Foothills Magazine Nov-Dec 2012

Page 1

Wenatchee u LeavenwortH u ChelaN u and all of North Central Washington

oothills November-December 2012

Host the Perfect Holiday Party Inside Snow Fun Approaches Award-winning Apple Torte Tsillan Cellars On the Grow $3.99





Editor’s Letter

A Note of Thanks S

ome issues of Foothills come together more easily than others. The one you’re looking at right now turned out to be a little more work than I envisioned when I started planning the issue. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by some very talented people who make my job easier. The Foothills family includes people I consider my brothers and sisters in this business, as well as an uncle or two. We’re hardly a dysfunctional family. We actually make each other better. On Page 5, you can see a photo and read a short description of the people who help make Foothills a mostly smart, funny and good-looking read. A few contributors are my former colleagues at The Wenatchee World. I’m lucky to be able to continue working with them. Photographer Kathryn Stevens is a true talent who has contributed greatly to the look of Foothills. Several contributors are my current co-workers at The World. On top of all the work they do for the newspaper — and they do a lot — they squeeze in time to do regular work for the magazine. The third group is people I’ve only met recently who bring a different and valuable perspective to the publication. Three people whose photos you don’t see on Page 5 also serve important roles in getting the magazine to press. The first is my boss Cal FitzSimmons. Beyond conducting witty Q&A interviews via text each issue, he also serves as my sounding board for story ideas — most of which he doesn’t snicker at. The second is Michelle Jeffers, who spearheads advertising sales efforts for Foothills. She has worked hard to grow the publication from the 40 pages we started at early last year to a strong 64 pages today. I know she cares about the magazine’s success and is pushing hard to reach the 72-page mark. Finally, there is Jared Johnson. He’s the talented designer who takes the words and photos I give him and turns them into something that looks better than I could ever hope. He is a true magician whose ideas I value very much. As we creep toward the holiday season, I’m grateful for all the contributors, the advertisers who consider Foothills a good vehicle to promote their business, and lastly, you, the reader. My thanks to all of you.

Marco Martinez, editor



November / December 2012

Follow us


oothills A bi-monthly lifestyle magazine about North Central Washington

Publisher Rufus Woods Managing editor Cal FitzSimmons (509) 665-1176 Editor Marco Martinez (509) 664-7149 Advertising sales manager Wendy DalPez (509) 661-5221

"On the darkest of nights the men from Lucerne were glad the ladies of Point Lovely left the light on for them."

Special publications manager Michelle Jeffers (509) 661-5226 Design Jared Johnson Staff writers Mike Irwin Dee Riggs Rick Steigmeyer

Lake Chelan,

Staff photographers Mike Bonnicksen Don Seabrook Contributing editor Russ Hemphill

Foothills Magazine is published bi-monthly by World Publishing, 14 N. Mission St., Wenatchee, WA, 98801. Subscriptions: $21 annually Send check or money order to: Foothills, Subscriptions 14 N. Mission St., Wenatchee, WA, 98801 or email Copyright 2012 with all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without written permission.

On the cover: Beecher Hill House provides the setting for our holiday dinner display. Kathryn Stevens photo

Your medical records are just a click away As a patient of Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, you will soon be able to view your medical records online. Our new and secure patient portal provides greater flexibility and more direct access to your health information than ever before. Starting April 16th, sign-up at or ask your doctor or nurse about MyChart at your next visit.

Design by WVMC :: MyChart速 Epic Systems Corp.

