Auction of Washington Wines: 25th Anniversary

by Shona Milne on January 16, 2012

Some of you may have heard that there will be some changes to the Auction of Washington Wines this year. They are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. I had the opportunity to do an email interview with Sherri Swingle, Auction of Washington Wines Executive Director asking about why the changes came about and what we will see this year. See you at the picnic.

What prompted you, Washington Wine Fest and WSU Celebrate to join forces?

We are so excited to have joined forces with the Washington Wines Festival and Washington State University’s Celebrate Washington Wine Event. This collaboration streamlines the industry’s resources to create one fabulous event celebrating Washington Wine. It also allows for us to jointly create greater opportunities for our beneficiaries. We started the process of collaboration with WSU Celebrate three years ago – the combination of the events was a natural next step. The collaboration with the Washington Wines Festival was an idea that came about a few years ago and we all felt this was the right time to make it happen as we move into the 25th anniversary year of Auction of Washington Wines.

What are the benefits of the joint venture?

We are excited because the collaboration will allow the industry to focus on one cohesive and spectacular summer event. We believe this will help vintners streamline their schedules and resources. In addition, more wineries participating in one event allows for more collaboration among the wineries and attracts more consumer participation. The best part is that patrons will have one fabulous unforgettable weekend of events where they can discover and celebrate Washington Wine!

What changes will we see?

We have two new co-chairs in 2012, Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery, and Stein Kruse, president & CEO of Holland America Line and chairman of Seabourn. Additionally, Rick Holley, president and CEO of Plum Creek Timber Company, will lead the efforts of rallying past leadership as the 25th Anniversary Chair of Chairs. Given this milestone year, we are not focusing on change, instead, we are excited to make the existing events bigger and better while celebrating the history of the Auction and the industry. Most of the newness will come from casting a wider net as a result of these new collaborations and drawing more people to one place.

What will stay the same?

The events will continue under the traditional schedule of the Auction of Washington Wines and the 2012 dates have been confirmed; Revelry at Col Solare in the Tri Cities area (May 26, 2012), the Picnic & Barrel Auction at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery (August 16, 2012), Winemaker Dinner Series at various locations throughout the Puget Sound region (August 17, 2012), Covey Run and The Wine Gala at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery (August 18, 2012). And our mission remains the same: to celebrate and promote the growing Washington wine industry while raising money for two beneficiaries, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Washington Wine Education Foundation.

What will be special for the 25th anniversary?

The 25th anniversary is all about celebration and fun! Throughout the last 25 years, the Auction of Washington Wines has had a prestigious list of over 60 individuals on our leadership team. We are excited to have a number of these leaders back to join us for the weekend of events! The weekend should be a star-studded community event and hopefully a few international wine legends will be in the mix. Our goals for this year encompass the aspect of celebration and we are aiming to have a great time, recognize those who built our industry, look to the future leaders of our industry, and give back to the community that has supported our astonishing growth.

Additional information about the Auction of Washington Wines can be found online here: www.auctionofwashingtonwines.org.

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