Revised Schedule and Tickets Announced for Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine — The World of Merlot

Revised Schedule and Tickets Announced for Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine — The World of Merlot
USA, Washington,Walla Walla. Harvest 2016: Waterbrook Estate Vineyard.

WALLA WALLA, WA (March 8, 2018) — More than 60 Walla Walla Valley wineries, guest winemakers from the world’s leading wine regions, esteemed speakers and an acclaimed author will headline Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine — The World of Merlot, to be held at various locations June 14-16, 2018.


Celebrate showcases a different wine varietal each year comparing and sharing the similarities and differences of the Walla Walla Valley with other leading wine regions around the world. This year’s schedule includes new events and classic Celebrate events, reorganized to allow attendees increased exposure to Walla Walla Valley winemakers, wineries, and establishments along with intimate exchanges with guest speakers and panelists.
“The revised schedule provides attendees with more free time between the structured events to wander Walla Walla,” explains Ashley Riggs, Chief Operating Officer of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “Between educational seminars and large-scale tastings guests can visit tasting rooms, indulge in local cuisine and discover the charm of Walla Walla’s vibrant downtown.”

The 2018 Celebrate series will begin the evening of Thursday, June 14 with the beloved Vintage Pour event at the newly constructed Doubleback winery where guests will taste rare and exclusive wines produced by local wineries from the 2011 vintage and earlier.

The following morning, attendees will surely be entertained at the World of Merlot: Kick-Off Event in the historic Gesa Power House Theatre. Local Geologist Dr. Kevin Pogue will lead a lively discussion with critically acclaimed author Rex Pickett, whose wine-centric novel, Sideways, was the base for the Oscar-winning film of the same title. Infamously known for flipping the script on Merlot, Pickett is thrilled to join the Celebrate dialogue, share his journey with this noble varietal and explain what makes Walla Walla Valley Merlot “powerful, deep, beautiful and clearly built to be cellared.”


Friday’s events continue with an updated time for the Merlot Grand Tasting where guests will sample and compare over 100 premier Merlots and other varietals from Walla Walla Valley wineries. Event host Foundry Vineyards will feature installations by local artists Augusta Sparks Farnum and Kim Nemeth in their contemporary gallery space.


The day concludes with three auxiliary sessions that highlight the Merlot-convert’s impact on the wine industry; all sessions are centered around Sideways, Pickett’s acclaimed novel turned Oscar-winning film. The Previews: Taste & Talk with Rex Pickett gives guests the opportunity to mingle with the author while sipping a selection of wines from the Celebrate family of varietals—Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah—produced by the decade’s newest local wineries. Following Taste & Talk, there will be a complimentary screening of the movie inspired by the novel, Sideways at the Gesa Power House Theater, with an introduction to the film by Pickett. In addition, The Author’s Table: Dinner with Rex will be held at the Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant. Under 30 tickets are available for this intimate six-course paired dinner crafted by Chef Jamie Guerin.


Saturday, June 16 will start with the Wine Panel Presentations and Tastings, previously held during Friday’s events. This new time slot clears the palate to fully immerse in Celebrate’s most educational session. Moderated by local winemaker Ashley Trout, the panel consists of winemakers and vineyard managers from the Walla Walla Valley, California and beyond. Guests will get to taste Merlot from all producers in this showcase of Walla Walla Valley on a global stage. Panelists to be announced in April 2018. 

Celebrate concludes Saturday night with Collaborative Winemaker Dinners throughout the Walla Walla Valley. Attendees will experience an exclusive evening as winemakers and chefs, both local and visiting, come together to create extraordinary food and wine experiences. A limited number of seats are offered at the dinner tables, locations and details to be announced April 2018.


Tickets on sale now at


Thursday, June 14, 2018
Vintage Pour | Doubleback | 4:30-6:30 p.m. | $100
Friday, June 15, 2018
World of Merlot: Kick-off Event | Gesa Power House Theater | 9:00-10:30 a.m. | Complimentary 
Merlot Grand Tasting | Foundry Vineyards | 1:30-3:30 p.m. | $75
The Previews: Taste & Talk with Rex Pickett | Gesa Power House Theater | 6:00-7:00 p.m. | $75
Movie Screening | Gesa Power House Theater | 7:15-9:30 p.m. | Complimentary Tickets
The Author’s Table: Dinner with Rex | Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant | 7:30-9:00 p.m. | $175
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Wine Panel Presentations and Tastings | Marcus Whitman Hotel | 10:00-12:00 p.m. | $65 early bird rate through April 30
Collaborative Winemaker Dinners around the Walla Walla Valley | 6:00-9:00 p.m. | $125
About Celebrate Walla Walla Valley 
Formed by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance in 2013, Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine is the region’s signature wine event held annually in June. The event series is structured to showcase a different wine varietal each year, historically focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot. Over the course of three days, the events demonstrate how wines can vary among the world’s leading regions resulting from different growing conditions, winemaking styles, and vineyards through special tastings of rare vintage wines, educational seminars, and one-of-a-kind winemaker dinners.  
About the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance
The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance is a non-profit wine industry membership organization whose primary mission is to build an internationally acclaimed Walla Walla Valley wine brand among consumers, media, and trade by providing marketing programs on behalf of member wineries, vineyards, and partners.  The Wine Alliance functions as the leading informational resource for consumers, media and trade interested in learning more about the Valley’s wine industry.
Media Contacts:
Liz Knapke
Marketing Manager, Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance | (509) 526-3117 office
High Resolution Images Available Upon Request
Ashley Riggs
Chief Operating Officer, Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance | (509) 526-3117 office
Back To News