Hotel to fete tasting rooms, gift shop Friday

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The Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center is uncorking plans for a celebration of new additions and a slight re-arrangement.

Several wineries have opened tasting rooms inside the historic hotel, and the 1928 Gift Shop has relocated to a new spot in the building. The change and additions will be feted in a special event that runs 3-7 p.m. Friday.

Milton-Freewater wineries Tero Estates, owned by Jan and Doug Roskelley and Mike Tembreull, and Flying Trout Wines, owned by Ashley Trout, share one tasting room space; Don Carlo Vineyard, owned by Tim and Lori Kennedy, occupies another; and Locati Cellars is bringing its Italian varietals to the building. For the Milton-Freewater wineries, the expansion into Walla Walla is expected to help build their presence for visitors and those not wanting to make the trip across the state line.

Friday's event will showcase varietals from each winery and food from The Marc and a peek not only into the tasting rooms but the newly relocated 1928 Gift Shop.

The store is the exclusive retailer for "Our World" clothing and Miche bags in Walla Walla. It also features local and regional wines, work from local artists, espresso, candy, body and bath products, jewelry and more. The gift shop is open daily, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m.-noon Sunday.

An educational program sponsored by Community Bank aims to help Milton-Freewater students make the most from their financial decisions.

Students in Barry Wofford's personal finance class at McLoughlin High School are starting the program this week. The educational program, including the book "Your Personal Guide to Loans & Credit," has been made available through Joseph, Ore.,-based Community Bank, which operates several branches in the Walla Walla Valley. The goal is to help students become educated and responsible consumers and to understand that decisions today affect their financial futures.

According to a description from the bank, the material is designed to provide teens and young adults a light and enjoyable way to learn about establishing and maintaining good credit.

Topics include a self-evaluation of credit-worthiness, understanding loan principles, evaluating loan needs, setting up a monthly budget, amortizing a loan and the step-by-step process of applying for a loan. The use -- and potential misuse -- of credit cards is also covered. So are ways to avoid credit card fraud.

"Many young adults today just think about what they're going to do this weekend," Wofford said in a prepared statement. "As a teacher, I try to get them to think 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Establishing and maintaining their credit rating, understanding the importance of investing early and the loan process is a great way to do this. These materials provided a valuable resource which will help guide students to a brighter future."

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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