Mid-Columbia Wine Tourism Council celebrates MLK Weekend

By on January 17, 2015
Washington wine

Col Solare is on Washington’s Red Mountain. (Photos courtesy of Col Solare)

KENNEWICK, Wash. — The Mid-Columbia Wine Tourism Council presents its first Shop and Share Showcase to help celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. weekend as 18 wineries in Washington’s Benton and Franklin counties have created promotions to inspire Tri-City area residents.

heart-of-washington-wine-country-logoTasting room guests must show their ID to prove residency in Benton or Franklin counties and receive the offers. Along the way, 16 charitable organizations in the Mid-Columbia stand to benefit from the event.

“I would encourage people — and I don’t care what winery — to pick a cause and go support that cause and support that winery,” said Larry Oates, owner/winemaker of Sleeping Dog Wines in Benton City. “A lot of us are not even open this time of year, but we’ll be open for this.”

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Washington’s largest producer, operates two wineries participating in the Shop and Share Showcase — Col Solare on Red Mountain and 14 Hands in Prosser. Col Solare’s featured charitable organization is Habitat for Humanity, while 14 Hands will help support Second Harvest Food Bank.

Gregg McConnell, who chairs the Mid-Columbia Wine Tourism Council as a board member of VisitTri-Cities, said Wendi Warner of Col Solare and Jenn Nance of Goose Ridge Estate Winery share the credit for creating the Shop and Share Showcase concept.

Wine club members and fans will know and understand some of the personal connections and ties the wineries have to the non-profit organizations they are supporting. For example, Oates and his wife, Joyce, will be donating a portion of their proceeds Saturday to Pet Over Population Prevention (POPP). Their winery overlooking the Yakima River and the Old Inland Empire Highway will be closed Sunday and Monday because of prior commitments.

“We do things for POPP whenever we can,” he said. “We’re supplying the red wine for their annual banquet at the end of May. And when we take the oak staves out of the vats, we’ll chop them up into chips and put them in bags. People can take those bags and toss the oak chips on the grills or in their smokers.

“We don’t charge for those bags. We just ask for donations, and we’re able to give a few hundred dollars every year to POPP just for that,” Oates continued. “How many planters does the world need anyway?”

At Goose Ridge, the beneficiary will be Camp Patriot. Across Interstate 82 on Red Mountain, Hamilton Cellars supports Washington State University’s Wine Science Center.

Even the new Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser — a nonprofit organization — is offering guests a two-for-one offer on tasting fees.

“I’ve run into a couple of people the last couple of days, and the event seems to be getting pretty good press,” Oates said. “It’s something new, and I’ll be interested to see how it plays out. Winter events can be dicey because they are contingent on the weather. If Saturday is a (sunny) day like today, I would think the turnout would be outstanding.”

This weekend’s Mid-Columbia resident program developed by the tourism council is reminiscent of Woodinville Wine Country’s ZIP Treatment program. Winery members offer discounts and special promotions to patrons who live in Woodinville-area zip codes and show a valid driver’s license as proof.

The Mid-Columbia Wine Tourism Council was created in 2014 and is spearheaded by VisitTri-Cities. The mission of the council is to promote and market Benton and Franklin counties as a wine-tourism destination.

“With the increasing international reputation of Red Mountain, the soon to open world-class WSU Wine Science Center and the increasing number of direct flights to major cities in the West, it’s time for the Tri-Cities and Benton-Franklin counties region to become a wine destination — not the wineries located between Yakima and Walla Walla,” said McConnell, who is publisher for the Tri-City Herald and Wine Press Northwest magazine.
14 Hands Winery in Prosser will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-19 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Featured charitable organization: Second Harvest Food Bank. Special offer: Complimentary tasting of Grenache.

Anelare Wines in Kiona will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18. Featured charitable organization: A portion of sales will be donated to Camp Trios, a camp for local children who are diagnosed with childhood or type-1 diabetes.

Barnard Griffin Winery in Richland will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Featured charitable organization: Tri-Cities Animal Shelter; animals from the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter will be at the winery on Saturday for guests to meet and adopt. Special offer: Tasting fees waived.

Bookwalter Winery in Richland will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-19. Featured charitable organization: Children’s Reading Foundation; 20 percent of sales will be donated to the Reading Foundation. Special offer: Event participants are honorary club members during the three days (tasting fees waived, 20 percent off wine, 10 percent off food).

Cooper Wine Co. on Red Mountain will be open noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-19. Featured charitable organization: Operation Thank You: Cooper Wine Company will donate $5 from every bottle sold to Operation Thank You. Special offer: Tasting fees waived.

Col Solare Winery on Red Mountain will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18. Featured charitable organization: Habitat for Humanity. Special offer: Complimentary samples of the 2005 Col Solare.

Frichette Winery on Red Mountain will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-19. Featured charitable organization: Urban Poets Society. Special offer: Tasting fees waived and 10 percent case discount.

Goose Ridge Estate Winery in Richland will be open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-19. Featured charitable organization: Camp Patriot. Special offer: Tasting fees waived. A portion of the proceeds from wine sales for the weekend will go to Camp Patriot.

Gordon Estate Wine Bar at Broadmoor in Pasco will be open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-19. Featured charitable organization: Carson-Kolzig Foundation. Gordon Estate Wines will be selling special bottles honoring the Carson-Kolzig Foundation with their label and will donate bottle profits to the foundation. They also will donate 10 percent of all wine sales to the foundation. Special offer: Tasting fees waived, discounts on wines.

Hamilton Cellars on Red Mountain will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-19. Featured charitable organization: Washington State University Wine Science Center, a portion of proceeds earned during the event will go to the WSU Wine Science Center. Special offer: Tasting fees waived and for any donation made to the Wine Science Center during the weekend event, the winery will give a 25 percent discount on purchases of wine by the bottle.

Hedges Family Estate on Red Mountain will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18; Featured charitable organization: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Hedges will donate $1 per bottle sold to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Special offer: Tasting fees waived.

Kiona Vineyards Winery on Red Mountain will be open noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-19. Featured charitable organization: HanfordLearning.org, HanfordLearning.org will have an informational table set up in the tasting room. Special offer: 40 percent off the retail price of 2011 Big Kiona Zinfandel.

Kitzke Cellars in Richland will be open noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18. Featured charitable organization: Royal Family Kids, an organization that takes local abused kids in foster care to summer camp and into a mentoring program. Special offer: Bring in a gently used or new designer purse to donate to the winery’s annual purse auction and receive 10 percent off your wine purchase. Purses will be included in the 5th annual Purse auction, July 11 at Kitzke Cellars.

Market Vineyards in Richland will be open noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18. Featured charitable organization: Children’s Developmental Center. Special offer: Tasting fees waived and 10 percent discount on select cases.

MonteScarlatto Estate Winery on Red Mountain will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18. Featured charitable organization: Tri-Cities Cancer Center. Special offer: Tasting fees waived and case specials and Dawns’ Barbera special.

Sleeping Dog Wines in Benton City will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Featured charitable organization: Pet Over Population Prevention (POPP). Special offer: Case discounts on 2006 Merlot and Syrah.

Terra Blanca Winery & Estate Vineyards on Red Mountain will be open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-19. Featured charitable organization: Children’s Development Center. Special offer: Tasting fees waived and case specials.

Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center in Prosser will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-19. Special offer: 2 for 1 tasting fees and winemakers from current wine lineup will be onsite to interact with guests.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-spam measure * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.