Calendar of Events
EDITOR’S NOTE: To promote your wine event on our Calendar of Events, simply e-mail the specifics about the event to: email@example.com. It’s best to send your information to us at least 30 days prior to the event.
2020 Bellingham Northwest Wine Festival Cancelled, but Wine Judging Will Proceed as Planned
The 5th Annual Bellingham Northwest Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting, originally scheduled to be held on Saturday, July 25, has been cancelled due to health concerns related to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The judged competition portion of the Festival, however, will proceed as planned. The Festival’s organizers, the Whatcom Beer & Wine Foundation, plan to conduct judging at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Bellingham on July 10 and 11. Social distancing and health and safety guidelines will be observed at all times during the judging.
The competition is open to wineries from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia. Last year, nearly 200 wines representing 61 wineries were entered. The Foundation expects to exceed those numbers in the 2020 judging.
Registration has been simplified to encourage participation, and because there will be no categories, wineries will have the flexibility to enter as many and different types of wines as they choose. Also, recognizing the economic challenges resulting from the pandemic, the foundation is offering affordable entry fees and just a two-bottle requirement for each wine entered.
The Foundation will also be offering several benefits to wineries entering the judged competition, including the use of its social media outlets to promote winery-related events, posting of winery website-linked logos to the Foundation’s website, and post-event publication of all medal winners. All of these services will be provided to participating wineries at no extra cost.
In addition, wines that are awarded Gold, Double Gold and Best in Show honors will qualify for Wine Press Northwest Magazine’s Platinum Judging event, scheduled for the fall of 2020. The deadline for entries is Friday, July 3. Entry forms are available on the Foundation’s website at: www.whatcombeerandwinefoundation.org/awards-and-judging.
Net proceeds from the judging will be distributed to the Foundation’s designated beneficiaries for 2020, including two Whatcom County based non-profit organizations: Northwest Youth Services and the YWCA.
2020 Horse Heaven Hills
Trail Drive Cancelled
Due to the Coronanvirus Pandemic, the Board of Directors of the Horse Heaven Hills Winegrowers Association have announced that the organization’s 2020 Horse Heaven Hills Trail Drive, scheduled for Saturday, July 18, has been cancelled. However, they plan to bring the event back on Saturday, July 17, 2021.
The annual Trail Drive is a popular self-guided tour of vineyards located in Washington State’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA that ends up with a barbecue dinner at an island in the Columbia River called Crow Butte Park. For more information about next year’s event, call Paul Champoux, Chairman of the event and owner of Lady Hawk Vineyard at (509) 948-5759.
Auction of Washington Wines
Moving to Virtual-Only Events in 2020
AWW’s first virtual auction this year was held during the five-day period from May 6 to May 10. It took the place of the Auction’s in-person Wine & Music Festival held annually at Col Solare Winery in Benton City, WA. A total of 174 bidders raised $20,330.
AWW’s 33rd Annual Wine Weekend of events in August will shift to a virtual auction for participants to enjoy in the comfort of their homes on Saturday, Aug. 15. Additional details about the annual summertime celebration will be announced soon. AWW leaders made the decision to go the virtual-only route for the safety and wellbeing of all patrons, donors, sponsors, winemakers and staff.
Auction of Washington Wines Announces
Series of Seven Virtual Tasting Events
In addition to its Aug. 15 Virtual Auction, the Auction of Washington Wines will host a brand-new Virtual Tasting Series featuring its 2020-21 Honorary Chair, Karen MacNeil and presented by Wells Fargo Bank. Washington winemakers will explore the world of their wines through virtual tastings held between June 18 and August 20 with subjects ranging from “Red Mountain and Bordeaux” to “Is Cab King in Washington?”
The series will be offered at no cost and will be hosted by MacNeil on the Zoom platform. During each session, MacNeil will taste through a stellar selection of wines while talking with industry greats such as Col Solare’s Darel Allwine, Bookwalter Winery’s John Bookwalter, Delille Cellars’ Jason Gorski and Honorary Grower Rob Mercer of Mercer Family Estates.
Participants will be able to pre-purchase wines for each tasting at retail partner, Seattle’s Esquin Wine & Spirits. Wines will be available for curbside pickup at Esquin or can be shipped to your home.
MacNeil is author of the award-winning book, “The Wine Bible,” and the winner of several industry awards, including the Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year (James Beard Foundation). She created WineSpeed, the leading digital e-letter for fast, authoritative information about wine. Her articles on wine and food have been published in more than 50 newspapers and magazines worldwide.
“The current stay-at-home world has provided a unique and exciting window of opportunity for this series to come to fruition,” said AWW Executive Director Jamie Peha. “Karen MacNeil is an incredible host — and this series will introduce and connect wine lovers to the state’s industry.”
“There are so many stories surrounding the Washington wine world,” said MacNeil. “I am very much looking forward to talking with the state’s prominent winemakers, all while tasting some of the finest wines Washington state has to offer.”
Interested participants can register on-line at: www.auctionofwawines.org/karen-macneil-virtual-tastings. The schedule for the series is as follows:
Washington Wine Trailblazers – Thursday, June 18 at 5:30 p.m. – This kick-off session features L’Ecole No 41’s Marty Clubb, Long Shadows Vintners’ Allen Shoup and Woodward Canyon Winery’s Rick Small. All have been instrumental since the early days of the Washington wine industry boom and have impacted its foray onto the national and international scene.
From Generation to Generation – Thursday, July 2 at 4:00 p.m. – Featuring Bookwalter Wines’ John Bookwalter and Caleb Foster, Mercer Family Estates’ Rob Mercer and Januik Winery’s Andrew Januik, this discussion will revolve around family winemaking and how these extraordinary individuals have elevated the wineries they inherited to the next level.