November / December 2012




6 3 Reasons We♥

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

8 Fast 5

Aplets, little wooden dudes and chugga-chugga-choo-choo

10 A Boy and His Car Love at first sight for 1978 Camaro owner

12 Beyond Lake Wenatchee Stunning fall images from loop hike

14 She’s a Winner

Lin Stearns’ bakes a prize-winning torte

16 The High Life

Cashmere couple at home on their hill

24 Creativity by the Barrel

Brian Ropp turns old wine barrels into new furniture

30 Texting ... Brad Lamm He has Oprah and Dr. Oz on speed dial

32 Snow Going

Early snow sets the tone for winter sports lovers

38 Season of Change New developments at ski spots

42 Holiday Perfect

Expert tips for hosting this year’s soirée

48 World Class

Tsillan Cellars brings Italian flair to Lake Chelan

54 Message in a Bottle Barb Robertson deciphers trio of local wines

56 TasteMasters

Don’t fear the tasting room experience

60 Winners and Winners Pics from 2012 NCW Wine Awards



November / December 2012

Contributors Sharon Altaras is an amateur sociologist, wannabe motorhead and fashionista. She enjoys walking the neighborhoods of Wenatchee. As a journalist, she’s covered courts, businesses and has helped launch an eco-conscious fashion magazine. Gary Jasinek, who writes in this edition about getting the most our of wine-tasting bars, was managing editor of The Wenatchee World for 13 years. He admits not being very skilled at tasting wine, but claims to be more than competent in the drinking of it. M.K. Resk cannot sit idle for long. Consequently, she is a Wenatcheebased writer, teacher, performer, volunteer, athlete and traveler. For more on her current projects and escapades, visit her at Steve Maher, a former editor and reporter at The Wenatchee World, is an avid long-distance runner, cyclist, hiker and skier. He also likes to keep tabs on the local art and music scene. Kathryn Stevens, owner of Atlas & Elia Photography, merges her years of professional experience in photojournalism with her love for natural-light portraiture to specialize in fine-art wedding and family photography. See her latest thoughts at Writing about unique homes is a joy for Bremerton native Dee Riggs. She likes exploring the thought process that goes into building or remodeling a home. The University of Washington graduate has worked at The Wenatchee World since 1977.


Give Mike Irwin a reason to go and he’s gone. The Wenatchee World reporter and blogger loves to wander the area’s towns and back roads in search of the odd and interesting. Wenatchee World photo editor Don Seabrook graduated from Eastmont High School and earned a communications degree from the University of Washington. Check out his Living Images blog at Rick Steigmeyer is an amateur vintner who writes about wine, food and entertainment on his Winemaker’s Journal blog at He’s been a World reporter since 1989. Mike Bonnicksen has been a Wenatchee World photographer since 1984. When not behind a camera working, Mike can often be found enjoying the region’s beauty and the world in general in the form of hiking, biking, motorcycling and scuba diving.


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Frank Cone is a freelance photographer based out of Wenatchee. His work mainly focuses on the outdoors, but he enjoys new subjects and likes to explore photographic techniques. Frank is married and has two children, Evan and Erin. Donni Reddington works as a Registered Nurse at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. When she’s not working, she’s out playing in the Cascade mountains. Kaylin Bettinger is a recent westside transplant who enjoys the outdoors, sunshine and bratwursts in her newfound home of Leavenworth. She loves to travel, write human interest stories and is always looking for her next adventure.


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♥ Festival 3 reasons we

By Marco Martinez

of Trees

1Holiday Beauty ♥

The four-day festival — Nov. 16-18 and 29 — is a quick jumpstart to the holiday season. Truly, there’s nothing quite like the scene as you enter the lobby of the Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee — in an instant, it’s Christmastime. Perfectly decorated trees that look straight out of New York’s finest department store windows contribute to the breathtaking display. There are plenty of other holiday-themed trappings to complete the scene. The decorative inspiration comes from a crew of 100-plus talented volunteers who spiff up the PAC and trees using the dollars and resources of merchant sponsors. It’s a pairing that works beautifully.

2Spirit of Giving ♥

The trees serve a greater purpose beyond looking fantastic. The immaculate decorations — as well as related items — are Steve Kaminoff auctioned off during a gala dinner on the PAC stage. This year’s dinner/auction takes place Nov. 17, with top chef Richard Kitos contributing his culinary flair to what is arguably the region’s most elegant social event. Tuxedoes aren’t out of place; neither are the dropdead gorgeous fashions worn by the Wenatchee Valley’s trendsetter set. It all adds up to a generous atmosphere, with all proceeds benefitting the Performing Arts Center. Last year’s auction raised $88,000. Kathryn Stevens

