Bottom line up-front: Overall the conference provided an excellent insight into the the grape growing potential of the area, as well as the high quality wine offerings by the universally passionate winemakers/ winemaking staffs of the region.
The just-completed WBC10 was an outstanding compilation of Washington Wineries, eastern Washington AVA vineyards, and capable and passionate wine makers from the Walla Walla , Yakima Valley, Red Mountain, Prosser and Spokane regions. Wine tastings were offered from other areas including the Columbia Gorge , California wines, and Spanish wines to name others.
Pre-Conference tours of the Yakima Valley AVA (Barb Glover and the board on the Wine Yakima Valley association), and wines included Airfield Estates Winery, Barnard Griffin Winery, Chandler Reach Vineyards, Chinook Wines, Cote Bonneville, Cultura Wine, Desert Wind Winery, Grenache Vintners, Gilbert Cellars, Goose Ridge Estate Vineyards & Winery, Kana Winery, Kestrel Vintners, Knight Hill Winery, Mercer Estates, Mibrandt Vineyards, Naches Heights Vineyard, Owen Roe, Steppe Cellars, Thurston Wolfe, and Two Mountain Winery. The Prosser area features a unique collection of wineries and tasting rooms named (Prosser) Vintner Village.
The Post-tour to Red Mountain AVA (hosted by the wineries and grapegrowers of the Red Mountain AVA Alliance and Tri-City Visitor and Convention Bureau. was both enjoyable and informative including wines from Col Solare, Hedges Family Estate, Kiona, Terra Blanca Winery, and other wineries of the Red Mountain AVA Alliance.
Centered at the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel in Downtown Walla Walla, the event included practical and technical presentations on Web 2.0 technologies and techniques, wine tastings, food pairings (Chef Jeffrey Saad), Washington state wine geology (Professor of Geology Kevin Pogue of Whitman College) and valuable field trips including vineyard walks, winery visits, and winemaker-lead tasting and discussion panels. An after hours Downtown Walla Walla tasting room walkabout provided an urban touch. A fortunate few on the self named (Twitter) @jackpotbus toured the vineyards of, met, and shared wine with – Washington’s winery icon Gary Figgins of Leonetti Cellar and toured the beautiful and eclectic Basel Cellars Estate Winery.
In closing, the conference provided us an excellent insight into the the grape growing potential of the area, as well as the high quality wine offerings by the universally passionate winemakers/ winemaking staffs of the region.
We have always been cheerleaders of all wine regions and Washington state is no exception.
If you ever get the opportunity to direct your personal wine tourism towards the Northwestern-most corner of the Continental United States, try Washington and its wines and don’t forget the neighboring Columbia Gorge wines including both the Washington and Oregon offerings.