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And 2017 Somm Summit

Inaugural International Symposium

There's nothing like being involved in the first of something - as an attendee of this year's first Somm Summit, you'll have bragging rights for the rest of your life. That's just about ego, though. What you're really getting from this symposium is an amazing education about wine, beer, cider, and spirits. Here's what it's all about.

Christopher Chan served as the Director of Wine and Spirits at Seattle's Rainier Club for 15 years. During that time, he earned the titles of Advanced Sommelier from the Court of Master sommeliers, the Sommelier Diploma from the International Guild of Sommeliers, and Certified Specialist of Wine through the society of Wine Educators. He founded the Seattle/Oregon/Idaho Wine Awards, and has now founded Somm Summit. "It's wonderful to understand the wines in your backyard," Christopher says. "I wanted to bring together international experts and let people learn about and compare wines. There's so much interest in beer, cider, and spirits that it makes sense to bring it all together."

The event brings together enthusiasts, collectors, aficionados, sommeliers, winemakers, tasting room staff, bartenders, industry sales, and trade professionals to experience educational presentations, seminars, and tastings. "Our mission is to host an extraordinary wine and spirits symposium where attendees of all levels of interest can learn, taste, elevate, and share their passion in wine and spirits with acuity via the best industry education programs possible."

The two-and-a-half-day symposium includes morning seminars followed by time to network and taste. Afternoons include two classroom sessions with various experts, the first at 1:15 and the second at 3:15 p.m. There are five classroom sessions going at the same time; you'll have to choose carefully. On the first day, the 1:15 p.m. sessions are repeated at 3:15, but that is not the case on the following days. After classroom sessions (which include samples), it's back to a seminar, followed by a trade tasting reception. The three-hour reception includes food and all the brands from the symposium.

Seminars include the following topics: birth of Washington state terroir with Dr. Kevin Pogue, Professor of Geology at Whitman College, and Tim Donahue, Director of Winemaking and Instructor of Enology at College Cellars of Walla Walla; Washington Syrah with Master of Wine Joel Butler; sparkling wines of South Africa with Jim Clarke, US Education Ambassador for Wines of South Africa; wines of Medoc with Bordeaux expert Wendy Narby; and Lustau master class with sherry expert Lucas Paya, a renowned Spanish sommelier and consultant.

Classroom sessions include Quilceda Creek vintner's retrospective; wines of British Columbia; AVAs of Washington wine; water of life: bourbon, whiskey, and rye; beers of the world with Charles Finkel of Pike Brewery; Napa Valley vintners; diamonds from South Africa; port perfected; three centuries of cognac; rioja; and much more. Each session features 8-10 pre-poured and proofed samples in Riedel glasses, with a template, agenda, Power Point projector and screen, plus a panel of four or more moderators.

Somm Summit takes place on the South Seattle College campus. If you're local, it's good to know that mornings start at 9 or 10 a.m., helping you avoid traffic, and there is plenty of parking. If you're coming from out of town, there are three Somm Summit hotels: The Grove in West Seattle, Hyatt House near the Space Needle in Seattle, and Maxwell on lower Queen Anne. Shuttles will pick you up at the hotels in the morning and return you to your hotel between 8 and 10 p.m. Stay a little longer in Seattle and attend a VIP winery, brewery, and/or distillery tour and tasting (additional charge).

Registration information and costs can be found on the Somm Summit website.

Don't miss this opportunity to up your skills and knowledge while networking with local, regional, national, and international experts. You'll never forget it.

Somm Summit
July 9-11, 2017

Listen to Christopher Chan talk about Somm Summit with us on our May Seattle DINING! show.

Connie Adams/June 2017

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