Mike Bonnicksen

3Fun for the Whole Family ♥

The festival doesn’t ignore the little people — and we’re not talking about Santa’s elves. This year, children will not only get to meet Santa, but also share a scoop of ice cream with him — separate bowls and spoons, of course. Sundaes with Santa takes place Nov. 18 at the PAC. Children will marvel at the decorated trees, and then their eyes will grow even larger when Santa makes his big entrance. F



November / December 2012

Steve Kaminoff

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Fast Five


Aplets & Cotlets

Sweet perfection

You Ap addicts and Cot hogs can’t hide, not with that powdered sugar dusting your lips. But don’t be ashamed. We’re all sweet on Liberty Orchards’ confectionary concoction, Aplets and Cotlets — arguably the best use of local fruit since cavemen squeezed the first cider. Those cubed candies taste even better after the Cashmere company’s complimentary kitchen tour. It’s an intense exercise in delayed gratification as yummy delights tempt from just an arm’s length away — sort of like following Tammy Gredeski in the eighthgrade lunch line. Warning: The post-tour dash to the freebie Aps and Cots can be fierce. Use an elbow to wedge past old ladies and a lunge to reach over kids for a successful grab of those gratifying goodies.


Kathryn Stevens

The Aplets and Cotlets packing line.



Get Up

November / December 2012

Chug along

’Round and ’round we roll — woo! woo! — as engineers on the Wenatchee Riverfront Railway’s mini-train toot their own horns. And rightly so. The 10-inch gauge railway has to be some of the cheapest fun (kids $2) in North Central Washington as it makes turns on tracks laid in Riverfront Park near the Columbia River. Train buffs affiliated with the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center keep it chugging on a short schedule of only 15 days a year, and its infrequent operation is definitely part of its must-ride appeal. Plus, the diminutive railway has a cute little train station with a real caboose to clamber over. Next departure? Noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 8. All aboard!


Dear deer

They won’t fly or have bright red noses, but two live reindeer complete with antlers will cruise into Chelan on Dec. 14 for the 7th Annual Reindeer Day. Dancer and Prancer? No, they’re not your haul-the-sleigh, magical, supersonic-type deer. More downto-earth, they arrive by truck from a herd in Reardan as part of a full day of reindeer educational activities for school kids in Chelan and Manson. They’ll be corralled

By Mike Irwin

’N’ Go


Don Seabrook

(the deer, not the kids) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, 101 E. Woodin Ave. Curious students will surround the enclosure most of the day, but the public is invited to also take a gander. “Look at the reindeer,” says organizer Ken Bradley. “Then be sure to turn around and look at the wide-eyed expressions of the kids. They’re amazed, truly amazed.”


Bus stop

Wave bye-bye to Link Transit’s nostalgiafueled Red Trolleys as they ding-ding their way to the great Bus Beyond. Patterned after real trolleys of yore, the Reds sport high-quality slat-wood seats and polished brass fixtures that reflect the heyday of big-city public transportation. They’re just the ticket, really, for a remembrance ride into the past, but not for long. The


Kelly Gillin

Nut cases

Kathryn Stevens

20-year-old buses, in service here since 2005, have become hard to maintain. Parts are scarce, the wood is difficult to refinish, and wheelchair lifts are getting creaky. Soon, the Reds will be completely replaced by electric Green Trolleys — the ride of the future, even though they lack those romantic trolley details. If you can, hop a Red soon and take a ride into yester-year.

The home of everything nutty — from an 800,000-year history of nuts to 6,000 actual nutcrackers to TV star Arlene Wagner, the Nutcracker Lady herself — seems to have come out of its shell in recent years as media worldwide went nuts over nutcrackers. Downtown Leavenworth’s Nutcracker Museum has been featured on network television, the Conan O’Brien latenight show and newspapers across the U.S. and Europe. It also spiced the high-energy viral video that featured dapper nutcracker Woody Goomsba flirting with sexy Bavarian babes flashing their dirndls. Best of all, the Nutcracker Museum is all it’s cracked up to be — informative (top five ways to crack a nut), mesmerizing (rooms lined with ’crackers) and kitschy (nuts squeezed in gator jaws). Visit soon. You’d be nuts to miss it. F

November / December 2012



Wheels of wonder

Brenden Copner and his 1978 Chevrolet Camaro. He bought the car when he was 15 and refurbished it. Below, a look under the hood, where Copner made a lot of mechanical upgrades.

