People crowd around the QFC stage as the two local chefs prepare their dishes in the cook-off. Courtesy photo.

People crowd around the QFC stage as the two local chefs prepare their dishes in the cook-off. Courtesy photo.

Kirkland uncorks more than 80 Washington wines for its weekend festival

The 13th annual Kirkland Uncorked festival took place last weekend.

  • Tuesday, July 24, 2018 8:30am
  • Life

The 13th annual Kirkland Uncorked wine festival took place overlooking the water at Marina Park on the weekend of July 13-15.

The festival was split into two parts, a 21-and-over tasting garden and an all-ages street fair. The event featured more than 80 types of wine from approximately 30 world-class Washington wineries. According to a few self-proclaimed wine connoisseurs, the fan favorite was the 2014 Carmen from Naches Heights Vineyard in Yakima.

Upon paying an entrance fee, festival goers received a wine glass and 10 tokens to use for various samples around the park. The tasting garden featured wine tasting, live music, a burger brawl and a grill-off between two local chefs.

“On Friday night, we had our annual burger brawl,” said John Thorburn, marketing director of the festival. “We had six different Eastside restaurants come along and compete to make Eastside’s best burger.” According to Thorburn, Kirkland’s own local restaurant, The Lodge, won for the second year in a row.

One highlight from Saturday was a grilling competition between two chefs from the Kirkland area. QFC provided many of the ingredients for the “Chopped”-style contest.

“We are going to reveal ingredients and they’re going to make a main dish and side dish to prepare for a panel of judges, one of which is the mayor of Kirkland,” said Thorburn prior to the grilling competition.

For the fourth year, Kirkland Uncorked is a benefit for one of Washington state’s leading non-profit, no-kill animal shelters. Since being founded in 1990, more than 25,000 animals have been saved through the rescue, shelter and adoption programs.

Outside of the tasting garden, the street fair features a boat show, the Uncorked Market, CityDog dog modeling contest and a food truck feast. On Saturday, 10-12 different food trucks lined up in the parking lot outside the tasting garden to offer street food.

Sunday marked the 11th annual Cover Dog model search for CityDog Magazine. People brought their dogs in hopes of being selected by the judges to be featured in the magazine.

According to Thorburn, there was a boat show in the marina where people could view and tour 30 different brand new boats. As the average weekend temperature reached a scorching 80 degrees, many festival goers opted to drink their beverages while dipping their feet in the water.

Local resident Gracie Oberender had been to Uncorked Kirkland the previous year and was visiting again with some friends.

“It’s close to home and it’s fun,” said Oberender. “I had a really good time last year and it forces you out for the day.”

Oberender’s friend Marie Bury explained that she came to the event in order to be with her friends and support a good cause, such as the Humane Society.

This is Thorburn’s fifth year as the marketing director for Uncorked Kirkland. He explained that this year could be the biggest year by the looks of the crowds. According to Thorburn, people were really excited for the event this year and ticket sales proved to be very strong.

“We’ve got great partners in the community,” said Thorburn, referring to some of their local sponsors, such as Grape Choice, Fred Meyer and QFC. “We love to keep it local.”

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