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Seattle Chef John Sundstrom announced as Guest Chef for Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine - The World of Merlot

WALLA WALLA, WA – Seattle-based chef John Sundstrom will serve as guest chef for Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine – The World of Merlot. Sundstrom will cook alongside premier Walla Walla chefs Andrae Bopp of Andrae’s Kitchen and Jim Cooley of Bon Appetit on Friday, June 19 during a wine tasting and dinner at Reid Center at Whitman College from 6:00-8:30 p.m. 

The dinner will be served in a walk-around format, giving attendees a chance to taste Merlot and Bordeaux-style white wines from more than 40 Walla Walla Valley wineries. The three chefs will serve a variety of small plates from their stations.

“This dinner was very successful last year, as patrons loved being able to mix and mingle with the different wineries and chefs throughout the evening,” said Duane Wollmuth, Executive Director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “We’re thrilled to have John Sundstrom come to town to share his culinary talents, alongside our wonderful local chefs. It will be a real treat for attendees.”

A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Sundstrom was named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2001 while at the W Seattle’s Earth & Ocean. In 2003, he opened Lark in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, and just last year he relocated the restaurant to a larger space and opened two additional spots in the same building: Bitter/Raw and Slab Sandwiches + Pie. In 2013, he published his first cookbook, Lark: Cooking Against the Grain, which was awarded an IACP Judges Choice Award. Sundstrom has been featured on the Food Network’s Best Of and Food Nation as well as the PBS original series Chefs A’ Field, which was nominated for a James Beard Award. Sundstrom himself won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest in 2007, and was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award Outstanding Chef USA in 2014. 

Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine- The World of Merlot begins the evening of Thursday, June 18 with a vintage pour tasting at Dunham Cellars featuring a limited number of Walla Walla Valley wines from the 2008 vintage or earlier. The following morning of June 19, internationally-known wine critic Stephen Tanzer and Master Sommelier Fred Dame will serve as keynote speakers for a kick-off session at the historic Gesa Power House Theatre in downtown Walla Walla.  Tanzer, the Editor-in-Chief at Vinous, has been one of the most respected wine critics in the world since the launch of his wine publication, the International Wine Cellar, in 1985.  Dame was the first American to pass all three parts of the Master Sommelier Examination in one year, and also the first American to have served as President of the Court of Master Sommeliers Worldwide. 

Following the kick-off event on Friday, Sean Sullivan, contributing editor to Wine Enthusiast and founder of Washington Wine Report, will moderate an afternoon panel made up of winemakers from the Walla Walla Valley, the Bordeaux region of France, Napa Valley, California and Tuscany, Italy. Participants will have a rare opportunity to compare and contrast the growing conditions and wine styles from each region, and taste Merlot from all six producers:

Marty Clubb, L’Ecole N° 41 | Walla Walla Valley
Casey McClellan, Seven Hills Winery | Walla Walla Valley
David “Merf” Merfeld, Northstar | Walla Walla Valley
Renée Ary, Duckhorn Vineyards | Napa Valley, California
Vincent Lignac, Château Guadet | Bordeaux, France 
Virginie Saverys, Avignonesi | Tuscany, Italy

Celebrate will wrap up on Saturday, June 20 with a series of winemaker dinners around the valley. 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS 
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Vintage Pour | Dunham Cellars | 4:30-6:30 p.m. | Tickets: $75

Friday, June 19, 2015
Kick-off Event | Gesa Power House Theater | 8:30-10:00 a.m. Theater | Complimentary Tickets
Winemaker Panel Presentations and Tastings | Marcus Whitman Hotel | 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Tickets: $55
Merlot Wine Tasting & Dinner | Reid Center at Whitman College | 6:00-8:30 p.m. | Tickets: $90

Saturday, June 20, 2015
Winemaker Dinners around the Walla Walla Valley | 6:00-9:00 p.m. | Tickets: $125

Tickets on sale now at www.wallawallawine.com/celebrate.