Made of

Muscle It took a lot of work to transform this ‘rust bucket’


n older yellow Camaro and newer red Mustang both occupy space in Brenden Copner’s driveway. The Mustang, a 2001 GT with a 281 engine, is fuel-injected and easy to drive. The 1978 Camaro with a 305 engine is a formerly rusted-out beast that could rival Marvel comic character

Bumblebee’s first humble disguise in the 2007 “Transformers” movie. It was Copner’s first vehicle, and at age 15, he found himself in way over his head. The car didn’t run at first and had a lost title. Adults in his life tried to deter him from buying a “rust bucket.” “I just liked it because it was different,” says the Wenatchee resident. He saw the car sitting at a local lot, and saved up his money working at Papa Murphy’s in Wenatchee for a year before handing over $2,000 and getting the car a tune-up. Two weeks later, “I was driving down Western Avenue and the radiator went out.” Soon after, “The heater core went out and blew hot antifreeze all over the interior,” says Copner. A flier came in the mail advertising Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center collision and auto repair courses, and Copner’s mother, Katrina Anderson, suggested he enroll. “He dreams, lives” cars, says

Story By sharon Altaras photos By mike bonnicksen

Anderson, who owns Katrina’s Wedding Boutique in Wenatchee. The oldest of her four sons, Copner collected Hot Wheels from a young age and named the family dog “Shelby” because he likes Mustangs. Though he didn’t have a parent or mentor to teach him, Anderson says Copner spent long hours on his own figuring out the Camaro. “We couldn’t find Brenden sometimes, and one time we hadn’t seen him all day and we were kind of worried. It turned out he was sleeping in it.” Being able to work on his car for free in a professional facility at the Skills Center was a welcome confidence booster. Copner prepped, patched and primed the car, then paid to have it painted a near-stock yellow. He says he misses the transitional days. “I kind of liked driving it all primed and stuff because it was project car. It had sand on it still. I was proud of it.” Using catalog parts, he gradually

pieced together the vehicle to fit his budget. Some improvements make him laugh, now, such as the cold-air intake he says he spent too much money on, or the anti-sway bar with helper springs that fell on his face when he was installing it, cracking his tooth. He put in new gauges and a racing steering wheel, an aluminum Edelbrock intake and Crager SS wheels. A FlowSound exhaust system was professionally installed to replace the raspy-sounding fiberglass-packed muffler that was on before. When the stock two-barrel carburetor was having problems, Copner replaced it with a four-barrel rebuilt by a friend’s father. Currently, Copner picks cherries, delivers pizza and works seasonally at Les Schwab Tire Center in Wenatchee. He’s enrolled in the auto technology program at Wenatchee Valley College and says someday he’d love to work for Shelby American or Saleen. That’s where the Mustang comes in.

A bit over a year ago, Copner sold a 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass he’d fixed up to help pay for the Ford. He bought it, in part, because it’s fuel injected and he wants to learn to work on newer cars. It’s also a throwback to posters he had during childhood. “When I was young, it (Mustang) was my dream car. I knew I wanted a GT. I wanted the one with the hood scoop,” the 20-year-old Wenatchee resident says with a laugh. When they spy both cars, “People say to me: ‘I see you haven’t made up your mind,’ ” adds Copner. But he didn’t grow up in a car-oriented family and is not really a Chevy-versus-Ford guy. During the cosmetic phase for the Camaro, Copner stripped all its emblems. The only marker that remains is imprinted on the glove box. “I don’t think I’ll ever sell it. I would sell my Mustang if I was ever desperate,” he says. “Why do I love cars? Pretty much because of my Camaro. I have scars and stuff from it.” F

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on the trail

A gnarled sign marks the way at Buck Pass near Trinity. Most flowers were nearly dead for this late-summer hike, but a few lingered.

