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Auction of Washington Wines honors Jeb Dunnuck
SEATTLE – Two men with great history in Washington wine country and an internationally renowned writer will be honored this summer at the 29th annual Auction of Washington Wines.
The Auction takes place Aug. 18-20, primarily at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville.
Dunnuck was tapped by legendary wine critic Robert Parker to write about Washington for his Wine Advocate newsletter in 2013. Dunnuck, who launched The Rhône Report in 2008, also covers wines of France’s Rhône Valley, Southern Rhône and California for Wine Advocate.
Jean-François Pellet, winemaker for Pepper Bridge Winery in Walla Walla and co-chair of this year’s Auction of Washington Wines, said Dunnuck is a great choice.
“Each year, the Auction of Washington Wines seeks to honor those who have contributed to the ongoing success of the Washington wine industry,” he said in a press release. “Jeb was one of the first to recognize Washington’s viticultural versatility, celebrating our incredible Rhône varietals while acknowledging our strength in Bordeaux styles. In this sense, he’s helped to pioneer the amazing diversity we see in vineyards and wineries across the state.”
Auction of Washington Wine honors Januik, Newhouse
The honorary vintner for this year’s auction is one of Washington’s longest-serving winemakers. Januik’s first vintage was 1984. He arrived at Chateau Ste. Michelle as its head winemaker in 1990. With the recent retirement of Lou Facelli, Januik is now the longest-tenured winemaker in Woodinville.
In 1999, Januik left Chateau Ste. Michelle to launch Januik Winery, which is around the corner from Ste. Michelle and shares a facility and tasting room with Novelty Hill Winery. Januik, who has been making Novelty Hill’s wines since its inaugural vintage in 2000, also was behind the planting of Stillwater Creek, the estate vineyard for Novelty Hill in the Frenchman Hills area of Washington near Royal City.
Today, Januik remains one of Washington’s most respected winemakers.
For honorary grower, the Auction of Washington Wines chose Newhouse, who manages Upland Vineyards for his family. Newhouse is a third-generation grape grower and oversees some of Washington’s oldest vines.
In 1917, William Bridgman planted grapes on Snipes Mountain near Sunnyside. Some of those grapes – including Muscat – remain today. Newhouse’s grandfather, Al, bought the vineyards from Bridgman’s family in the late 1960s, and the Newhouses continue to expand their holdings regularly.
Todd Newhouse was instrumental (with Joan Davenport of Washington State University and DavenLore Winery) in gaining federal approval for the Snipes Mountain American Viticultural Area. The AVA includes Snipes Mountain and Harrison Hill, both upthrusts in the middle of the Yakima Valley in Sunnyside. The Snipes Mountain AVA became official in 2009.
Two years prior to that, Newhouse launched Upland Winery – essentially reviving the winery that Bridgman launched in 1934, soon after Prohibition was repealed.
Newhouse is chairman of the board of directors for the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.
Auction of Washington Wines events
The Auction of Washington Wines kicks off June 24 with the Vineyard Dinner Series on Red Mountain. Gourmet dinners will take place at Col Solare, Fidelitas and Hedges Family Estate. Tickets are $125 per person.
On June 25, the second annual Wine & Jazz Festival will take place at the WSU Tri-Cities campus in Richland and will include wine, appetizers and live music. Tickets start at $25 and go up $125.
On Aug. 18, the annual Picnic and Barrel Auction will take place at Chateau Ste. Michelle. More than 100 winemakers will be on hand to pour wines and enjoy live music. Tickets are $150 per person.
On Aug. 19, several winemaker dinners will take place at private homes throughout the Puget Sound region. They are a great opportunity to rub shoulders with top Washington winemakers. Tickets are $500 per person.
On Aug. 20, the Columbia Winery Charity Run and Walk will take place the morning of the auction. Cost to enter is $35 ($40 after July 1).
And also on Aug. 20, the Winemakers Gala takes place on the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle. This is the grand event of the Auction of Washington Wines and often attracts some of the Seattle area’s most famous people. Tickets are $500 per person.
Last year’s auction raised a record $2.5 million to benefit Children’s Hospital in Seattle and WSU’s viticulture and enology program.
Co-chairs of the event are Pellet, Norm McKibben of Pepper Bridge Winery and Frank and Charlene Blethen, owners of The Seattle Times.