The SOMM Journal

April / May 2016

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Page 42 of 108

42 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2016 THIS APRIL WINE BUYERS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY will descend upon basaltic flood plains in Eastern Washington in hopes of getting access to some very exclusive wine lots. Think 60 bottles of Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon, five cases of a Bordeaux blend from Pepper Bridge Winery, or a clonal selection of Clones 99 and Phelps from Grammercy Cellars. Picture Cabernets from Seven Hills Vineyards, one- of-a-kind blends made as collaboration between multiple wineries and savage Syrahs from the newly minted Rocks District. Napa has Auction, and now Walla Walla has Reveal. April's auction, which will be presided over by Ursula Hermacinski, will be the first of its kind for the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. The trade-only event is meant to raise funds for the Alliance, and awareness for the region. Buyers, sommeliers and wholesalers, on the other hand, will get the chance to kick some wind-blown loess and buy wines that will never see the light of day in any other marketplace. "It a unique way for Walla Walla brands to break out of an ocean of competition," says Dusted Valley Winery's Corey Braunel. "With the recent consolidation of distribution, it's harder and harder to get into shops and in front of consumers. Bringing in these great buyers from around country will give big and small wineries the chance to get in front of people across the U.S." Reveal commences in the shadow of a Deborah Butterfield cast-bronze horse on Sunday, April 17, with a reception at Foundry Vineyards. From 4:30 until 6:30 wineries from across the region—not only those with barrels in the auction—will pour reserve and library wines for attendees. An afterparty will follow outside at a vineyard across town. Then, on Monday morning, April 18, buyers will have the chance to barrel sample all 38 lots in advance of the 3:30pm live auction. Some 100 buyers are expected to attend, and registration— including for those wishing to bid absentee—is open at Newbies take note: Walla Walla is roughly four hours east of Seattle and Portland. Alaska Airlines serves the Walla Walla Airport—which is surrounded by 25 or so tasting rooms and an incubator—and is offering discounts (use code ECMW597) for flights between April 13 and 27. Delta, United and Alaska also serve the Tri-Cities Airport, roughly 50 miles away. Only after the bidding is over—and the Syrahs and Cabs and blends have finished their aging—will the wines be bottled, each under a Reveal-designated label, with its lot number front and center. ON APRIL 18, BUYERS GET A CHANCE TO BID ON EXCLUSIVE WASHINGTON STATE WINES by Julie H. Case Walla Walla Launches an Auction The wines will be bottled under a Reveal-designated label, with its lot number front and center. PHOTO: WALLA WALLA VALLEY WINE ALLIANCE/RICHARD DUVAL IMAGES On the morning of April 18, buyers will have the chance to barrel sample 38 lots in advance of the auction. { pacific northwest }

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