Washington grape growers schedule 15 seminars for annual convention

By on January 13, 2015
The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers trade show opens Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, at Toyota Center in Kennewick.

The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers trade show opens Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2015, at Toyota Center in Kennewick. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

KENNEWICK, Wash. — It’s less than a month before the 18th annual Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers convention begins Feb. 10, but the discount for early registration ends this Friday.

washington wineThe four-day conference and tradeshow for grape growers draws more than 2,000 members of the wine industry from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and beyond to the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. It concludes Friday, Feb. 13, with the WAWGG industry awards luncheon.

On Wednesday, Feb. 11, the trade show begins. Its popularity has grown since its inaugural year of 1998, and the limited floor space inside the nearby Toyota Center continue to force the growing number of vendors with large equipment to showcase their wares outside and field questions in the Columbia Valley’s bitter cold and biting wind.

The schedule opens at noon, Tuesday, Feb. 10, with the poster session as educators and researchers share information with growers, winemakers and other members of the wine industry. The session manager is Richard Hoff, director of viticulture for Mercer Canyons in Prosser.

This year’s WAWGG Industry Unity Banquet on Thursday, Feb. 12, will spotlight Prosser’s Laurie Kennedy as guest chef.

Kennedy, a Texas native and executive chef of Horse Heaven Saloon, graduated from the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Culinary Institute and went on to work as a pastry chef in New York City at such acclaimed restaurants as Montrachet, Butterfield 81 and Mansion. She moved to the Pacific Northwest and worked at Gathering Together Farm in Philomath, Ore., prior to arriving in the Yakima Valley. Her history in Washington wine country includes Wine o’Clock Wine Bar and Bistro in Prosser.

The Unity Banquet, which featured Wenatchee Valley chef Daniel Carr last year, is staged in conjunction with the Washington Wine Industry Foundation’s Angel Share Auction. Tickets for the banquet can purchased at conference’s registration desk.

Copa Di Vino operates a booth at trade shows such as the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers in Kennewick. (Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Members of the Copa Di Vino team from The Dalles, Ore., staffed a booth during the trade show at the 2014 Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers annual convention in Kennewick. (Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

This year’s schedule of 15 seminars includes:

Tuesday, Feb. 10

Wine Etiquette: Taste Wine, Talk Wine, Serve Wine Like A Pro
Learn the characteristics of Washington wine, the AVAs and how to serve wine at its ideal temperature. Plus, speakers will give tips on how to answer those tough wine questions that most wine servers try to avoid, as well as provide help on describing wine and detecting faults. In this session, you’ll learn how to taste wine, talk wine and serve wine like a pro. (Speakers — David LeClaire, sommelier, Seattle Uncorked and Esquin Wine Merchants, Seattle; and Kristine Gimse-Bono, sommelier/winery evangelist, Alexandria Nicole Cellars, Prosser. Session manager — Shae Frichette, proprietor, Frichette Winery, Benton City). Cost — $55.

Group Decision Making: Getting to Yes (wine industry leadership development)
Anyone who has been a part of a group decision making process knows it’s not always quick or easy and requires a lot of time and a series of different negotiations. So how can a group set itself up for success? (Speaker — Joshua N. Weiss, Ph.D., W.L. Ury & Co., senior fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project, East Longmeadow, Mass. Session manager — Ryan McAdams, viticulturist, Ste Michelle Wine Estates, Prosser). Cost — $75.

Understanding DOE’s Proposed General Winery Permit
Last May, the Department of Ecology proposed a general permit for winery wastewater discharges to protect water quality by requiring wineries to implement protective wastewater management practices. DOE cites potential adverse impacts including degradation of groundwater through over application of untreated winery wastewater. In addition, for discharges to municipal wastewater treatment plants, the high strength and fluctuating discharge rate of a winery may upset treatment plant operations. In July, the DOE announced it would develop a general permit. DOE is gathering information to aid in the development of a preliminary draft permit to share with the public. (Speakers — Chelsea Desforges and Bill Moore, water quality specialists, Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia. Session manager — Steven Sealock, winemaker/manager, Vinmotion Wines, West Richland. Advisors: Joy Andersen, senior winemaker, Snoqualmie Winery, Prosser and chair, Winerywise Steering Committee). Cost — this seminar is free.

Wednesday, Feb. 11

Focus on Vintage Variation: Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 vs. 2013
Washington has enjoyed and endured challenging vintages such as 2011 (coldest on record) and 2013 (warm), providing grape growers and winemakers with different sets of problems and rewards. This session is designed to explore the various challenges faced in the vineyard and winery in these vintages and provides practical solutions to help winemakers and Washington grape growers produce grapes and wines that they can be proud of. (Speakers — Dick Boushey, owner/manager, Boushey Vineyards, Grandview; Kent Waliser, director of vineyard operations, Sagemoor Vineyards, Pasco; Gilles Nicault, director of winemaking and viticulture, Long Shadows Vintners, Walla Walla; Paul Draper, CEO/winemaker, Ridge Vineyards Mountains, Santa Cruz, Calif.; James Harbertson, Ph.D., associate professor of enology, WSU-IAREC, Prosser. Session manager — David Forsyth, winemaker, Four Feathers Wine Estates, Prosser).

