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Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011

Wine commission makes changes to Taste Washington

SEATTLE — The Washington State Wine Commission and Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau today announced the formation of a new partnership to produce Taste Washington, the nation’s largest single-region wine and food event held annually in Seattle.

The Commission will license the event to SCVB, and the Commission will become a presenting sponsor. Beginning immediately, SCVB will assume primary responsibility for producing the event, including sponsorship and vendor arrangements, while the Commission will manage winery participation and other wine-related activities.

“Over 14 years, Taste Washington has grown to become the premier showcase for the Washington State wine industry in the Pacific Northwest,” Kent Waliser, Chairman of the Washington State Wine Commission and general manager for Sagemoor Vineyards said in a news release. “This new partnership will enable Taste Washington to continue to grow into a destination wine and food event on a national level."

Chad Mackay, 2012 Chairman of Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau and President and COO of El Gaucho, said, “Taste Washington has long been a crown jewel of our local community. By working with the Commission to produce Taste Washington, SCVB aims to bring visitors from across the country and around the world to Seattle to experience the best of our rich wine and culinary traditions.”

The Commission and SCVB also announced changes to the format for Taste Washington.

The Taste Washington Grand Tasting, previously a one-day event, will expand to two days — Saturday, March 31, 2012, and Sunday, April 1, 2012, at CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle.

The Taste Washington Seminars, held in the past at Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, will move to CenturyLink Field Event Center on Saturday, March 31, 2012. Tickets for the seminars will be sold independently of those for the Grand Tasting. And for the first time, ticket packages — inclusive of Grand Tasting tickets, seminar tickets and lodging — will also be available.

Robin Pollard, who recently announced that she will be resigning as executive director for the Washington State Wine Commission, said, “The new format for Taste Washington will maintain the event’s focus on the Washington State wine industry – a focus that truly sets Taste Washington apart from other wine and food events. Our industry will continue to be the star of the show.”

Tom Norwalk, SCVB President & CEO, said, "Taste Washington fits perfectly with SCVB’s core mission – to bring more visitors to Seattle and Washington state. Our state’s world-class wine is already a tourism driver and we look forward to working hand-in-hand with the wine industry to build on the success of Taste Washington, explore expansion of this event to multiple days or weeks and further showcase Northwest food, restaurants and chefs.”

Varsity Communications, which has provided event production services for the event for the past five years, will continue in its role. Varsity also helped produce Vintage Spokane earlier this year.

The Washington State Wine Commission launched Taste Washington in 1998. For more information on Taste Washington, please visit www.tastewashington.org.

The Washington State Wine Commission represents every licensed winery and every wine grape grower in the state. Funded almost entirely by the industry – through assessments based on grape and wine sales – the Commission is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. For more information on the Washington State Wine Commission and the Washington State wine industry, please visit www.washingtonwine.org.

Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years.