Washington Wines Festival raises $530,000 for Camp Korey

Charles Smith of K Vintners has been referred to as the rock star of winemaking, but during the 19th Annual Washington Wines Festival, Smith was more like a superhero.

By Lindsay Larin


Charles Smith of K Vintners has been referred to as the rock star of winemaking, but during the 19th Annual Washington Wines Festival, Smith was more like a superhero.

Named the 2009 “Winemaker of the Year” by Food & Wine magazine, the honoree of this year’s Wine Weekend at Camp Korey was presented with a metallic silver superhero cap with the certified Camp Korey logo shining brightly next to a giant black ‘K’.

Smith wore the cape as proudly as he wears his rocker hairdo and dynamic personality during the live auction at Carnation Farm last weekend that benefited the camp. The live auction and raise-the-paddle portion of this year’s Wine Weekend raised more than $530,000 for camp programs and funding for further camp development.

The top 50 wineries from across Washington were represented at the event, including Betz Family Winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle, EFESTE, Northwest Totem Cellars, O Wines, Pomum Cellars, Page Cellars and more. Several Bellevue-based restaurants also were represented during the weekend-long festivities, donating their time, food and services to the event. Mike Rogers and Bradley Dickinson of Pearl hosted a winemaker dinner where they served up a six-course meal with The Capital Grille.

“This is such a great event, bringing the best of Washington wines and food together in one place,” Dickinson said. “We are grateful to be a part of it again this year.”

Now in the 19th year of producing the Washington Wines Festival, Jim Rose and Michael Towers remain humbled by the events success each year. Nearly two decades ago when the two began promoting Washington wines, there were roughly 30 wineries in the state. Now there are more than 700 Washington wineries.

“The food is amazing and the wine is even better,” said Towers. “…and the best part about this entire weekend is that it’s all about the kids. That’s why we are here, enjoying some of the best Washington wines and food. At the end of the day, its all to raise money and support for the kids and for Camp Korey.”

Camp Korey is a nonprofit camp serving children and their families living with serious and life-threatening illnesses. It was founded in 2005 by Jim Rose’s brother, Tim Rose, who lost his son, Korey, to bone cancer at the age of 18. Camp Korey was created to honor Korey and to bring smiles and laughter to hundreds of children every year.

“Korey would have been proud if he was here today,” said Tim Rose, as he held back some tears. “This place has become a living testament to my son’s wonderful life.”

Camp Korey welcomes around 30 campers for week-long camp sessions during the summer months. New additions to the camp this year include the outdoor tipis, wheelchair accessible rope course and zip-line.

This marked the third year the Washington Wines Festival was held at Carnation Farms. A portion of the proceeds from the festival also benefits the Washington Wine Education Foundation, an organization focused on wine education and research for Washington.

“This is the perfect setting to have a fun, relaxed party celebrating Washington wines and giving back,” Jim Rose said during the wine tasting event on Saturday afternoon of Wine Weekend. “A lot of these wineries get asked at least once a day for donations, so for them to all be here speaks volumes to the quality and purpose of this event.”

In addition to donating wine for the auction portion of the event, many winemakers created one-of-a-kind bottles for Camp Korey and the Wine Weekend event. Smith made a custom wine label in honor of Camp Korey’s superhero theme, renaming a bottle of his 2007 Syrah, Magical Camp Korey (MCK).

“It was very unexpected (to be named this year’s honoree of Washington Wines Festival), but very flattering,” Smith said. “The charities I am usually involved in typically revolve around healthcare which is very important, and when it comes to children, even more so. Children can’t necessarily fend for themselves so I am very passionate about helping in any way I can.”

Proceeds raised during Wine Weekend this year will help to fund the Master Plan created by Tim Rose and designed by Phil Korell, Nick Fullerton and Tom Gillion, who worked on the design team for Disney.

The Master Plan includes a revised parking structure, an underground tunnel to help eliminate the elevated grade so campers can move about more easily, additional camper lodging and an on-site museum displaying historical momentous from both Camp Korey and Carnation Farm.

“Not only is Wine Weekend a great charity and a wonderful auction,” Jim Rose said, “But the farm itself is a historical rarity that is really priceless in its own.”

In March of 2010, Elbridge Amos Stuart, the third-generation descendants of Carnation Milk Company purchased Carnation Farm from Camp Korey, leasing the 818-acre property back to the camp for a nominal amount. By doing so, Stuart helped preserve the historical stewardship of Carnation Farm and removed a $30 million burden for Camp Korey.

“What we are doing today, is similar to what my great grandfather was seeking to do more than 100 years ago,” Stuart explained, pointing out the many philanthropic endeavors his great grandfather spearheaded.

“By forming this partnership between (The Elbridge and Debra Stuart Family) Foundation and Camp Korey, we help support the programs the camp does here and preserve this part of Washington’s history. This camp does wonderful things for these kids and is truly a magical place.”

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425-453-4602.