Washington wine industry prepares for annual convention

By on January 2, 2016


KENNEWICK, Wash. – The Washington wine industry will get together next month when the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) stages its annual convention.

WAWGG’s convention will take place Feb. 9-11 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in the heart of Washington wine industry. It is filled with seminars, awards dinners and a trade show.

WAWGG is headed by Vicky Scharlau, its longtime executive director, who came to the wine grape industry from Washington’s apple industry. Since taking over WAWGG, she has been instrumental in building the annual convention into one of the largest wine-related industry meetings, often drawing more than 3,000 attendees.

WAWGG convention seminars

Kevin Corliss, shown here in Cold Creek Vineyard, serves as vice-president of vineyards for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

Kevin Corliss, vice president of vineyards for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, is one of the speakers at next month’s Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers convention in Kennewick, Wash. (Photo courtesy of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates)

The three-day convention is loaded with seminars. Here’s a rundown of what is on the schedule.

Tuesday, Feb. 9:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon clones, a seminar and tasting run by Kevin Corliss, vice president of vineyards for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
  • Tasting room training with Tim Gaiser, a Master Sommelier.
  • Getting a job in the wine industry with Trent Ball of Yakima Valley Community College in Grandview.

Wednesday, Feb. 10:

  • State of the industry with several speakers.
  • Spanish language seminar for viticulture managers and supervisors. It is led by Victor Palencia, director of winemaking for J&S Crushing.
  • Water symposium for vineyards, Part 1, with David Minick, vineyard director for Precept Wine.
  • Water usage symposium for wineries, led by Steven Sealock, winemaker for Pacific Rim Winemakers.

Thursday, Feb. 11:

  • Rhône revolution seminar and tasting, conducted by Rob Bigelow, Master Sommelier and director of education for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
  • Managing pests, led by Doug Walsh of Washington State University.
  • The lunch speaker will be Ted Baseler, president and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
  • Viruses from grapes to glass, led by Scott Williams, winemaker and owner of Kiona Vineyards & Winery.
  • Wine packaging, led by JJ Williams of Kiona Vineyards & Winery.
  • Professional development through ethical leadership, led by Lacey Lybeck of Sagemoor Vineyards.
  • Water symposium for vineyards, part 2, with David Minick, vineyard director for Precept Wine.
  • White wine fining, with Will Wiles, enologist for Col Solare.
  • Applied wine chemistry, led by Hillary Sjolund of Sonoris Wines.
  • Cold damage mitigation and management, led by Gwen Hoheisel and Michelle Moyer of Washington State University.

The convention will take place on the campus of the Three Rivers Convention Center, which includes the adjacent Toyota Center and a new connecting hotel.

For more information about attending the convention, contact WAWGG via its website.


About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is founding partner of Great Northwest Wine LLC and a longtime wine columnist. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books.

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  1. Hosting says:

    WWIF is actively working on new grants and scholarships to advance Washington wine. Sign up for our newsletter to find out how we’re working for you.

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