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Walla Walla Winemakers Go On Tour To Promote The Region

Tom Carmony
Wine barrels at Russell Creek WInery in Walla Walla, Wash.

The Northwest wine industry has matured to the point where certain regions are trying to set their wines apart -- think the Willamette Valley pinots, or Columbia Valley cabs.

Winemakers also want to court upwardly mobile city-dwellers while their still developing their taste for wine. Now, they’re taking their show on the road in increasingly flashy style.

Duane Wollmuth is the head of the Walla Walla Wine Alliance. He says wine regions are increasingly marketing themselves on several sophisticated levels. First, they’re pushing American wine over Europe and South America. Second, they’d like it to be a Northwest bottle.

And now they want you to try the unique flavors of each specific region.

To get the message across, winemakers are hitting the road, much like rockstars on tour with a new record. Recently, Wollmuth and his Walla Walla cadre spent tens of thousands of dollars trolling fresh vintages in New York, Seattle and Portland.

“We try to get the wineries out and about so that people can get exposed to Walla Walla wines and really learn about the industry here, and also the opportunity so they can hopefully plan a trip,” he says.

The next event featuring small plates and loads of fermented juice from Walla Walla is set for later this month in Portland. Next year, they’re looking toward Austin, Texas and San Francisco.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.