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Tagaris Winery offers vineyard tour, luncheon

Tour three estate vineyards, sample wines from the barrel and enjoy a Mexican luncheon during a bus tour offered by Richland's Tagaris Winery and Taverna on Sept. 10.

The tour will visit vineyards in the Wahluke Slope and Columbia Valley appellations.

The Wahluke Slope is a 13-mile-wide gravel bar created during the Ice Age floods that ravaged Eastern Washington more than 15,000 years ago. It's bordered on the north by the Saddle Mountains and on the other three sides by the Columbia River.

Top winemakers consider the Wahluke Slope, which is one of the state's warmest grape-growing regions, the backbone of the Washington wine industry. Two Tagaris vineyards, the organic Michael Vineyard and Alice Vineyard, both lie within the Wahluke. The Aret Vineyard lies to the east in the Columbia Valley appellation.

The bus will leave from Tagaris at 9 a.m., returning at about 4 p.m.

The first stop will be the winery's newest vineyard, Michael, with plantings of eight grape varieties.

Winemaker Frank Roth and his staff will pour barrel samples of each grape variety, and grapes also can be tasted from the vine to explore the connection from vine to wine.

Next stop is King Fuji Ranch, home to one of America's largest Fuji apple plantings, with more than 1.5 million trees. The ranch also is the site of Alice Vineyard. The tour will split into smaller groups to visit the orchards and vineyards, with barrel samples and grape and apple picking along the way.

The final stop will be at Arete Vineyard for a traditional Mexican fiesta and wine pairings served at the private park in the heart of the vineyard. The park has 360-degree views of the Saddle Mountains, Mount Adams and Mount Rainier.

Cost is $90 per person.

Tickets are available at Tagaris Winery, 844 Tulip Lane, Richland, or by calling 509-628-1619.

Deadline is Aug. 31. No refunds will be given past that date.

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