I love the end of summer. Those who know me have heard I prefer cooler weather. But one thing I like more than cool nights and dry fall days are the seasonal releases of some of the year's best wines. As the days grow shorter, be assured we are just in time for wine-drinking season to begin.

I realized the season was upon us last Saturday as I checked my mailbox. Between the latest cell phone bill and a bunch of pizza coupons, I found a postcard from my friends, Terrance and Evelyn, at Waving Tree Winery announcing their new release party this Labor Day weekend.

Terrance is releasing his 2006 vintages of Syrah, Sangiovese and Barbera. All of these wines are sure to be some of Terrence's best vintages yet. He sources excellent fruit and manages his barrels carefully in order to produce fantastic "Old World" varietals. I've written previously about past vintages of Waving Tree's Sangiovese. It has scored very well in competitions throughout the Northwest, including several golds and best of show awards. The Syrah also is what I consider to be one of the region's best-kept secrets among "best-buy" wines.

Recently, I had the chance to sample the 2005 vintage of Waving Tree Barbera. It's a bold wine with lots of big bright fruit and laden in pepper and spice. His 2006 vintage is sure to be a hit as well.

Waving Tree will be open through today from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. for tasting. Wines available for tasting at the event will be their Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese Rose, Waving Tree's Super Tuscan Blend, as well as the new releases.

If you can't make it for the event this weekend, be sure to stop this fall on your way down to Portland. Waving Tree Winery is located at Biggs Junction, just down the hill from the Stonehenge monument. While you are there, check out the monument and make your way over to the museum.

There is a bit of warning to everyone wishing to traverse to Waving Tree or Maryhill winery this fall. Starting Sept. 2, the Biggs bridge will be closed for re-decking. This closure will remain in effect until March 2009. So, I suggest taking a quick trip down today and save yourself the longer drive. I'm headed down there myself. I hope to see you there. Have fun, and drive safe.Rich Breshears is a commercial photographer and a marketing consultant for the wine industry. He lives with his family in Kennewick, Washington.

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