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Legends, Auction, From Vineyard to Winery

Posted by | July 22, 2010

Gordon Hill Selected as Legends Winemaker

Gordon Hill
Gordon Hill

Gordon Hill, longtime Washington enologist and, currently, winemaker with Milbrandt Vineyards Winery, was selected as winemaker for the 2010 Legends of Washington Wine event.

The Legends event, scheduled for August 28 at WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, annually honors an inductee into the Washington Wine Hall of Fame who exemplifies legendary status because of substantial commitment and contributions made to the Washington wine industry.

Raised in Bellevue, Hill attended Washington State University. While earning a food science degree there, he worked under the guidance of the late Chas Nagel, the celebrated Washington wine pioneer and WSU food scientist.

He began his career at Chateau Ste. Michelle in 1980, where he eventually became winemaker. Hill was involved in the creation of Northstar, the Bordeaux- style Merlot he made in conjunction with renowned Lake County (California) winemaster, Jed Steele. In 2005, Hill joined Milbrandt Vineyards Winery where he has developed several award-winning wines.

For the 2010 Legends wine, Hill created a 70-percent Petit Verdot Red Blend, tamed by 28 months of barrel aging with the addition of barrel-aged Cabernet Sauvignon. A dash of Merlot was added for smoothness, in addition to a splash of Malbec, which contributed up-front character.

Hill’s selection continues a Legends tradition of highlighting a winemaker’s skills in addition to honoring the Washington Wine Hall of Fame inductee. Past Legends winemakers include Co Dinn from Hogue Cellars; Ray Einberger from Columbia Crest; and Rick Small from Woodward Canyon Winery.

The Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame is a project of the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center. Named after the late Walter J. Clore, a long-time WSU horticulturist, the Clore Center will be a learning center that promotes Washington food and wine by engaging visitors in the experience of the diversity and quality of Washington food and wine products.

Learn more about the Clore Center at Learn more about the contributions of Walter Clore and Chas Nagel to the Washington wine industry by visiting

Wine Auction Off to an Early Start

Gotta have it! Online auction happening now.
Gotta have it! Online auction happening now.

The 10th anniversary “Celebrate Washington Wine” gala and auction to benefit the WSU Viticulture and Enology Program may be six months away, but you can start bidding now.

We’ve fired up the popular online auction that was launched last year, and some interesting items are already on the digital auction block. New items will be put up for bid regularly, so check to see if there’s something on the block you just have to have. You can link to the auction site by going to

Meanwhile, the planning is well underway for the 10th annual “Celebrate Washington Wine” gala to be held on Saturday, January 22, at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville. It’s not too early to make your reservations.

If you are interested in promoting your business or brand at this premiere event there are opportunities to become an event sponsor at various levels, with visibility and recognition at the event and on promotional materials. All proceeds benefit the V & E Program.

If you’d care to contribute to the program by donating an item or experience for the silent, live or online auctions we’d love to hear from you. We’re also accepting donations of bottles of favorite Washington wines to include in our popular CEO and Women in Wine collections for the auction.

You’ll find sponsorship information, including all the perks that come with each sponsorship level, and online procurement forms for donating auction items at the Web site You can even reserve your tickets while you’re there.

WSU Wine Science Events

Aug. 11 – Getting Ready to Bottle.

Make contact: Eadie Balint can be contacted for more information about these and other upcoming viticulture and enology events at WSU. Phone: 509-372-7264; email:
Make contact: Eadie Balint can be contacted for more information about these and other upcoming viticulture and enology events at WSU. Phone: 509-372-7264; email:

8 a.m. – 3 p.m. CIC 216 on the WSU Tri-Cities campus; $50. Contact Debbie Schwenson to register or for more info and directions.

This seminar is designed to help winemakers to prepare wine for bottling with an eye towards evaluating new and existing technologies.

Aug. 12 – WSU Viticulture and Enology Field Day.

Field day is Aug. 12

8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, 24106 N Bunn Rd., in Prosser. Free and open to all interested persons. In the morning session, visit field plots, labs and the WSU research winery. After breaking for lunch, there will be poster and oral presentations. For more information and a map, please visit

Aug. 24 – Advanced Sensory Workshop: Presentation and discussion of wine aromas and flavor defects.

Sensory workshop

8 a.m. – 4 p.m.; CIC 120 on the WSU Tri-Cities campus; $90. Contact Debbie Schwenson to register or for more info and directions.

In this workshop, we will present several key aroma compounds of wine in a range of concentrations that will allow participants to recognize their personal detection threshold for these important aroma compounds. We will talk about the wide range of sensitivity that exists among individuals and also in the same individual for different compounds. It is important that winemakers (and consumers) know that sensory thresholds are not absolute values – there are people who can detect a particular aroma compound at concentrations well below and some who can only detect it at much higher concentrations. We will also explain in depth where certain aroma compounds come from and what grape growers and winemakers can do to enhance or avoid them.