Bainbridge will let the corks fly with a weekend of island wines

The secret is out. Bainbridge is a wine-loving island, and its wineries are ready to prove it.

This weekend, Bainbridge Uncorked will introduce islanders — and visitors — to island wines.

Bainbridge Uncorked will cover three days, from June 22-24. It will offer an array of special wine tastings and tours through the island’s growing artisan wine scene. The event will provide unique access to winemakers and their bottled crafts.

Island wineries are looking to the occasion to bring attention to the local fervor for artisan wine.

“I think (Bainbridge Uncorked) is going to push it up to the next level,” said Alphonse de Klerk of the Rolling Bay Winery. “That’s what we are trying to do, get more visibility for folks on the other side of the pond.”

Folks from the other side of the pond, or Puget Sound, will have plenty of ways to get a taste of the island’s finest.

Downtown wine rooms will kick things off with special tastings on Friday. A $40 ticket will provide access to Island Vintners, Eagle Harbor Wine Co., Eleven Winery, and the Harbor Wine shop. All the local wineries will be featured in the tasting rooms, and admission includes appetizers.

At the Winslow Mall, in front of Eagle Harbor Wine Co., a jazz trio will help set a festive mood for passersby.

Island Vintners has been preparing for Uncorked and are ready to start pouring. The wine shop will feature Amelia Wynn, Victor Alexander and Fletcher Bay wineries, pouring three featured wines from each.

The shop will also have a local musician on hand during the evening, and will feature appetizers from Four Swallows in addition to meats, cheeses and smoked salmon from the Island Vintners’ menu.

For novice tasters, a beginners wine class, Washington Wine 101, will be offered at the Winslow Mall at

3 p.m. Saturday. The class is complementary.

And if palettes aren’t satisfied by then, the Winslow Mall will have all seven island artisan wineries in one central location from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Admission for the Saturday tasting is $50 and will include pairings with local foods.

All the action isn’t relegated to downtown, of course. There are wineries in the area who will open their doors on Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. for self-guided tours across the island. Wineries include  Amelia Wynn, Eagle Harbor Wine Co., Eleven, Fletcher Bay, Perennial Winters, Rolling Bay and Victor Alexander.

The Eagle Harbor Wine Co. has  prepared a little surprise for touring visitors.

“We’re doing something interesting and fun, I think, at the winery,” said Hugh Remash of the Eagle Harbor Wine Co. “We have a tank of Syrah ready for bottling.”

But the fresh Syrah will have an added value, and will also make quite a memory.

“Just for fun, we’re going to allow people to bottle some of that wine for themselves,” Remash said. “We’ll have the Eagle Harbor label, of course, but the back label will say it was bottled by whomever bottled it with the date.”

“I will sign the bottle if they wish,” Remash added.

Bainbridge Uncorked will not only gather the island’s wineries, it will gather visitors to the island, eager to experience the tastes of Bainbridge.

It is something that De Klerk knows well, and is more than happy to offer at his Rolling Bay winery.

“It’s not just about the wine,” he said. “It’s about the ambience, the trip, the whole experience of coming to the island.”

“When people come over to the winery, it’s not just about the wine,” he added. “It’s about Bainbridge Island.”

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