Celebrate Wine event draws near-sellout crowd

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Nearly 500 people celebrated syrah during last month’s annual Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine - The World of Syrah event.

Organizers have declared the weekend package a success with more than 1,000 tickets sold for the weekend’s rare wine tasting events, educational seminars and talks, and one-of-a-kind winemaker dinners.

According to the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, attendance at the sessions June 19-21 reached a near sellout of 98.5 percent of all available tickets. That reflects a 36 percent jump in the number of guests from last year.

Additionally, a post-event survey showed high satisfaction from attendees as well as participating businesses. Of the attendees who took the surveys, 97 percent rated Celebrate either “very good” or “excellent.” They rated the wines, food, venues and itinerary as outstanding. Of the participating businesses, 93 percent gave the event the same rankings.

“I can’t say enough about how proud we are of the positive impression the Walla Walla Valley made on our visitors,” said Duane Wollmuth, executive director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, in a prepared statement.

More than two-thirds of the 485 people who purchased tickets to the sessions traveled more than 50 miles to the community. About a quarter of the attendees came from Canadian provinces or states outside of Washington. Another 23 people from the media were hosted.

Celebrate showcases a different varietal each year, shining a light on the world’s leading wine regions and how the wines differ based on growing conditions, vineyards and winemaking styles. Next year’s event, scheduled June 18-20, will highlight merlot.

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