An Exclusive Gala Offering Rare Opportunity To Taste The Wines Of Wine&Spirits Magazine's Top-Rated Wineries Of The Year

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Okanagan Summer Wine Festival 2004 Vernon, BC, CANADA Info: 800-663-4431;

Nierstein Am Rhein Wine Festival Nierstein, Germany Info: 011.49.6133.960.506;

Winemakers Celebration Custom House Plaza, Monterey, CA. Info: 831-375-9400;

Virginia Wine Festival Millwood, VA. Info: 410-267-6711;

20th Annual Grape to Glass Weekend Russian River Valley, CA. Info: 707-521-2534;

Annual Auction of Washington Wines Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, WA. Info: 206-667-9463;


Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction Sonoma Valley, CABenefits: Local Charities. Info: 707-935-0803;


Sonoma County Showcase
July 15-17

More than 100 wineries and 50 chefs will take Sonoma County by storm at the 24th annual Sonoma County Showcase. The "Appellation Experience" promises tastes of terroir to the thirsty, while the "Taste of Sonoma County" will pair those wines with food from some of the most highly-acclaimed chefs in the region. Also lined up this year are a charity golf tournament, winery lunches and dinners, a live auction and a silent barrel auction, and, to end the weekend, an outdoor concert by the San Francisco Symphony. Info: 707-586-3795; - Rupa Bhattacharya

Finger Lakes Wine Festival
July 16-18

Upstate New York is gearing up for the eighth annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival, to be held at the Watkins Glen Race Track in Watkins Glen, NY. The festival will feature offerings from some of New York's best wineries, seminars in chocolate pairing, tastings of Finger Lakes chardonnay and pinot noir, and cooking classes by the Finger Lakes' best chefs. The festival kicks off with the traditional "Launch of the Lakes" evening, a toga gala with live music and a costume contest where participants can vie for the opportunity to be crowned King and Queen of the Festival. And, to ensure everyone gets up on the right side of the bed, there's a Champagne breakfast every morning. Info: 607-535-2481; - R.B.

International Pinot Noir Celebration
July 23-25

Pinot-heads from all over are making pilgrimages to the heart of Oregon's wine country for the eighteenth annual International Pinot Noir Celebration. Seminars include "Translating Terroir," "California Gems," and "Sake to Me," as well as tips on pinot pairing and marketing. Events include a traditional Northwest-style salmon bake, alfresco tastings with winemakers from as close by as McMinnville and as far away as Israel, an afternoon of live jazz and iced tea oh, and there's also something called Great Expectorations, or the Spitting Olympics: a panel of experts conducting lessons on the art of spitting cleanly and accurately. Info: 800-775-4762; - R.B.

The Society of Wine Educators
August 2-7

The Society of Wine Educators will convene in Sonoma this August for "The Evolution of Wine," a series of seminars, tastings and lectures on wines from around the world. Offerings include "A Tale of Two Terroirs," "The Biology of Tasting" and "Sultans of Shiraz," as well as presentations on subjects ranging from artisanal cheese to the history of the American wine industry. In addition, the conference will also feature a "California Master Class," taught by W&S' own Gillian Handelman and Tara Q. Thomas. Info: 202-347-5677; - R.B.