Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine – The World of Merlot

June 14 through June 16, 2018

More than 60 Walla Walla Valley wineries, guest winemakers from the world’s leading wine regions, esteemed speakers and an acclaimed author will headline Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine – The World of Merlot, to be held at various locations throughout the Walla Walla Valley June 14 to 16, 2018. “Celebrate” showcases a different wine varietal each year comparing and sharing the similarities and differences of the Walla Walla Valley with other leading wine regions around the world. This year’s schedule includes new events and classic Celebrate events, reorganized to allow attendees increased exposure to Walla Walla Valley winemakers, wineries, and establishments along with intimate exchanges with guest speakers and panelists.
“The revised schedule provides attendees with more free time between the structured events to wander Walla Walla,” explains Ashley Riggs, Chief Operating Officer of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “Between educational seminars and large-scale tastings, guests can visit tasting rooms, indulge in local cuisine and discover the charm of Walla Walla’s vibrant downtown.”

The 2018 Celebrate series will begin the evening of Thursday, June 14 with the beloved Vintage Pour event at the newly constructed Doubleback winery where guests will taste rare and exclusive wines produced by local wineries from the 2011 vintage and earlier. The following morning, attendees will be entertained at the World of Merlot: Kick-Off Event in the historic Gesa Power House Theatre. Local Geologist Dr. Kevin Pogue will lead a lively discussion with critically acclaimed author Rex Pickett, whose wine-centric novel, Sideways, was the base for the Oscar-winning film of the same title. Infamously known for flipping the script on Merlot, Pickett is thrilled to join the Celebrate dialogue, share his journey with this noble varietal and explain what makes Walla Walla Valley Merlot “powerful, deep, beautiful and clearly built to be cellared.”

Friday’s events continue with an updated time for the Merlot Grand Tasting where guests will sample and compare over 100 premiere Merlots and other varietals from Walla Walla Valley wineries. Event host Foundry Vineyards will feature installations by local artists Augusta Sparks Farnum and Kim Nemeth in their contemporary gallery space.

The day concludes with three auxiliary sessions that highlight the Merlot-convert’s impact on the wine industry; all sessions are centered around Sideways, Pickett’s acclaimed novel. There will be a complimentary screening of the movie inspired by the novel, Sideways at the Gesa Power House Theater, with an introduction to the film by Pickett. In addition, “The Author’s Table: Dinner with Rex,” will be held at the Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant. Under 30 tickets are available for this intimate six-course paired dinner crafted by Chef Jamie Guerin.

Saturday, June 16 will start with the Wine Panel Presentations and Tastings, previously held during Friday’s events. This new time slot clears the palate to fully immerse in Celebrate’s most educational session. Moderated by local winemaker Ashley Trout, the panel consists of winemakers and vineyard managers from the Walla Walla Valley, California and beyond. Guests will get to taste Merlot from all producers in this showcase of Walla Walla Valley on a global stage.

Celebrate concludes Saturday night with Collaborative Winemaker Dinners throughout the Walla Walla Valley. Attendees will experience an exclusive evening as winemakers and chefs, both local and visiting, come together to create extraordinary food and wine experiences.

About Celebrate Walla Walla Valley:
Formed by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance in 2013, Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine is the region’s signature wine event held annually in June. The event series is structured to showcase a different wine varietal each year, historically focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot. Over the course of three days, the events demonstrate how wines can vary among the world’s leading regions resulting from different growing conditions, winemaking styles, and vineyards through special tastings of rare vintage wines, educational seminars, and one-of-a-kind winemaker dinners.

You’ll find a complete schedule of all of Celebrate Walla Walla Valley’s events, including times and ticket prices for each event at: www.celebratewallawalla.com or you can call the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance at (509) 526-3117.

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