Grill-off highlights Vintage activities

Events around the Valley are under way as part of the annual wine-oriented weekend.

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WALLA WALLA -- A cluster of local winemakers will turn up the heat to compete tonight for the title of Master of the Grill in the Vintage Pour and Summer Barbecue event that combines food, wine and fundraising.

About 50 Walla Walla wineries will pour their vintage wines and current releases as five winemakers prepare their own dishes during a sold-out event at Waters Winery.

The Dusty 45s, a rock/country/swing band, will provide the sounds for the event that raises money for Seattle Children's Uncompensated Care Fund in collaboration with the Auction of Washington Wines. Last year the fund helped more than 80 Walla Walla Valley children cared for at Seattle Children's, according to an announcement from the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance.

The evening's events are just one part of a Vintage weekend that's drawn visitors to the Valley. Six different winemaker dinners Thursday helped kick off the celebration.

The Vintage pour runs 5-6 p.m. at Waters Winery. The barbecue and music celebration runs 6-10 p.m. Competing for the 2011 Master of the Grill title are: returning champion Rich Funk of Saviah Cellars; Dawn Kammer of DaMa Wines; Brian Rudin of Cadaretta; Gilles Nicault of Long Shadows Vintners; and Lynne Chamberlain of JLC Winery and Spofford Station.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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