Northwest Wine Encounter Weekend Returns for Third Year

Winemakers, industry experts, and food and wine enthusiasts alike will gather in Bellingham this June to celebrate delicious food, exquisite wines, and the artisans behind them during the third annual Northwest Wine Encounter.

Taking place June 1 to 3, 2018 at Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center, the third annual Northwest Wine Encounter promises to delight guests with a full schedule of food and wine related activities, seminars, and events.

Hosted by Seattle Times wine columnist Andy Perdue, as well as Northwest Wine Encounter co-founders and organizers Suresh Rao of DS Vintners and Eric Degerman of Great Northwest Wine, this year’s event kicks off on Friday with a winemaker reception and is followed on Saturday by a gala dinner where guests can sip acclaimed Pacific Northwest wines paired alongside expertly made cuisine.

Northwest Wine Encounter

Photo courtesy Northwest Wine Encounter

Wineries highlighted at this year’s event include Pepper Bridge Winery (Walla Walla, Washington), Spring Valley Vineyard (Walla Walla, Washington), Dunham Cellars (Walla Walla, Washington), Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards (Roseburg, Oregon), and Telaya Wine Co. (Garden City, Idaho).

“Anyone interested in tasting some of the Pacific Northwest’s most famous wines and wants to learn about them from the folks behind them should consider spending the first weekend in June at the Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham,” said Rao.

In addition to delicious food and wine, the three-day event also will be an educational experience, featuring a series of informational seminars hosted by Pacific Northwest winemakers and other industry experts.

One seminar, Multiple Expressions from Walla Walla’s Pepper Bridge Winery, invites guests to taste the subtle differences in one of Walla Walla Valley’s most iconic vineyards. Considered one of the founding fathers of Walla Walla’s wine industry, the seminar will be led by Pepper Bridge Winery founder and former Washington Wine Commission chair Norm McKibben.

With decades of experience, McKibben said he looks forward to sharing insight into Washington state’s wine industry and — more specifically — the Walla Walla Valley with Northwest Wine Encounter guests.

“The Washington state industry and Walla Walla Valley especially has just exploded in recent years,” said McKibben. “The valley has grown from three wineries when I started to over 140 today.”

Photo courtesy Northwest Wine Encounter

With a number of industry experts in attendance, McKibben said this informational and experiential weekend is a great opportunity for enthusiasts interested in getting involved in the industry.

“For anyone interested in being in the business, the smartest thing they can do is come to an event like this,” said McKibben.

Another seminar featured during the weekend, Wine Speed Dating will provide each guest the opportunity to spend a few minutes one-on-one with each winemaker.

“You get to taste, listen, and learn the story behind each wine being poured that afternoon,” said Rao.

Joining McKibben will be Serge Laville of Spring Valley Vineyard, David Blair of Dunham Cellars, Carrie and Earl Sullivan of Telaya Wine Co., Stephen Reustle of Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards.

Other seminars include:

  • The Ascendance of Syrah, Washington state’s rising gem
  • A Taste of Spring Valley Vineyard, Wine Spectator Top 100 Choice
  • A Family Affair: Discover the advantages and challenges of including parents and children in the winemaking world.
Northwest Wine Encounter

Photo courtesy Northwest Wine Encounter

Packages for the third annual Northwest Wine Encounter start at $399 per person, and include a two-night stay (including breakfast) at the recently renovated Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center, as well as access to the winemaker reception, seminars, tastings, and gala dinner.

The 2018 Northwest Wine Encounter is sponsored by DS Vintners, Great Northwest Wine, Experi, B-Town Kitchen & Raw Bar, jcoco, Seattle Magazine, and Twin Sisters Creamery. For more information about the third annual Northwest Wine Encounter, or to reserve your spot, visit DS Vintners online, or call 650-270-8791.