What to Drink for Chinese New Year? Year of the Snake

Year of the Snake
Year of the Snake

February 10, 2013 is a new Chinese New Year.  This new year will be the Year of the Water Snake. It begins on the first day of the first lunar month (usually in late January or early February) and ends on the 15th day of the first lunar month (Lantern Festival).

According to Chinese Horoscopes, “Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means your family will not starve. This could be taken metaphorically to mean that a Snake could never have a problem with his family starving because he is such a great mediator, making him good at business. Or it could mean that a Snake would be willing to sacrifice his possessions, something the Snake has a lot of, in order to pay for his family’s food. Any way it is interpreted is representative of the Snake’s character and is a measure of the value he puts on his material wealth. The Snake is keen and cunning, quite intelligent and wise…A person born in the year of the Snake can be Acute, Aware, Cunning, Proud, Vain, and Vicious,,.” (http://www.usbridalguide.com/special/chinesehoroscopes/Snake.htm)

Snake Wine?

Are there any wines that have a snake in the name of the wine or the name of the winery?  I did check and there is wine made with snakes in Asia, but we do not have that here in North America, as far as I know.  The closest thing I have found to wines related to snakes, is the Snake River Valley AVA that covers part of Idaho and Eastern Oregon.  According to Wikipedia, “The Snake River Valley AVA in an American Viticultural Area that encompasses an area in Southwestern Idaho and two counties in eastern Oregon. … for wines to bear the Snake River Valley AVA label, at least 85% of the grapes used for production must be grown in the designated area, which includes the Southwestern Idaho counties of Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, Jerome, Owyhee, Payette, Twin Falls, and Washington, and the Eastern Oregon counties of Malheur and Baker. The boundary encompasses 15 wineries, 46 vineyards, and 1,800 acres (728 ha) of commercial vineyard production.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_River_Valley_AVA).

This region produces wines using the grape varieties Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Canadice, Chardonnay, Cinsault, Gewurztraminer, Grenache, Lemberger, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Riesling, and Syrah.  With such a range of grapes, I am sure that there is something for any Asian dish that you are going to serve on Chinese New Years.

Which wineries are in the Snake River Valley AVA?

Can I buy these wines in BC?  I did a check on the BC Liquor Stores website and did not find anything.  If you want to find some, I suggest making a quick trip into Washington state.  Snooth.com does have a list of Idaho wines, and if you click on one of the wines in the list, it will bring you to a page showing companies selling that wine. I did find several WA shops selling the Idaho wines.  Here is the link to Snooth’s Idaho wine web page.

More Snakes in Washington

Rattlesnake Hills AVA
Rattlesnake Hills AVA

Upon further reflection I remembered that there is another “snake” AVA, this one is the Rattlesnake Hills AVA in eastern Washington State.  According to Wikipedia ” Rattlesnake Hills its appellation status on March 20, 2006, making Rattlesnake Hills Washington’s ninth federally recognized American Viticultural Area.[3] The Rattlesnake Hills AVA is entirely contained within the Yakima Valley AVA, which is in turn is entirely contained within the larger Columbia Valley AVA. The hills form the northern boundary of Yakima Valley, and the AVA includes land between the north bank of the Sunnyside Canal and the entirety of the southern slopes of the Rattlesnake Hills between Outlook and the Wapato Dam. The AVA is centered around the city of Zillah.” ()

It also grows a wide variety of grapes, including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Malbec, Merlot, Muscat Canelli, Petite Sirah, Riesling, Semillon, and Viognier. With 17 wineries and 29 vineyards, it provides many Washington producers with Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Riesling.

The wineries in this AVA include:

Again, if you want to find these wines, check out snooth’s webpage for Rattlesnake Hills AVA here.  You can get further details about this AVA from the Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail website.

Enjoy and Happy Chinese New Year!

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.