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Sunday, Sep. 21, 2008

Catch the Crush as 16 wineries show their stuff on big weekend

Columbia Valley wineries are celebrating the 2008 grape harvest with wine tasting, food sampling, tours, art displays, live music and grape stomping.

The annual Catch the Crush event runs Sept. 27-28 and involves 16 wineries in the Tri-Cities and Benton City.

The wineries are generally open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

During busy events like Catch the Crush, there's no time for washing glasses, so take one along, or purchase a VIP ticket that includes a glass.

The $20 VIP ticket entitles the holder to a crystal wine glass and extra discounts, food and special tastings at participating wineries. But remember VIP glasses are available for pickup at only six wineries: Barnard Griffin, Goose Ridge Estate Winery, Oakwood Cellars, Seth Ryan Winery, Tapteil Estate and Terra Blanca. So ticket holders need to start their tour at one of these locations.

There is no charge for regular admittance to the wineries, only for a VIP ticket. However, some wineries will charge a tasting fee.

For more information on Catch the Crush, directions to the wineries or to buy VIP tickets, visit the Catch the Crush website, www.columbiavalleywine.com/catchthecrush.htm or call toll-free 866-360-6611.

Seven wineries individually will be offering discounts to VIP ticket holders: 360 Cellars, Kennewick, 783-3601; Anelare, Benton City, 588-6171; Bookwalter, Richland, 627-5000; Buckmaster Cellars, Benton City, 628-8474; Canon de Sol, Benton City, 588-6311; Kiona, Benton City, 588-6716; and Sandhill, Benton City, 588-2699.

Wineries offering special events and activities during the Columbia Valley Winery Association's Catch the Crush are:

Barnard Griffin, Richland

Visitors can enjoy a complimentary array of imported cheeses perfectly paired with a selection of wines and a review of the pairings.

There will also be a display of fused glass by Deborah Barnard, landscape photos by Marc Wunderlich and wood crafts by John Tucker.

There will be a $10 tasting fee. Tastings at the winery will close at 4 p.m. both days.

VIP ticket holders and Barnard Griffin Wine Club members will have the fee waived.

For more information, call 627-0266.

Columbia Crest, Paterson

Two Darn Bad, a duo from Hood River who play folk/blues tunes, will perform in the courtyard from noon to 4 p.m. both days. A variety of foods will be available for sampling, plus deli selections will be available.

There will be some 20 percent discount case specials.

VIP ticket holders will receive a private vertical tasting of four vintages of Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with appropriate food matches. There will be a 30 percent discount on wines tasted in the VIP venue.

For more information, call 888-309-9463.

Goose Ridge, Richland

Goose Ridge will be featuring several "weekend-only wine specials." The picnic grounds will be open and Country Gentleman will be on hand selling pulled pork or smoked tri-tip sandwiches served with homemade potato chips for $9, homemade potato salad $2 and soft drinks and bottled water for $2.

VIP ticket holders will be able to sample a special wine and food pairing featuring newly released wines. They will also save 10 percent on wine purchases.

For more information, call 628-3880.

Oakwood Cellars, Benton City

The crush pad will be set up and weather permitting, they may be crushing. Saturday afternoon about 4 p.m., the winemaker will have a grape stomp. Call 588-5332 to sign up.

The Educated Cigar from Richland will be on hand with fine cigars and accessories and Sagegold Soaps with handmade soaps. There will be food available from Monterosso's Italian Restaurant and Atomic Ale Brew Pub & Eatery.

The Rachel Bade-McMurphy Band will perform from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

VIP ticket holders will receive 30 percent off any full or mixed case.

Seth Ryan, Benton City

Trek out to the vineyard to watch the pickers and visit the crush pad to sample the grapes and catch a taste of free run juice before visiting the tasting room.

Lunch will be available for purchase. Pianist Steve Haberman and vocalist Mary Lou Gnoza will perform from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

All red wines except reserves will be $10 per bottle.

VIP: Ticket holders will receive discounts on merchandise and wine.

For more information call, 588-6780.

Tagaris, Richland

Taverna Tagaris Winery will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. A $5 tasting fee will be applied to any wine purchase.

Lunch is served from noon to 3 p.m.; Patio Kouzina is open from 4 to 11 p.m. and dinner service is from 5 to 10 p.m. To make reservations, go to www.tagariswines.com.

Chef Frank Chullino and Winemaker Frank Roth will be hosts for a six-course winemaker's dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $90 per person, or $75 for wine club members. To purchase tickets, call 628-0020.

Portland songwriter Traci Klas will perform on the patio from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday.

VIP ticket holders will receive a 15 percent discount off any wine or food purchases. Offer is not available for case specials.

Tapteil, Benton City

The tasting room will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. In addition to wine, visitors can sample imported olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

VIP ticket holders will be eligible to win a half case of Tapteil wine, plus signed posters featuring the artist series labels from Spilya Syrah. For more information, call 588-4460.

Terra Blanca, Benton City

On Friday, from from 6:30 to 10 p.m. owner-winemaker Keith Pilgrim and Dale Shepard of Leo's Blue Moon will provide practical, delicious guidance to anyone who's ever wondered, "Why can't I drink red wine with fish?" Tickets are $75 per person, $70 for Club ONYX members. For more information, go to www.terrablanca.com.

VIP ticket holders will receive a special wine and food pairing and $5 off tickets to Friday's "Wine and Food Pairing with Keith Pilgrim."