Kennewick — The Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau was honored Monday as the Tourism Champion of the Year during the 12th annual Washington State Wine Awards.
The tourism award, along with the retailer and restaurant champions, are meant to recognize industry leaders who show the strongest support for Washington wine.
We can grow the best grapes and make the best wine here in Washington, but we cannot be truly successful without support from these outstanding individuals and organizations, said Steve Warner, president of Washington State Wine, in a statement.
The Tourism Concierge of the Year award went to John Cooper of Yakima Valley Tourism for his service to the wine industry and promotion of wine tourism. Cooper gave credit to the staff of Yakima Valley Tourism and the wineries in the Yakima Valley.
Restaurant of the Year award went to The Marc Restaurant of Walla Walla, while the Independent Restaurant of the Year award went to Russells of Bothell. Schwartz Brothers Restaurants of Western Washington were recognized as the Restaurant Group of the Year.
Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery of Woodinville received the Walter Clore Honorarium in acknowledgment of his dedication to the advancement of the states wine industry.
Anthonys Restaurants were honored for having the Best Event featuring Washington wine for their Raise a Glass, Fund a Scholarship event. Sommelier of the Year went to Jeff Lindsey-Thorsen of RN74 of Seattle.
Retailer of the Year went to Total Wine & More, which has stores nationwide, while the Independent Retailer of the Year was Full Pull Wines of Seattle. And PCC Natural Markets of Seattle was recognized as the Retailer Group of the Year. Dan McCarthy of McCarthy & Schiering Wine of Seattle was honored as the Retail Salesperson of the Year.
The Distributor of the Year was Cru Selections of Washington, while Jason Harris of Youngs Market Company of Washington was recognized as the Distributor Salesperson of the Year. Hotel of the Year went to The Westin Bellevue Hotel.
The 15 businesses and people recognized as leaders by the Washington State Wine Awards will be featured in a full-page ad in March in Wine Press Northwest, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Sunset Magazine, Seattle Met, Seattle Magazine, Sip Northwest, Elle Decor and the 2014 Washington State Wine Tour Guide.
Winners were chosen from more than 100 nominations.
Washington State Wine also gave out a Grand Awards to acknowledge people and groups that designate menu and wine list space for state wines and provide ongoing promotion and education.
Among the Grand Award winners were: Anthonys at Columbia Point of Richland and Yakima Valley Tourism.