Focus on Viticulture (presented in Spanish)
High-quality wines are produced from high-quality fruit. This day-long session, presented in Spanish, will follow the path from healthy vine establishment to the production of quality fruit and include presentations about clean plants, viruses/diseases, irrigation practices and available tools for managing pests and irrigation. (Speakers — Victor Palencia, director of winemaking, J & S Crushing LLC, Mattawa, and owner of Palencia Wine Co., Walla Walla; Teodulo Jimenez, production manager, Inland Desert Nursery, Benton City; Lauri Guerra, plant pathology project coordinator, WSDA, Prosser; Benita Matheson, environmental specialist, plant protection Division, WSDA Plant Service Program, Ephrata; Alexandra Campbell, graduate student researcher, plant pathology department, University of California, Davis, Calif.; Leo Garcia, professor, HOEEP & LAEP for viticulture, Wenatchee Valley College; Francisco Sarmiento, professor, HOEEP & LAEP for viticulture, Wenatchee Valley College; Melba R. Salazar-Gutierrez, Ph.D., assistant research professor, Biological Systems Engineering-AgWeatherNet, WSU-IAREC, Prosser; Marshall Edwards, operations manager, Shaw Vineyards, Northwest Vineyard Management, West Richland; Antonio Ayala, vineyard supervisor, Shaw Vineyards, Mattawa; Yun Zhang, Ph.D., postdoctoral research associate, department of horticulture, WSU-IAREC, Prosser). Cost — $150 and includes lunch.

Advanced Viticulture: Vineyard Expansion, the Sequel (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties)
Vineyards are being expanded to meet marketing demand for varieties and red blends. Key points attendees can expect to learn in this session include canopy management, deficit irrigation, clean clones and ripening challenges with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. (Speakers — Pat Bowen, Ph.D., research scientist, viticulture and plant physiology, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Summerland, British Columbia; Markus Keller, Ph.D., professor/Chateau Ste. Michelle distinguished professor in viticulture, WSU-IAREC, Prosser; Federico Casassa, Ph.D., M.S., viticulture & enology, Wine Research Center at INTA (National Institute of Agronomic Technology), Mendoza, Argentina; Jeff Sample, owner, Terroir Nouveaux Nurseries, Sunnyside; Jason Schlagel, director of viticulture, Wahluke Wine Company/Milbrandt Vineyards, Mattawa; Brian Carter, winemaker/owner, Brian Carter Cellars, Woodinville. Session manager — Colin Morrell, owner, Lonesome Spring Ranch, Prosser).

New Processing Technology for Wineries, Large and Small
As time marches on, how are wineries embracing new technologies? This session will discuss the technologies used in the wineries and debate if advancements in wine processing make comparable wine. (Speakers — Tim Donahue, director of winemaking, College Cellars of Walla Walla, instructor of enology, Walla Walla Community College; Tim Jones, winemaker, 14 Hands Winery, Prosser; Richard Larsen, Ph.D., research winemaker, viticulture and enology program, WSU Tri-Cities, Richland; Thomas Henick-Kling, Ph.D., director, viticulture & enology, professor of enology, WSU Tri-Cities, Richland; Coman Dinn, owner, Granger Enological Consulting, Granger. Session manager — Becca de Kline, production enologist, Four Feathers Wine Estates, Prosser.)

Thursday, Feb. 12

Tannins from Vine to Wine
This is an investigation of grape and wine tannins when we will hear from experts in the field of viticulture, winemaking and sales/marketing. Topics include development of skin and seed tannins in the berry and the impact of vineyard practices on their accumulation, as well as how to achieve desired wine tannin concentration and development of astringency sub-qualities, including the impact of winemaking techniques on tannin extraction in wines. It will also offer tips on talking wine tannins to wine buyers and consumers. (Speakers — Markus Keller, Ph.D., professor/Chateau Ste. Michelle distinguished professor in viticulture, WSU-IAREC, Prosser; Federico Casassa, Ph.D., M.S., viticulture & enology, Wine Research Center at INTA (National Institute of Agronomic Technology), Mendoza, Argentina; James Harbertson, Ph.D., associate professor of enology, WSU-IAREC, Prosser; Jim Mills, Winemaker, The Hogue Cellars, Prosser; Corey Beck, President, Francis Coppola Winery, Geyserville, Calif.; Jeff Lindsay-Thornsen, lead sommelier, RN74, Seattle, and winemaker/partner, W.T. Vintners, Woodinville; Joe Aschbacher, senior director of global accounts West, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Woodinville; Joe Cotta, vineyard manager, Cold Creek Vineyard, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Hanford; Mimi Nye, vineyard manager, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Paterson. Session manager — Linda Trotta, consulting winemaker, Ellensburg).

