Auction of Washington Wines announces 2015 honorees

By on February 17, 2015
Winemakers, wine collectors and philanthropists gathered Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014 in Woodinville at Chateau Ste. Michelle for The Wine Gala, the finale for the Auction of Washington Wines. The three-day event has raised more than $30 million since its inception in 1988 for Seattle Children’s Hospital and wine research at Washington State University.

Winemakers, wine collectors and philanthropists gathered Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Woodinville at Chateau Ste. Michelle for The Wine Gala, the finale for the Auction of Washington Wines. The three-day event has raised more than $30 million since its inception in 1988 for Seattle Children’s Hospital and wine research at Washington State University. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

SEATTLE — DeLille Cellars, grower Dick Shaw and journalist Andy Perdue have been chosen as honorees for the 28th annual Auction of Washington Wines.

Perdue will serve as honorary chair for the Aug. 13-15 event in Woodinville. Shaw, founder of Shaw Vineyards, is honorary grower, while DeLille Cellars was chosen as the honorary vintner.

“The Auction of Washington Wines is very pleased to have such an impressive group of leaders in the wine industry as this year’s honorees,” Sam Baker, board president and partner with Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker, said in a news release. “They have each made significant contributions that have elevated the state as a wine-growing region, and advocated our quality wines around the world.”

The role of honorary chair is reserved for leaders in the field of wine who have demonstrated a sincere appreciation for Washington’s industry. The annual roles of honorary vintner and honorary grower are peer-nominated, bestowed upon individuals within the Washington wine industry who have or are making an impact.

“This year’s honorees have not only been witness to incredible growth in our industry for many years but have each contributed to our collective success,” said Marty Clubb of L’Ecole No. 41 and co-chair of this year’s Auction of Washington Wines. “Their leadership in the vineyards, in the winery and in the media have set the standard for all of us.”

The Auction of Washington Wines, created in 1988, has raised more than $31 million, with a majority benefitting uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital. This distinguished event gives wine lovers the chance to help the Washington wine industry bridge a critical funding gap for children across the Northwest.

Honorary vintner — DeLille Cellars

Greg Lill, winemaker Chris Upchurch and Jay Soloff continue to lead DeLille Cellars in Woodinville, Wash.

Greg Lill, winemaker Chris Upchurch and Jay Soloff continue to lead DeLille Cellars in Woodinville, Wash. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

DeLille Cellars is an artisan winery in Woodinville. The winery was founded in 1992 by Charles and Greg Lill, Pat Lill Jorgenson, Jay Soloff and celebrated winemaker Chris Upchurch. From the beginning, the winery has looked toward the prestigious Red Mountain AVA as the foundation of its wines, using grapes from its own vineyard in combination with fruit from other top sites in the Yakima Valley.

The Seattle Times named DeLille Cellars’ 2011 Four Flags as Wine of the Year in its 2014 Top 50 wines of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia. DeLille Cellars was privileged to also have its wines requested at the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Awards.

DeLille Cellars was honored to recently be nominated as “Winery of the Year 2014” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and is the only Washington winery to receive recognition in the “Top 100 Wines” by both Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast for two consecutive years.

Honorary grower — Dick Shaw

Dick Shaw, who owns more than 2,200 acres of vineyard in the Columbia Valley, will serve as the honorary grower for the 2015 Auction of Washington Wines. (Photo courtesy of Richard Duval Images)

Dick Shaw, who owns more than 2,200 acres of vineyard in the Columbia Valley, will serve as the honorary grower for the 2015 Auction of Washington Wines. (Photo courtesy of Richard Duval Images)

Shaw started in the vineyard industry in 1981, planting about 100 acres near Mattawa.

“I became an investor with some West Coast investors with no background in farming,” Shaw told Great Northwest Wine via email. “We met with Dr. (Walter) Clore, and at his suggestion went to the Wahluke Slope. He convinced us it was the place to grow our first vineyard.

“A short time after, we planted about 100 acres. We needed more capital, and the other investors didn’t want to put up any more money, and we acquired their interests,” Shaw continued. “For the next decade, I recognized the smart people had left.”

At that time, Shaw estimates there were about 1,000 acres planted on the Wahluke Slope. Eventually, his wife, Wendy, got involved by working in the vineyards and starting a harvesting business when they had about 300 acres planted.

“Grape growing at that time was not recognized as a Washington industry, ” Shaw said. “Eventually, we planted 1,250 acres on the Wahluke Slope.”

Today, the Shaws own about 2,200 acres in the Columbia Valley, which includes about 420 on Red Mountain.

The Shaws have strong ties to fellow wine industry partners including, Quintessence and Obelisco wineries, as well as Jack Jones in J&S, a 20,000-ton crushing facility in Mattawa. Dick and Wendy entered the winemaking business in 2010 with a winery named Henry Earl, named for their fathers. Last year, they opened a tasting room in Walla Walla, and the talented Victor Palencia makes their wines.

This summer is the scheduled opening of the Shaw Island Event Center in Phinney Bay near Bremerton. The destination will feature 15 guest rooms, each with a fireplace and deck and plenty of open space for wine tastings, weddings and corporate events.

Honorary chair — Perdue

Andy Perdue begins judging the sweepstakes portion of the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition on Jan. 11. (Photo by Eric Degerman)

Andy Perdue begins judging the sweepstakes portion of the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Perdue, who has been covering the wine industry for 18 years, is a third-generation journalist and Washington native who writes about Pacific Northwest wine on a full-time basis. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine in 1998 and served as its editor-in-chief for 16 years. Today, he is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company.

In addition, Perdue serves as the wine columnist for The Seattle Times. He also co-authors a weekly wine column that is syndicated in 21 newspapers in Washington and Idaho.

Perude wrote the book The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer’s Handbook (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books about Northwest wine and travel. He continues to write for Wine Press Northwest, as well as Wine Business Monthly, Vineyard & Winery Management, Walla Walla Lifestyles and Foothills Magazine. He also judges wine at professional competitions throughout North America.

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.

7 Comments

  1. Yashar

    February 17, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Congrats to Mr. Perdue!

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