Dog tales featured in new book

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Wine, dogs and a new book commemorating both will be center stage Saturday at the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman Shop.

The Second Avenue retail operation will be the first stop for the signing of a second coffee table book produced and published by local resident Barb Whatley.

"Winery Dogs of Washington" is the followup to Whatley's initial foray into the world of canines and cabernet "Winery Dogs of Walla Walla."

The hardbound book features 60 wineries across the state and 92 dogs, with "original tails" written by each winery dog owner, according to an online description. The 128-page book includes full color photographs by Timothy Hall. The book retails for $38, and proceeds help support shelters and adoption agencies.

Whatley will sign copies at the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman shop, 19 N. Second Ave., from 1-4 p.m. Don Redman and his dog, Lucy, of Mannina Cellars and Justin Basel and his dog, Beans and Rice, of Basel Cellars will pour their wines. For more details, call 529-0503. For more details on the book, visit www.winerydogsofwashington.com .

Clarette's Restaurant will hold a grand opening celebration of its recent makeover Friday.

A ribbon-cutting, prize-drawing and food specials will be part of the festivities. Clarette's owner Bob Bennett said the first thousand customers will receive a free gift.

The festivities begin at the restaurant, 15 S. Touchet St., at 11 a.m. The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce and its Ambassadors team will conduct the ceremony.

The remodel included new carpeting, wallpaper, paint, lighting and larger restrooms. Bennett said one of the fun features of the new Craftsman-style decorations including whimsical animal tiles in the new restrooms. "Deer, elk, bears and squirrels frolic across the walls, while frogs and dragonflies hover nearby," he said in the announcement.

Clarette's will hold a drawing for the event. The first prize is $300 in gasoline at Ralph and Mike's service station on Isaacs Avenue. Four second prizes -- $50 gift certificates for Clarette's -- will be awarded. Five third prizes -- $20 gift certificate to Coffee Perk -- will be given away.

As an added treat, guests for dinner will receive a free dish of ice cream in the evening for each meal purchased.

The celebration runs through April 15. Clarette's is open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. For more information, call 529-3430.

A new tasting room in the final stages of construction on downtown Walla Walla's First Avenue is expected to be open for a sneak peek Friday.

Wine at NINE, the tasting room at 9 S. First Ave., will quietly open Friday as a prelude to grand-opening ceremonies later this month, according to an announcement.

The tasting room will be shared by Plumb Cellars and Mansion Creek Cellars.

It had been open amid construction late last year during the holidays, but has since been entrenched in an overhaul.

The artwork of local photographer Mark Van Donge will we displayed in the newly-painted space, and musicians will perform throughout the month up to and including the grand opening April 22.

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

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