Help Wanted: Résumés, Internships and Networking
Hear from those in the Washington wine grape industry about internships and job opportunities. (Speakers — Scott Koopman, manager, career development, WSU Tri-Cities, Richland; Richard Hoff, director of viticulture, Mercer Canyons, Prosser; Taylor Fannin, lab technician, The Hogue Cellars, Prosser; Derek Hill, production manager, Oasis Farms Inc., Prosser; Sadie Drury, viticulture manager, SeVein, Milton-Freewater, Ore.; Kerry Shiels, winemaker, Côte Bonneville, DuBrul Vineyard, Sunnyside; David Rosenthal, assistant winemaker, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville. Session manager — Lacey Lybeck, viticulturist, Milbrandt Vineyards, Mattawa.)

Maceration Vessels: Stainless, Concrete, Bins or Oak?
This session will explore various vessel types and characteristics associated with them along with the drawbacks and benefits of each. (Speakers — Brennon Leighton, winemaker, Charles Smith Wines, Walla Walla; Gordon Hill, winemaker, Coventry Vale Winery, Grandview; Brian Rudin, winemaker, Canvasback/Duckhorn, Benton City; Jeff Ferrell, vice president of operations, Owen Roe Winery, Newberg, Ore. Session manager — Brandon Rice, winemaker, Ancient Lake Wine Co., George.)

Managing Lesser-Known Varieties: Petit Verdot, Grenache, Malbec, Barbera, Marsanne, Roussanne
From growing through the winery to marketing lesser known varieties there are challenges along the way. We would like to identify how people in the industry are addressing these issues from start to finish. (Speakers — Kevin Judkins, general manager, Inland Desert Nursery, Benton City; Mike Andrews, vineyard manager/owner, Andrews Vineyards, Prosser; Joe Hattrup, owner, Hattrup Farms, Wapato; Roger Gamache, partner, Gamache Vineyard, Basin City; Marcus Miller, owner/winemaker, Airfield Estates, Prosser. Session manager — Andrew Schultz, general manager, Elephant Mountain Vineyards, Wapato.

Friday, Feb. 13

Worker Protection Standard: Train-the-Trainer
This eight-hour interactive workshop is designed to help growers, supervisors and trainers of agricultural establishments to effectively deliver pesticide training to pesticide handlers and field workers as mandated by the state and federal Worker Protection Standard (WPS). (Speakers — Ofelio Borges, farmworker education supervisor, WSDA pesticide management division, Yakima; Jaime Ramon, WSP farmworker education/compliance, WSDA pesticide management division, Kennewick; Flor Servin, farmworker education specialist, WSDA pesticide management division, Wenatchee; Ramon Benavides, LNI safety consultant, Department of Labor & Industries, Yakima. Session manager — Janet Heath, WAWGG.) Cost — $65 and includes lunch.

Upping Your IPM Game
The purpose of this session is to improve holistic pest management practices by using biological, cultural, and chemical control in Washington wine grape production. It also will provide insight as to why potential past management failures were seen, and how to avoid them in the future. (Speakers — Patricia A. Skinkis, Ph.D., viticulture extension specialist/associate professor, Oregon State University, department of horticulture, Oregon Wine Research Institute, Corvallis, Ore; David James, Ph.D., associate professor of entomology, WSU-IAREC, Prosser; Peter Landolt, Ph.D., research leader, fruit and vegetable insect research, Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, USDA, ARS, Wapato; Ryan McAdams, viticulturist, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Prosser. Session managers — Gwen Hoheisel, regional extension specialist, WSU-Extension, Prosser; and Michelle M. Moyer, Ph.D., assistant professor/statewide viticulture extension specialist, WSU-IAREC, Prosser.)

Managing Alcohol in Wine
This session will focus on fermentation considerations and techniques, water adjustments, storage conditions, and the amelioration of finished wines to manage alcohol. (Speakers — Frederique Vion, winemaker, Four Feathers Wine Estates, Prosser; Greg Winter, director of winemaking, The Hogue Cellars, Prosser; Heather Nenow, associate winemaker, Columbia Winery, Sunnyside. Session manager — Rich Hood, assistant winemaker, Coventry Vale Winery, Grandview.)

Onsite Management of Winery Waste Streams
In light of proposed new regulations for discharge of winery waste water and solids, it is increasingly important to understand winery waste streams. This session will review tools and resources available to the Washington wine industry (such as Winerywise and third-party certification programs) and present case studies demonstrating effective management practices. (Speakers — Susanne Zechiel, sustainability specialist and senior scientist, Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Santa Rosa, Calif.; Abby Cullinan, winery certification program manager, L.I.V.E., Salem, Ore; Jessica Myer, environmental specialist, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Paterson; Dave Stockdale, director, water and environmental center, Walla Walla Walla Community College; Steven Sealock, winemaker/winery manager, Vinmotion Wines, West Richland; John Nagle, environmental manager, E&J Gallo Winery, Healdsburg, Calif.; Stuart Childs, senior scientist, Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Portland. Session manager — Steve Botic, senior environmental engineer, Constellation Brands, Sonoma, Calif.)

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

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