Log in
Log in
  • Home
  • Virtual Happy Hour: Washington vs. California Comparative Tasting

Virtual Happy Hour: Washington vs. California Comparative Tasting

  • Thursday, July 23, 2020
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM (MST)
  • Zoom Meeting (Details to Be Sent Day of Program)


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:

Registration is closed

California remains America's favorite domestic growing region for world class wines- a well deserved spot at the top of the heap due to decades of hard work by intrepid and enterprising winemakers and growers. It boasts a wide variety of climates and geographies, enabling it to produce wines of many different varietals and styles. Its popularity has seen an increase in market value, with the average bottle of California red now fetching more than $15!

Washington State's wine industry is a bit younger than California's, and yet has already staked a claim to some of the finest domestically-produced varietal wines in America. Many experts would argue that Washington State is now the leading producer of domestic Syrah, and makes a unique style of Merlot and Cabernet that is beginning to rival California in quality (if not always dollar). Washington's winegrowing regions are a bit larger and more climatically monolithic than California's- but they offer a perfect mixture of low precipitation, nutrient-poor but well-drained soils, and more sunlight-hours per year than anywhere in California.

As a wine merchant, it was the hunt for value that made Wes Cowie a Washington State True Believer. He has found that selling Washington wines requires a bit of evangelizing- as most customers' first thought remains (understandably) California. Hence a comparative tasting!

You are invited you to join Peter Dougherty and Wes CowieI for a delicious exploration of American wine growing on the west coast!  We will taste 4 different wines, 2 Chardonnays (1 from California and 1 from Washington), and 2 Cabernets (1 from California and 1 from Washington).  By using the grape varietals as a control factor, we can more clearly examine the differences in style offered by these two very different regions.  Attendees are encouraged to purchase their own wine in advance to participate in the tasting.  We will be tasting the following wines:


  • Substance Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington State
  • Landmark Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California


  • Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet, Columbia Valley, Washington State
  • Decoy Cabernet, Sonoma County, California

Click here to review AFHE President Michael Whitty's reference materials about these wines.


Wes Cowie is the owner of Colonial Beverage in Chesterland Ohio. After working at a number of wine shops in Washington DC, Wes returned home to Northeast Ohio in 2009 and began writing wine lists and buying wine inventory for a boutique winebar/ restaurant in Hudson, Ohio.  Following this he had a three-year stint at a large Ohio Wine Distributor.

In Feb 2016, Wes and his father completed the purchase of Colonial Wine- we will be celebrating 5 years of business in February 2021.

Over 16 years of experience has helped Wes develop what has become a vast and varied base of knowledge and tasting experience. Before the pandemic struck, he sat for the first round of the Sommelier exams in February 2020 and was recognized as the top scorer in the class.

Wes is passionate about democratizing wine enjoyment. Wine is fundamentally something to be shared and enjoyed in a convivial atmosphere.


There is no charge to participate in this webinar, but pre-registration is required.

Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises

AFHE Headquarters

P.O. Box 518
Mount Laurel, NJ, 08054
Phone: 201-591-AFHE (2343)
Fax: 856-727-9504

Connect on LinkedIn

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software