Glacier Peak can be seen in the early morning sun in this photo taken at Image Lake.

I An animal left these tracks in the mud while scurrying around the banks of Image Lake. At right, a bear in the distance, seen in the top center of the photo, makes its way along a fall color infused hillside in the upper Lyman Basin.

took these photos during a fourday loop hike about 24 miles up the Chiwawa River Road from Lake Wenatchee. The popular 44-mile loop is especially beautiful in the fall as bright colors come to the high mountain vistas. The hike offers some spectacular views of Glacier Peak, also. It isn’t a true loop, but the starting and ending trailheads are only 3 miles apart. I started at Trinity and hiked up Buck Creek Trail, spending the night at Buck Pass. On Day 2, I traversed across to Miners Ridge, overnighting at Image Lake. Day 3 took me over Suiattle

and Cloudy passes to camp in upper Lyman basin. Day 4 was a quick 1,100 foot ascend over Spider Gap and out the Phelps Creek Trail through Spider Meadows. I last did this hike about 15 years ago and had forgotten how beautiful it is. I suspect I’ll be doing it more often now. F

Inspiring Still

photos By mike bonnicksen

A marmot watches over his territory near Cloudy Pass. At left, fall colors start to make this hillside glow in the upper Lyman basin.

kitchen creations



Story By marco martinez photos By kathryn stevens


ow good is Lin Stearns’ Bavarian Apple Torte? The proof is in the prize. Her torte earned the Best of Show award in the 2012 Stemilt Growers Ultimate Apple Pie & Dessert Bake-Off during the Apple Blossom Festival in early May. “I usually don’t put foods in contests, but I thought it would be fun, and I had the time,” said Stearns. “As they were announcing the different category winners, I wasn’t among them, so I thought that left me out of the running for Best of Show. It was a real surprise when they called my name.” The Wenatchee woman has more time on her hands to experiment with her baking. In early June, she retired from Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, where she worked as a nurse in the radiation oncology department. Her husband, Rich, is a retired U.S. Forest Service geologist. The couple’s retirement plans include camping, traveling and gardening. She also plans to do more baking. “To me, it’s relaxing and creative,” Stearns said. “ ... My mom was quite a baker. When I was younger, I would bake with her and my grandma. I’ve always enjoyed baking.”

Stearns says it takes her about 45 minutes to get the pie ready to put into the oven. She calls it one of her “go-to” recipes in a pinch.

Lin Stearns said she had never seen an apple peeler before she moved to Wenatchee about 13 years ago. Now it’s a staple of her kitchen tools.

Bavarian Apple Torte Crust

1/2 cup butter 1/3 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup flour Filling

8 ounces cream cheese 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 egg 3 apples (tart variety), peeled and sliced thinly 1/3 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup sliced almonds Crust

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Blend in flour. Spread dough on bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan.

Sprinkling sliced almonds is the last step before the pie’s ready for the oven. Filling

Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg. Pour over crust. Combine apples with sugar and cinnamon. Place apples on filling in concentric circles. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes and reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for additional 25 minutes or until center is set. Cool on wire rack. Loosen edges of torte from side of pan. Refrigerate prior to serving and for storing leftovers. Optional topping: Serve with whipped cream seasoned with cinnamon. F

Lin Stearns retired in June, giving her more time to create award-winning recipes. November / December 2012



Inside home

Story By dee riggs photos By kathryn Stevens

Peace Hills

in the

Cashmere restaurant owners enjoy the high life


t took only a minute for Ken Brownstein and Kurtis Wheeler to decide to buy a home high in the hills above Cashmere six years ago. “The view was spectacular,” Brownstein said. “We think we have the best view in town.” From the front of the house, they can see Little Annapurna in the Enchantment Lakes area, Mount Stuart and Wedge Mountain, along with Mission Creek and Yaksum and Brender canyons. That’s the straight-on view. Turn to the left, and there’s Mission Ridge. And behind the house are the rolling hills of Nahahum Canyon. “Every morning I spend five to 10 minutes, just standing in front of the window up here,” Wheeler said. “When the sun comes up in the morning, if there’s snow on the peaks,



November / December 2012

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they just glow this amazing pink color.” But there’s more. “I love watching storms come into the valley,” Wheeler said. “It can be foggy and nasty down below, but when we come home, we’re above the clouds and it’s beautiful. And still more. “Lots of times, you’ll look out the window and see 30 to 40 deer out here,” he said. Brownstein and Wheeler operate the 1950s-themed Studebaker’s restaurant at the Apple Annie’s Antique Mall just off the main Cashmere and Highway 2 intersection. Despite the three-mile drive into the hills that they have to make to reach home, the couple say they are still only about 15 minutes from work. They own 20 acres that surround their 18


November / December 2012

straw-bale home, which is located between Warner and Nahahum canyons. When they bought the 1,500-squarefoot, two-bedroom home, it was livable but not as functional as the men would have liked. They replaced shingles with a metal roof, making the house that much more protected in case of a wildfire. And they added a 1,200-gallon water tank that collects water from the roof for gardening, and another 1,200-gallon reserve tank for the well. The house is off the electrical grid so the couple depend on solar, wind power and propane tanks. With the straw-bale construction, they say, their home has an extremely high insulation factor of between 48 and 50. To keep power usage down, they say, they do laundry at night and

Ken Brownstein and Kurtis Wheeler sit in the outdoor living area.

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Above, the couple replaced the shingled roof with a metal version. Right, the home sits on a hill overlooking Cashmere. Below, a decorative sculpture adorns the landscape. Below right, the welcome sign near the front door.

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The guest room features a neutral motif with a splash of color. Right, light filters into the living room. never use a coffeemaker. “It uses as much power as our washer and dryer combined,” Wheeler said. The main luxury at the home is a 20-by-40-foot swimming pool on a hill below the house. “It took 22 truck loads of water to fill the pool,” Brownstein said. During the warm-weather months, living high in the hills is an easy commute, but during the winter, the men have to snowmobile from the end of the road up to the house. And when the road is muddy, they ride all-terrain vehicles. They get dirty on those rides, they say, and have to change clothes before heading to work. “In the winter, it’s a harder life here, but it’s still worth it,” Brownstein said. Brownstein said he loves living in a unique house. “It’s a warm-feeling house, I love the privacy, and I love the fact that the walls are uneven,” he said. Wheeler added, “I can’t imagine owning and running a restaurant without having this decompression chamber here. It’s very easy to come home and kick back here.” F

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November / December 2012



artful life

Story By Kaylin bettinger photos By kathryn stevens

W Fine Furnishings He turns old wine barrels into furniture



November / December 2012


n oak barrel graveyard fills the back room of a dark Mission District building in Cashmere. Pieces of old barrels — oak staves and metal rounds — lie in haphazard piles around the workshop. Halves of wine barrels sit on the sawdust-covered floor. This is the place where dead wine barrels are given new life. Brian Ropp gives wine barrels, which can only house wine for three or four years, a second chance as a piece of furniture, art or whatever he can think up.

“Every wine barrel is unique. Every stave is unique. Each piece of furniture has its own uniqueness and it has its own flaws. The flaws are what add that mystique,” said Ropp, owner of Wine Design, LLC. In late 2010, Ropp began turning wine barrels into simple candle holders and coat racks in his home. In 2011, he was laid off from his longtime career as an administrator for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. He turned his unique hobby into a full-time business about

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Brian Ropp, owner of Wine Design, creates furniture out of wine barrels in his shop in the Mission District Building in Cashmere. Below, wine glasses hang below a table that Ropp made from a wine barrel.

246 n mission | | Like us! November / December 2012



Ropp at work. 26


November / December 2012

a year ago. Now, a list on his office white board reminds him of the lineup of projects he needs to finish. Though he started simple, Ropp is imagining and crafting new projects all the time. In early summer, Tsillan Cellars Winery asked him to transform a wine barrel into a kegorator, his name for a classy housing for beer kegs to be used at weddings. Ropp sealed the barrel’s inside with swimming-pool finish so it didn’t leak when the ice inside melted, fastened a lid and drilled holes for a tap. He’s also dreaming of creating chandeliers out of the metal rounds and sinks out of wine barrels halves. “I kind of love it,” Ropp laughed. “I’m down here and I get going on stuff and the music is playing and next thing I know, it’s 12:30 a.m. I should go home! My poor dog!” In the Wine Design showroom, evidence of Ropp’s creativity flavors the dark space, making the room feel as much like a wine cellar as a wood shop. Wine barrel coffee tables serve as vehicles to hold candle holders and cheese plates, all made from old oak barrels, stained a reddish purple by wine. An adirondack chair sits in the hall. Spheres made from the wine barrel’s metal rounds hang from the ceiling. Living in North Central Washington, Ropp has no shortage of wine barrel suppliers. There are 700 wineries in Washington, about 65 of which call North Central Washington home, said Hank Manriquez, Cascade Foothills Farmland Association spokesman. After about four years, wine barrels either need to be sold or refurbished because enough wine has soaked into the wood to disrupt the oaky flavor from making its way into the wine it holds. Todd Bunker, assistant winemaker at Vin du Lac Winery in Chelan, said the medium-sized winery sells about 75 to 200 used barrels a year. Ropp buys some of his barrels from Vin du Lac, but he isn’t their

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Wine Design also sells wine accessories, like these wine bottle decorators made to look like kimonos. only buyer in Chelan County. Bob Buhl of Chelan also uses their wine barrels to make furniture for his business, Bare Woodworks. Ropp said about half of Wine Design’s customers are businesses, while the rest are regular folks looking to spice up their homes. The business is growing, with customers in Bellingham, Spokane and Portland. So far, Ropp has used almost 100 barrels since he opened the shop less than a year ago. Prices for his wine-barrel creations range from $15 for a cheese tray to upwards of $600 for a coffee table or a kegorator and about $1,000 for his most expensive item, a coffee table made without any other material besides pieces of the wine barrel. Ropp’s pieces are equal parts art and furniture. After he is finished creating a piece, he hand burns decorations into it — anything from a last name on a frontdoor sign, to detailed pictures of grapes and wine bottles on a wine barrel table. “All the wood is burned. I try to wood burn a lot of stuff because it just adds uniqueness to the barrel instead of using paint,” Ropp said. 28


November / December 2012

Ropp made this bar from two wine barrels and a pine tabletop.

A cheese board made from a wine barrel, naturally stained by the wine on the inside of the barrel. Before he started this entrepreneurial endeavor, Ropp said he wasn’t really a wine guy. So is he now? Ropp laughs and says absolutely. It’s part of his inspiration.

“Sometimes I just open a bottle of wine and have a glass and turn on some music and stare at (the barrel) for a while and come up with ways to fix it,” he said. F

Wine Design LLC Owner: Brian Ropp Address: 207J Mission St., Cashmere Store hours: 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, 1 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Phone number: (509) 630-3505 On the Web:

Ropp custom-made this bread board for Snapdragon Coffee in Cashmere with built-in cup holders for oil or butter. The stain on the board is from the red wine that soaked into the wine barrel that was used to create the piece.

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Wednesday-Saturday: 11-4 First Fridays: 11-8 ~ Sunday: 1-4 102 N. Columbia Street, Wenatchee For Information: 888-9504 An artist-run non-profit cooperative November / December 2012



By cal fitzsimmons


Texting... Brad You say you were “conceived in Quincy, born in Wenatchee.” What’s the story on that? Maybe without too many details. Dad was the pastor at the little country Quincy Friends Church. Three boys. They were done with having kids, even had a horse named Rascal that bit folks. I was a surprise. Conceived in Quincy, there at the parsonage as Lamm lore has it. Birthed in Wenatchee, as the hospital was there.

So, your memories of Wenatchee consist of hospital walls? You left the area at age 2 but have you ever come back?


rad Lamm, a lifestyle interventionist who was born in Wenatchee while his family lived in Quincy, is the author of several books on life improvement, including family intervention, weight loss and smoking cessation. He is probably best known for his appearances on the “The Dr. