The SOMM Journal

December 2017 / January 2018

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48 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2017/2018 { washington wine auction } THE END OF THIS SUMMER witnessed the third annual Private Barrel Auction held by Auction of Washington Wines, a non - profit organization that aims to elevate the awareness of Washington State wine both nationally and internationally. High-caliber trade and media tasted through one-of-a- kind wine futures from 20 of Washington's elite winemakers during the event, which served as a showcase for the wines' world- class quality and diversity. The full-day experience was hosted by Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery and Novelty Hill–Januik Winery, both located in the urban wine mecca of Woodinville, Washington, just 30 minutes from Seattle. Private Barrel Auction guests also attended the Auction of Washington Wines industry kick-off party the prior evening and the Winemaker Picnic event the following night, making it a three- day Washington wine fest. The Private Barrel Auction reinforces its long-term relationships with attendees seek - ing premium wines to market to their dis- cerning clientele. "As a retailer, this was a great opportunity to connect with the winemakers who are key players in our market," said John Allen, Co-Founder and Sales Manager at wine shop Vino! in Spokane, Washington. "Being in this mix is an occurrence that sustains the legitimacy of our business among the produc - ers we are serious about." More than 150 high-level wine buyers from 14 states attended the auction, which featured futures barrel sampling and lunch with the winemakers followed by lively bidding led by world-renowned auction - eer Ursula Hermacinski. A shor t panel presentation titled "Rooted in the Past, Focused on the Future" with Bob Betz, MW, offered humor, insights, and projections about Washington wine and featured indus - try leaders and influencers Ted Baseler, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates President and CEO; Rick Small, Owner/Director of Production, Woodward Canyon Winery; and David O'Reilly, Owner/Winemaker, Owen Roe. Fundraising efforts totaled $131,500, up from $76,000 in 2016 and $48,000 in 2015. Auction lots are typically sold in 60 bottle allotments. The Quilceda Creek 2015 Syrah brought in the record bid at $250 per bottle, followed by the Leonetti Cellars 2015 Mill Creek Upland Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon at $183 and the Woodward Canyon 2016 Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon at $134. Proceeds from the auction go to Washington State University's (WSU) Viticulture & Enology research program to provide much needed support for the future of the Washington wine industry, which contributes more than $5 billion annually to the state's economy. The research programs include the development of a grapevine cold hardiness model to help growers decide when wind machines are needed, as well as a deficit irrigation strategy that cuts irrigation water use by 30 percent while also improving wine quality. These programs directly assist Washington's farmers and winemakers in growing healthy plants with less impact on the environment, making fine wines that express the unique characters of Washington's terroir, and educating future generations of growers and vintners. Save the date for August 16, 2018, to attend the fourth annual Private Barrel Auction, and visit auctionofwashington for additional information. THIRD ANNUAL PRIVATE BARREL AUCTION SETS FUNDRAISING RECORD Washington Wine Cares edited by Jessie Birschbach PHOTOS COURTESY OF AWW/DUVALL IMAGES Bob Betz, MW and Founder of Betz Family Winery, leads a panel at the Private Barrel Auction. A crowded and successful third Private Barrel Auction underway in Woodinville, WA.

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