And the Winners Are . . .

The Seattle Wine Society's annual judging of Northwest wines is one of the toughest such competitions going. Only 15 wines among the 200 submitted earned gold medals: Ten judging categories received no golds at all. In a state where some red wines command extravagant prices (gold winner Hogue Cellars '01 reserve cabernet sauvignon is on the low end at $45), it was notable that some moderately priced reds earned golds, among them Barnard Griffin's '02 merlot ($16 regular, currently discounted to $14). In the white categories, Canada's Okanagan Valley got golds for Hawthorne Mountain's '02 pinot gris and Sumac Ridge's '03 sauvignon blanc–based blend. The only wild-card varietal turning up gold was Italy's sangiovese, in Viento Wineworks' Columbia Valley "Cuvée Tuition" ($18). Riesling, long considered a Northwest mainstay grape, earned no golds and only three medals in all, a silver and two bronzes. Because not all wineries in the Northwest take part in the competition and because no more than 200 wines are accepted for tasting, first come first served, the event doesn't give a definitive picture of Northwest winemakers' art, but it's certainly a useful guide for those shopping for quality as well as price. The complete list of medal winners is posted on the society's Web site ( Inn Side Addition Those heading to Snoqualmie for a weekend stay at the Honey Farm Inn, and/or a nice dinner at the Wildflower Restaurant (the Honey Farm's in-house eatery), are in for a double surprise. Owner John Patterson says the transition to Italian cuisine and a simpler name (Snoqualmie Inn) occurred in mid-June; now that the heart of summer has arrived, the Honey Farm faithful are just beginning to discover the made-over version of their usual mountain getaway. La Cascina (the former Wildflower), headed up by an Il Fornaio alumnus, turns out earthy dishes like lasagna alla calabrese (with Italian sausage, percorino and mozzarella cheeses, prosciutto, and hard-boiled eggs); the inn is also home to Woods Lake Winery and frequently hosts musical events. For more info, visit Thank you, Ronald We hate to say anything good about Mickey D.'s, but the fact is that once you get the Great Satan of Fast Food moving, things happen. McDonald's latest contribution to the public good is its plan to have a minimum of 10 percent of its U.S. beef consumption traceable from farm to table by 2005. This puts the burger behemoth at least three years ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which claims to be still studying cost-effective ways of keeping track of food animals throughout their brief careers. What's more, a McDonald's spokesperson pledges to increase the percentage of traceable foods until one day they'll "draw a line in the sand" and purchase only animals with lifetime IDs, allowing the company to respond in 48 hours or less to any food-safety "issue." Again, compare the USDA, which still hasn't accounted for some of the cattle that shared corral space with the mad "downer" cow discovered in Washington last year. Of course, with the company's new "healthy" emphasis on salads, they'll have to come up with a way of tracking lettuce for salmonella soon. Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at

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