Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Saturday, July 14, 2007

East Meets West

I heard Through The Walla Walla Grapevine that the Wild Walla Walla Wine Wonder Woman is sharing Wisdom, Wit, and Words about Washington Wine and the recent W-2 East/West Summit Meeting held in Walla Walla, Washington. Catie, my new friend and neighbor wrote a brilliant piece about the changes going on in Walla Walla, grape-growers vs. wheat farmers and all that. Catie says that our visit helped her to see Walla Walla through new eyes. I told Catie when we arranged our rendezvous that I envied her living among all those great wineries in Walla Walla. My only consolation, is knowing the great winemakers here in Seattle who turn Eastern Washington grapes into various kinds of elixir. Seeing Walla Walla through Catie's eyes was fascinating - the interconnected web of relationships and families in a small community, the old-time wheat and onion farmers vs. the grape-growers and winemakers, the desire of some for malls and chain stores. Hearing what comes through the grapevine, but can't be said in a small town.

Catie wrote about growing up in Walla Walla. I grew up in New York City. The only thing I knew about small towns and farms was from the first grade readers that pretended that all of America was rural and that city kids didn't exist. When I moved from New York to Minneapolis, I thought it was a small town. When I moved to Seattle, I thought it was a small town. When I visited Walla Walla , I didn't think it was a small town because of all the sophisticated wine and food people I met. Even though worldwide, grape-growing and winemaking are typically rural endeavors (except for factory wines), wine people share a "citizen of the world" kind of camaraderie based the joy and pleasures of the grape. This certainly was true of Catie and the the gang of four palates from the West.

Apparently, some Walla Walla folks are afraid their town will get bent like Bend, Oregon. Not too likely, if Walla Walla continues to meld East & West - the best of rural Eastern Washington and the best of urban Western Washington. In contrast to Bend, Walla Walla has made an effort to preserve it's historic buildings. In fact, some wineries have played a role by placing tasting rooms in historic buildings. Forgeron has an entire winery in an old forge. If Walla Walla spends the money in all those main street banks wisely "they" can create the best of all possible worlds. Perhaps "Fusion" will be the next new winery in Walla Walla. Thanks, Catie, for a great visit and a new perspective on Walla Walla.

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