SPOKANE, Wash. — The second annual Taste Washington Spokane, a traditional wine and food pairing event, will feature more than 60 Washington wineries and 20 restaurants from across the state on June 22.

More than 400 wine enthusiasts are expected to attend the event at The Davenport Hotel, 10 S. Post St. Tickets are $75 each for the event and $25 each for the seminar (limited availability) and can be purchased by calling the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce at (509) 624-1393 or logging on at www.washingtonwine.org. A complete list of participating wineries and restaurants is listed at the site.

“For its second year, the Taste Washington Spokane event has tripled the number of wineries pouring and doubled the number of restaurants serving at the event,” said Greg Bever, chair of the event’s steering committee. “We are very pleased that the event has come under the Washington Wine Commission’s umbrella and become a signature Taste Washington event.”

Taste Washington Spokane is modeled after the successful Taste Washington events held annually in Seattle, which draws more than 3,000 attendees, as well as New York, Chicago, Tokyo and Bordeaux, France.

“We are pleased to extend the reach of Taste Washington to the state’s eastern border by bringing it to Spokane,” said Jamie Peha, Taste Washington event director.

The event will benefit the WSU Viticulture and Enology Program and the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management. Ticket proceeds will also benefit the Davenport District Arts Board, a key program in the restoration of core buildings in downtown Spokane. A prime example is the recently renovated Davenport Hotel. Attendees will be awed by the magnificent luxury hotel and will see for themselves some of the energy behind the emerging Davenport District, organizers said.
The Davenport District Arts Board goes hand-in-hand with supporting the region’s hand crafted wines and foods.

New to this year’s event is the “Experience Syrah” wine seminar. Two 45-minute sessions will educate those thirsty to learn more about the grape and the expectations for the syrah wine it produces. Seminar goers will then compare and contrast the expressions of the wine from four different areas.

“America’s hottest new grape sensation has been growing on the banks of the Rhone River Valley for centuries,” said Denney Rutherford, WSU School of Hospitality Business Management faculty member. “Taste the Syrah experience across three continents and judge for yourself if Washington’s Columbia and Walla Walla valleys can play with the big boys of California, France and Australia.”

Another added feature to this year’s event is variety wine bars. Four tables will be reserved for wine connoisseurs to compare and contrast merlots, cabernet sauvignons, syrahs, sauvignon blancs and chardonnays from more than 20 different Washington wineries.

“This event is important for the wine industry because it showcases the premium wine being produced throughout the state,” said Jim van Loben Sels, general manager of Arbor Crest Wine Cellars. As part of the planning committee for the event and a Washington Wine Institute board member, van Loben Sels demonstrates just how much the wine industry is united in promoting Washington state.

A silent and live auction will add to the festivities of the evening with proceeds benefiting the WSU Viticulture and Enology Program and the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management. Both programs provide skilled labor for Washington’s wine and hospitality industries. Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on a number of incredible packages, including numerous large format bottles of Washington wines, instant wine cellars, trips, a Broadway show and more. To preview auction items, visit www.spokane.wsu.edu/News%26Events/auction2003.asp

The Taste Washington Spokane steering committee consists of representatives from across the Spokane community including the Journal of Business, Davenport District Arts Board, Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce, Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Washington State University Spokane with direction from the Washington Wine Commission.

Other Media Contacts:
Wineries & Food:
Jim van Loben Sels, Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, (509) 927-9463, jim@arborcrest.com

Seminar, Auction & WSU Involvement:
Kaarin Appel, WSU Spokane, (509) 358-7528, kappel@wsu.edu

Spokane Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau:
Nancy Goodspeed, Convention & Visitors Bureau, (509) 742-9373, ngoodspeed@visitspokane.com