On the weekend of April 24th-26th the Clatsop County Fairgrounds hosted the 33rd Annual Astoria-Warrenton Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival. Located in the lush green hills near the mouth of the Columbia River, this spot was a sublime setting for a weekend of tasting wine and culinary delights from the Pacific Northwest region.
At only $10 admission price, $1 to $2 wine tastings and food for purchase, this festival had much to offer anyone who loves wine, fresh seafood, local brews, and live music. Multiple shuttle services from Astoria and Warrenton at $3 round-trip allowed adults to enjoy the libations freely with the pleasure of knowing they were getting home safely. The festival kicked off at 4pm on Friday and continued through the weekend, ending at 4pm on Sunday. Nearly 50 Oregon wineries and nearly 100 handmade arts and crafts from Pacific Northwest artisans were set up, providing something for everyone. The Astoria Rotary Club prepared a full crab dinner while the food tent offered everything from oysters to fish tacos to hand-dipped corndogs.
We got back on the shuttle bus back to town, smiling faces flushed. Everyone was laughing like old friends, sharing stories of their favorite wines and foods, and carrying wine home by the case.
We took the shuttle from the Astoria Crest Motel and arrived at the fairgrounds Saturday afternoon around 2pm. Although this seemed to be one of the busiest times to be there, we got in right away with no lines or waiting. We slowly made our way to the food tent, tasting various delicious Oregon wines along the way. Some favorites were the 2012 Alchemy Reserve Pinot Noir from K & M Wines, the Melrose Vineyards 2012 Pinot Gris, and the Hawkins Cellars 2012 Sangiovese. We also tasted some more obscure wines, like the delightful Oak Knoll Winery Marionberry Wine and the Season Cellars Transparency, which is a unique sparkling white blend of Muller Thurgau, Muscat, and Riesling grapes. Each taste of about an ounce is $1, and many vendors sell glasses with a generous pour for anywhere from $6 to $10. We couldn’t resist breaking up the wine tasting with a couple of local brews; Fort George’s 1811 Lager and Vortex IPA and the Rogue Morimoto Imperial Pilsner were a nice change from the wines. We shared some baked oysters with shrimp and parmesan from Just Shuck It Oyster Company, a Bavarian pretzel from Urban German, and of course the crab dinner from the Astoria Rotary Club, complete with slaw and corn on the cob. One popular vendor was OMG Oils and Vinegars, who showcased a variety of vinegars and infused olive oils, all available to taste with a small square of bread. Another favorite was BeeShea. Made with 100% pure shea butter and infused with essential oils like Ylang Ylang, Lavender, and Peppermint, this is an all-over body butter that smells and feels delectable! Bellies full, we sauntered back into the main tasting room and finished the afternoon with more marvelous wines from various regions in Oregon. We got back on the shuttle bus back to town, smiling faces flushed. Everyone was laughing like old friends, sharing stories of their favorite wines and foods, and carrying wine home by the case.
I would highly recommend making notes on your favorites, as the number of different wines can be quite overwhelming and difficult to keep track of, but that is part of the beauty of an event of this magnitude! This festival is a perfect event for anyone looking to expand their knowledge of splendid Oregon wines and foods and Astoria is a quaint and picturesque town that is the perfect weekend getaway!