Sommeliers to visit Walla Walla Monday

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When it comes to wine experts, Walla Walla will be the host with the most Monday.

For at least a few hours the community will have more world-renowned wine experts per capita than any other city on the planet, according to the Washington Wine Commission.

At least five master sommeliers will make the trip here as part of the commission's third annual Road Trip Washington Wine, a four-day journey through Washington's vineyards and wineries with some of the most influential wine buyers in the country.

The tour runs Sunday-Thursday. Master sommeliers participating will include Eric Entrikin, beverage director for Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino, Calif.; Jay James, vice president of fine wine for Southern Wine & Spirits in Las Vegas; Andrew McNamara, wine educator for Premier Beverage Company in Miramar, Fla.; Melissa Monosoff, sommelier from Savona restaurant in Gulph Mills, Pa.; and Shayn Bjornholm, education director for the Washington State Wine Commission. There are just 105 master sommeliers in North America, and 171 worldwide. On a side note: Walla Walla is home to one such master sommelier. Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars became the youngest American to pass the exam in 1996. He was 26 at the time.

Other guests coming through Walla Walla on the trip include the worldwide wine buyer for Costco; the nationwide buyer for Vino Volo, a popular chain of wine bars with locations in airports across the country; the Southwest regional wine buyer for Whole Foods; the sommelier for Tampa's famed Bern's Steak House, which boasts the world's largest restaurant wine list; and two sommeliers for acclaimed restaurateur Michael Mina, who is preparing to open a restaurant in Seattle next year.

The group represents more than $750 million in annual wine purchasing power. Attendees pay for their own travel to Washington State, and the Washington State Wine Commission will organize the remainder of the four-day trip.

For the record, Monday's visit will include one master sommelier for every 6,354 local residents.

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Walla Walla Clothing Co. is hosting an Eileen Fisher Fall Trunk Show.

The downtown Walla Walla retailer, 103 E. Main St., will celebrate the event today and Saturday all day with Valerie Fisher of the Eileen Fisher operation. Visitors to the store will receive 10 percent off all Eileen Fisher purchases that day only, wardrobe consultation, free gifts, drawings for gift cards and refreshments, said store co-owner Teresa Morasch.

Walla Walla Clothing has carried the brand for a number of years with increasing support from the Walla Walla market. Of the 400 specialty boutiques that carry Eileen Fisher, 18 have been chosen as special accounts of the apparel line. Walla Walla Clothing is one of those. For more details on the event, call 525-4783.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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