Avalon Wine  

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire with Kelly Hightower,
Hightower Cellars, at Seattle Taste Washington

“The Washington Wine Industry
has a Friend in the Governor’s Mansion”

“Governor Christine Gregoire
Brings Red Wine Back to the Dinner Table”

Author: Christina Kelly
Co-Author Jean Yates Avalon Editor/Writer

Photos copyright teamphotogenic.com

For more than a decade, the policy at the Washington State Governor’s Mansion prohibited serving red wine at state dinners.

While no one knows when and why the original policy was implemented, some thought it was due to red wine spills on the carpet.

However, Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington State has ended the policy. Red wine—Washington State red wine—will be poured at formal dinners during Gregoire’s administration.














Washington Governor Christine Gregoire
At Seattle Taste Washington


"My husband (Mike) and I are fond of red wine,” said Gregoire after she attended her first Taste Washington event recently. “For whatever reason, when we arrived at the mansion, there was a policy that the only wine to be served had to be white. I think it was due to the difficulty of removing red wine from the carpet.”

“It seems to me that some of the finest wines from Washington State are red, and we plan to serve them.”

Steve Burns, interim director of the Washington Wine Commission, pointed out to the governor that Wine Away, a new red wine stain remover, comes from Evergreen Labs, based in Walla Walla, Wash.

“The technology has changed and we now have a Washington state product that removes red wine spills and drips from carpets,” Burns said.

Gregoire also tasted the bounty of Washington - oysters from Hood Canal and other Washington State delicacies while attending Taste Washington. She said she had the opportunity to "truely taste Washington".

Wine Tourism

Besides attending Taste Washington, Gregoire has plans to involve the wine industry in at least two upcoming trade missions to Paris, Germany and England in one tour, and China and Japan on another trip. The previous governor, Gary Locke, opened frequent dialogue with China and Japan, including the import of Washington State wine.

Brent Heinemann, the governor’s director of international relations and protocol, said wine will be on the agenda of both trips.

“We want to talk about tourism and use Washington’s wine country as a great example to come to Washington,” Heinemann said. “Right now, the European dollar is strong in the U.S. market, so the timing to come and try our wines and see our wineries is good.”

Gregoire also believes strongly in food and wine pairing, and sees an emerging synergy between all the wineries opening in the state with the growth of fine-dining restaurants.

She sites Walla Walla for example.

“(For a long time), the Walla Walla economy was struggling, and was known mostly for the state penitentiary,” Gregoire said in a phone interview after Taste Washington. “Today, it has a reputation for quality wine and quality restaurants. It has a walking wine tour. It is building up its art community. We can do that elsewhere in the state.”

To do that, Gregoire said the state’s community trade and economic development department will partner with local communities to help them with a vision for their communities. She cited the Lake Chelan area, the Hood Canal and the Olympic Peninsula, where wineries are working with local chambers of commerce to bring a tourism destination to those areas. With a vision, communities can build up supporting businesses.

“The state will be a partner in this,” she added.

Doug McCrea, winemaker, with Governor Gregoire

When asked if she had a favorite Washington State wine, the governor clearly indicated she was a fan of many wines produced in the state. She said when she was president of the National Association of Attorneys General a few years back, she insisted that Washington wines be poured at official functions.

“When they (the attorney generals) got a taste of the quality of Washington wines, they were absolutely fans,” she said.

As for taste, Gov. Gregoire said she had an opportunity to sample wines at Taste Washington, and the taste was good.

Governor Gregoire with Jamie Peha, Organizer for Taste Washington


About Christina Kelly
Christina Kelly has been a reporter for West Coast newspapers for more than
25 years. She left daily journalism in 2001 and now writes for northwest-wine.com. She is also the wine columnist for the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, WA. In addition, Christina is currently the marketing/communications specialist for a global company based in Spokane. Her passion for the Northwest wine industry spans her journalism career.

April 18, 2005


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