Could Cayuse provide foundation for another major wine weekend?

Local officials see potential for Cayuse Winery's release weekend to join the Valley's other three major wine-oriented gatherings.

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WALLA WALLA -- As Cayuse Winery releases its new spring vintages this weekend, many visitors from out of town will come to Walla Walla for the release party and to pick up the wine they have ordered.

Traditionally, the major wine weekends in Walla Walla are Fall Release Weekend, Holiday Barrel Tasting and Spring Release Weekend. Yet Cayuse's April release weekend will draw such a crowd that it has the potential of becoming yet another major weekend.

"We are hoping it will become another one of the big weekends," said Devon Stinger, interim executive director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance.

"It's a great way to kick off spring," Stinger said.

Other events this weekend, including Feast Walla Walla and the opening of a new tasting room on Spokane Street, will benefit from having the visitors in town for the Cayuse release. Feast Walla Walla features more than 32 wineries, 15 restaurants, four artists and a jazz trio.

"Feast will be great. That is a fun event that coincides nicely (with Cayuse weekend)," Stinger said.

Jennifer Northam, events and public relations manager for the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation, agreed.

"We are incredibly excited that Cayuse weekend is during Feast Walla Walla," Northam said.

According to Northam, the people who attend Feast Walla Walla are traditionally 60 percent from out of town and 40 percent local. Cayuse weekend will most likely increase attendance, she said. Ticket presales for Feast have exceeded prior records.

"We are very grateful that we have wineries that are of the prestige and level of excellence of Cayuse that draws such excellent visitors," Norham said.

Joe Volpert can be reached at joevolpert@wwub.com.

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