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Wednesday, May. 21, 2008

Embrace 2 days of wine in June at Vintage Walla Walla

WALLA WALLA — Immerse yourself in the Walla Walla wine scene during Vintage Walla Walla, two days of wine tasting, seminars, cooking demonstrations and vineyard tours.

The June 6-7 events, with the exception of the tours, are centered on the Whitman College campus.

Each day there will be a major wine tasting. On June 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Walla Walla wineries will pour samples of their wines from 2001 or later.

Winemakers and winery owners will discuss how their vintages are aging and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Cost is $100 per person before June 1 and $125 per person afterward.

On June 7 from 2 to 5 p.m., more than 50 Walla Walla Valley wineries will pour tastes of current and newly released wines. There will be cooking demonstrations by regional chefs and a silent auction featuring oversized bottles of wine. Cost is $65 per person before June 1 and $80 per person afterward.

A ticket to either day’s wine tasting is required to participate in any of the weekend classes, cooking demonstrations or vineyard tours.

Scheduled for June 6 are:

-- A tour led by Professor Kevin Pogue, chairman of the Whitman College Geology Department and co-author of a geologic field trip guide to the Walla Walla Valley. He and a panel of Walla Walla wine growers will discuss the valley’s terroir, its unique and varied terrain and soils. The tour runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Cost is $30 per person, $35 after June 1.

-- Learn how to pair wines with selected cheeses from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Cost is $45 per person, $55 after June 1.

-- Lunch in the vineyard with winemakers is from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guest chefs will prepare an array of grilled foods paired with Walla Walla wines. Cost is $65 per person, $80 after June 1.

-- Wine critic Paul Gregutt of the Wine Enthusiast will lead a discussion on vintage Walla Walla wines and how they’re aging. There will be vintage and current wines from four outstanding Walla Walla wineries to sample. The event runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Cost is $85 per person, $90 after June 1.

Scheduled for June 7 are:

-- A tour of the area led by Pogue. He’ll discuss the valley’s terroir, its unique and varied terrain and soils. The tour runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Cost is $30 per person, $35 after June 1.

-- Learn the art of blending wines from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. with enologist Mike Moyer. Participants will have a hands-on opportunity to custom blend a sample of wine. Cost is $45 per person, $55 after June 1.

-- Pogue will lead a discussion, along with a panel of Walla Walla winemakers, from 1 to 2 p.m. on the valley’s terroir, its soils and terrain. This event is included with a ticket to either day’s tasting, but advance reservations are required.

If you’re planning to attend, be sure to make a firm commitment. Tickets to all the weekend activities are nonrefundable.

For full details, prices and to purchase tickets, go to www.wallawallawine.com and click on “Vintage Walla Walla.” Or call the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, 509-526-3117.