As the new year gets under way, here are a few news items on what's happening in the wine scene in the Walla Walla Valley.


Changes at Abeja, Dunham and Sinclair

At the begining of 2016, David Wampfler and Amy Alvarez-Wampfler took over as winemakers at Abeja. Both are excited to be working together as a husband-wife team. At the end of 2015, John Abbot and Molly Gault retired from the operation of the Abeja winery. These changes also leave Dunham Cellars, where David was winemaker, and Sinclair Estate Vineyards, where Amy was winemaker, without head winemakers. Both wineries are transistioning with other help as they look for replacements.


Alaska Airlines adds New Flights between Seattle and Walla Walla

Beginning March 13, a third flight four daya a week between Seattle and Walla Walla will be added by Alaska Airlines. This will provide added flexiblity for travellers between the two cities as the added flights will be in late morning. Air travel in and out of the Walla Walla Regional Airport increased dramatically in 2015. The number of passengers flying rose 13.7 percent for the year. The load factor for all flights was 80.47 percent, which means the average flight was about 80% full, meaning greater profitability for Alaska Airlines. This increase also means the airline's management believes the increase in flights is warranted.


Walla Walla Valley Wine Tastings to be held in Seattle and Portland

In February, the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance will be presenting wine tastings in Seattle and Portland. The dates are:

Seattle: February 8 at McCaw Hall

Portland: February 29 at Pure Space

For tickets ($50) go to the Wine Alliance website, Walla Walla Wine.


The Waters / Flying Trout Industry Appreciation Night

Last night, January 11, the Waters Winery and Flying Trout Wines held an Industry Appreciation Night for its friends. Over 50 guests were in attendance and some delicious wines were poured, including Waters' 2012 Loess Syrah (to be reviewed in March), the 2011 21 Grams Red Blend, and the 2013 Flying Trout Konnowak Vineyard Malbec (reviewed October, 2015). It was a fun evening of tasting and conversation. Kudos to the Waters / Flying Trout team, Michelle Aichle, Ashley Trout, Trista Flores, Janna Detoiler and Jill Mediah for putting this on.