Virtual Tasting Series with Karen MacNeil

Join award-winning wine author Karen MacNeil (The Wine Bible) as she hosts a series of exciting in-depth Live Virtual Tastings with vintners and winemakers from across Washington State. Karen is the Honorary Chair of the Auction of Washington Wines 2020-21 and the winner of numerous major wine awards, including the James Beard Foundation’s Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year. In this seven-part series, Karen goes deep with some of the most preeminent vintners and winemakers who have helped make Washington State a “great American wine region.”



Thursday, June 18 at 5:30pm PST

This kick-off virtual tasting sets the tone for the whole series and features visionary individuals who have been instrumental in the growth of the Washington wine industry over the past 40 years. Learn how Washington state began its foray onto the national and international scene and how a small town has become an internationally acclaimed wine region.

Allen Shoup

Long Shadows Vintners

2017 Dance Chardonnay, Yakima Valley

Rick Small

Woodward Canyon Winery

2017 Estate Reserve Bordeaux Blend, Walla Walla Valley

Marty Clubb

L’Ecole No 41

2017 Ferguson, Estate Ferguson Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley


Thursday, July 2 at 4:00pm PST

Family winemaking has been happening for centuries in Europe and other areas of the world. As Washington wine grows up, new generations are taking it to the next level while keeping the family traditions alive. This session includes the Auction’s Honorary Grower and Co-Chair.

Rob Mercer

Mercer Family Estates

2017 Mercer Bros. Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills

John Bookwalter & Caleb Foster

Bookwalter Winery

2018 Suspense Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley

Andrew Januik

Januik Winery

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain


Thursday, July 16 at 4:00pm PST

Three of Washington’s top women winemakers join Karen to share how they created a “seat at the table” in the wine industry. Each comes from a different kind of winery: a recently launched winery that’s on a fast track; an established boutique winery; and the largest winery in the state.  We’ll talk about the impact they are making and their innovative approaches.

Leah Adint

Chateau Ste. Michelle

2015 Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

Lisa packer

Warr-King Wines

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Kiona Vineyard, Red Mountain

Jessica Munnell

Wautoma Springs

2016 Behemoth Cabernet Sauvignon, Wautoma Springs Vinyeard, Columbia Valley


Thursday, July 30 at 4:00pm PST

Washington’s smallest AVA produces some of the most sought after Washington wines. Washington’s best winemakers covet grapes from this “pseudo mountain” and many compare Red Mountain wines to those from Napa Valley. Learn why Red Mountain terroir creates such exceptional Bordeaux style wines.

Darel Allwine

Col Solare

2016 Col Solare Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain

Charlie Hoppes


2016 Quintessence Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain

Chris Sparkman

Sparkman Cellars

2016 Kingpin Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain


Thursday, August 6 at 4:00pm PST

The quality of Merlot from Washington State is unprecedented and these top winemakers will share why.  As a stand-alone varietal or as an essential part of the Bordeaux style blends that Washington is known for, Merlot is very compelling. Could Washington be the home of the best Merlot in the United States? We’ll explore the reasons it just might be.

Kelly Hightower

Hightower Cellars

2017 Merlot, Red Mountain

David “Merf” Merfeld

Northstar Winery

2015 Merlot, Columbia Valley

Jean-François Pellet

Pepper Bridge Winery

2017 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley

SESSION 6: Is Cab King In Washington?

Thursday, August 13 at 4:00pm PST

Cabernet is the most famous grape in Bordeaux and in Napa Valley and it’s on the rise as Washington’s number one wine grape as well, surpassing Chardonnay and Riesling. But so many varietals grow well in Washington that one grape has never defined the industry. Join Karen and three visionary winemakers, as we talk about Washington’s past, present, and future.   

Louis Skinner

Betz Family Winery

2016 Pere de Famille, Red Mountain

Brian Rudin

Canvasback Wines

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain

Jason Gorski

DeLille Cellars

2017 Chaleur Estate, Red Mountain

SESSION 7: One-Of-A-Kind Approaches To Washington Wine

Thursday, August 20 at 4:00pm PST

This group of wineries showcase how diverse and innovative wineries are in Washington. From a focus on straight varietal wines, to establishing an estate winery on the new horizons of Lake Chelan to a Washington brand that has stood the test of time, the wineries in this session tell a great story of Washington determination and innovation. 

Kevin Correll

Barrage Cellars

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain

Sean Hails

Columbia Winery

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain

Shane Collins

Rocky Pond Winery

2017 Syrah, Columbia Valley

SESSION 8: Aiming High – From The Ground Up

Thursday, September 10 at 4:00pm PST

With a deep connection to and respect for the land, all of these wineries are uniting a respect for tradition with a passion for innovation. By combining natural farming methods with new technologies, there is exceptional attention to detail in each bottle and the terroir shines through with every sip. 

Kerry Shiels

Côte Bonneville

2012 Bordeaux Blend, DuBrul Vineyard, Yakima Valley

Josh McDaniels

Doubleback Winery

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley

Sarah Hedges Goedhart

Hedges Family Estate

2017 “Bio” Syrah, Red Mountain


  • Stay tuned for details on the next series!

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The Northwest Wine Benefit Foundation, DBA Auction of Washington Wines, is committed to supporting the growth and awareness of the Washington state wine industry through a series of celebrated events benefiting our community. We have raised over $63 million since our inception in 1988. 

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