Washington Women in Wine – Thursday, July 16 at 4:00 p.m. – Warr-King Wines’ Lisa Packer, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Leah Adint and Wautoma Spring’s Jessica Munnell will join in conversation about how they’ve created their own “seats at the table” in the still male-dominated wine industry.
Red Mountain and Bordeaux Style Wine – Thursday, July 30 at 4:00 p.m. – Featuring Fidelitas Wine’s Charlie Hoppes, Sparkman Cellars’ Chris Sparkman and Col Solare’s Darel Allwine, this virtual tasting will explore Washington’s smallest and most coveted AVA – Red Mountain.
World-Class Washington State Merlot – Thursday, August 6 at 4:00 p.m. – A conversation with North Star Winery’s David Merfeld, Pepper Bridge Winery’s Jean-François Pellet and Hightower Cellars’ Kelly Hightower, this installment will dive into the high-quality, award-winning Merlot produced in Washington.
Is Cab King in Washington? – Thursday, August 13 at 4:00 p.m. – Featuring Betz Family Winery’s Steve Griessel and Louis Skinner, Canvasback’s Brian Rudin and Delille Cellars’ Jason Gorski, the discussion will center on Cabernet’s iconic role in the Washington wine landscape.
One-of-a-Kind Approaches to Washington Wine – Thursday, August 20 at 4:00 p.m. – This conversation with Sean Hails of Columbia Winery, Kevin Correll of Barrage Cellars and John Ware of Rocky Pond Estate Winery will highlight some of Washington’s most diverse and innovative wineries.
This year’s Auction of Washington Wines’ weekend of events will take place entirely online in a virtual environment, with this new series as just one component of what’s to come. For more information about AWW and the August events, please visit: www.auctionofwawines.org.
About the Auction of Washington Wines
Since its inception in 1988, the Auction of Washington Wines has raised more than $50 million, benefiting Seattle Children’s Hospital and Washington State University Wine Science Center. Events hosted by AWW give wine lovers the chance to support Washington state’s wine industry and its families and communities across the state.
Annual Celebrate Walla Walla Valley
Wine Event Postponed until July 2021
The Walla Walla Valley’s signature wine event, Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine, which was scheduled to take place July 16 through 18, 2020, has been postponed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic and has been reschedule for July 15-17, 2021. The three-day event is made up of grand tastings, educational seminars and winemaker dinners and has been an annual showcase of Walla Walla wine since 2013.
“With so many moving parts, including international and domestic travel for our esteemed speakers and panelists, along with guests traveling to the Walla Walla Valley from all over the country, we wanted to provide the appropriate amount of time to modify arrangements for attendees, participating wineries and hospitality partners by rescheduling this event,” said Robert Hansen, Executive Director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “Our Board of Directors felt it most prudent to take the step of postponing Celebrate in the best interest of the health and safety of our communities,” Hansen added. “All ticket purchases for the postponed 2020 event will be refunded in full.”
Celebrate highlights a different wine each year, and the 2020 event was slated to focus on celebrating Syrah, the second most widely grown grape in the region. In addition to being widely grown, Walla Walla Syrah is among the most popular wine varietals in the region. Syrah lovers need not fret, however, because Syrah will still be the focus of the event in 2021.
In light of the postponement of Celebrate until next year, the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance is asking for support from friends and supporters of Walla Walla Valley wineries near and far in the form of purchasing wine online. Wherever you live, you can browse specials and purchase wine at: www.wallawallawine.com/event/online-wine.
“The decision to postpone Celebrate was a difficult one to make,” Hansen continued. “It will deeply impact the small businesses within the wine industry in the Walla Walla Valley, including wineries, hotels, restaurants and transportation providers, along with many others. We encourage those who would have otherwise visited the Walla Walla Valley this summer to support the industry in other ways. There are some great promotions and creative packages available online. We hope supporters of Walla Walla Valley wineries will consider buying gift cards for future visits and we hope everyone will save the date for next year’s Celebrate event.”
To receive updates about Celebrate 2021, visit: www.celebratewallawalla.com.
Saint Martin’s University Food & Wine Festival – Saturday, August 8
The Saint Martin’s University Food and Wine Festival, the best happy hour in town, makes a comeback on Saturday, Aug. 8 at the University’s campus in Lacey, WA. The Festival, featuring wineries and breweries from the greater South Puget Sound region and beyond, will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Hal and Inge Marcus Pavilion. Proceeds from the Festival will benefit student scholarships. This year marks the 125th Anniversary of Saint Martin’s as a Catholic, Benedictine institution of higher learning. A special pre-event VIP reception from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. will feature delicious bites and drink pairings.
“This Festival combines two important Benedictine values: community and stewardship,” said Cecelia Loveless, the University’s Vice-President of institutional advancement. “As we come together to sample great wine and delicious food, we support students’ educational dreams.”
Wineries participating in the event include Marchetti Wines, Naches Heights Winery, Convergence Zone Cellars, Heymann Winery, Three of Cups Winery, Stottle Winery, Scatter Creek Winery, Silver Lake Wines, Davenport Cellars and Wynooche River Winery. Seven breweries and one distillery will also be participating in the Festival.
General admission tickets are available online at www.stmartin.edu/festival. Tickets are $25 if purchased before July 15. After July 15, tickets are $30 online or $40 at the door. Guests have the opportunity to purchase tickets or tables to the pre-event VIP reception. Individual VIP tickets are $125 and VIP tables are $1,000. The VIP reception includes early entrance to the Festival as well as 125th anniversary memorabilia. Both the Festival and the VIP reception are 21-and-older events.
For more information about Saint Martin’s University’s 125th anniversary, visit www.stmartin.edu/125.
About Saint Martin’s: Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains.