For the new year, there have been new developments in the wine industry that are significant. Here are some of them. More developments will be reported in the future, as they become public knowledge.
Heather Unwin now New Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance Director
January 3rd was Heather Unwin's first day as the new Director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, an organization representing most of the wineries in the valley. She was picked after a search which took nearly six months after the death of the previous Director, Duane Wollmuth, from a heart attack on July 11. Heather's previous experience has been Executive Director of the Red Mountain AVA Alliance for three and a half years. She also has taught wine marketing at the Walla Walla Community College's Institute for Viticulture and Enology. The selection of Heather Unwin as Director will be a great fit. A few years ago, I participated in a wine evaluation group with her and found her to be astute and knowledgable about wine.
Co Dinn Winery Building a New Facility in Sunnyside
Coman - "Co" - Dinn started work on his new winemaking facility at a historic building in Sunnyside. His winery has been producing wine at the Yakima Valley Community College's Enology School in Grandview. The new winery will be opened this Spring. See the July 2016 issue of the Review of Washington Wines for reviews of the Co Dinn wines.
Bouchon Park Development Taking Shape in Walla Walla
Last Fall, at an open house, Michael Corliss (Corliss and Tranche Wineries) previewed Bouchon Park, his new pair of wine warehouses and production spaces, comprising 84,000 and 140,000 square feet, on Middle Waitsburg Road, north of Walla Walla. There will be spaces for wine storage, shipping docks, barrel storage, and winemaking. One lead tenant is the Mark Ryan Winery which will lease warehouse space. Other tenants are being lined up and will announced as time goes on. The facilities are state of the art, with rigid insulation to combat moisture, an enemy of winemaking cleanliness.
Neil Johnston New Winemaker at Dumas Station
Late last summer, Neil Johnston, a graduate of the Walla Walla Community College's Institute for Viticulture and Enology, found a new job at the Dumas Station Winery, a few miles south of Dayton. After a job search as far away as Wenatchee, he found the perfect place right near his home in Dayton. He is working with winery owners, Jay DeWitt and Doug Harvey. Current releases will be reviewed in the March issue of the Review of Washington Wines.
Marcus Rafanelli Now Teaching at the Walla Walla Community College
Another Institute for Viticulture and Enology, Marcus Rafanelli, has come back to Walla Walla as an enology instructor at WWCC. After winemaking and exploration stints around the world - Woodinville (at William Church) California, Australia, Germany, Italy - Marcus has gone full circle. Asked by the Enology department director, Tim Donahue, to take on the teaching position, Marcus called it his "dream job." We are sure it will be.