A trio of famed Walla Walla Valley producers, led by Norm McKibben of Pepper Bridge Winery and Seven Hills Vineyard, will lead a weekend of tastings, education and a gala dinner for wine enthusiasts during the third-annual Northwest Wine Encounter on June 1-3 in Bellingham.

The weekend includes a wine-tasting event, four interactive presentations with tastings led by top winemakers and a gala dinner featuring the culinary offerings of Whatcom County chefs paired with some of the Northwest’s finest wines.

“Northwest Wine Encounter is for people who enjoy the region’s finest wines and want to learn more from acclaimed winemakers,” said Suresh Rao of DS Vintners, organizer of the event.

All of the Northwest Wine Encounter events will be presented at one of its sponsors, Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center. Reservations for Northwest Wine Encounter may be made through May 10 by calling Four Points Bellingham at 360.671.1011.

McKibben will be joined in Bellingham by:
• Serge Laville, Winemaker for Spring Valley Vineyard of Walla Walla, where its 111 acres of grapevines include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.
• David Blair, Co-Partner of Walla Walla’s Dunham Cellars, renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon.
• Stephen Reustle of Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyard in Roseburg, Ore., the 2017 Northwest Winery of the Year.
• Earl and Carrie Sullivan, Owners and Winemakers of Telaya Wine Co., in Garden City, Idaho, the 2016 Idaho Winery of the Year and acclaimed for its flagship Syrah-based blend, Turas.

The June 2 gala dinner is a collaborative effort among Whatcom County chefs, including Gio d’Aquino and Jacob Hodgson of B-Town Kitchen & Raw Bar; Culinary Instructor Michael Baldwin and Brian McDonald of Bellingham Technical College, and Justin Hawkinson of Crave Catering in Bellingham. The five-course dinner features local roasted lamb loin and lavender-spiced duck breast, plus spiced rum-poached pear for dessert. All five courses will be paired with wines from the participating wineries.

Attendees may choose from multiple options, including:
• All of the tastings, interactive presentations and the gala dinner, plus two nights lodging (double occupancy) and two breakfasts at Four Points Bellingham, for $399.
• Admission to all interactive presentations led by guest winemakers and the gala dinner for $199.
• Attendance only to presentations, $100
• Gala dinner only, $110.

For more information about Northwest Wine Encounter, visit dsvintners.com.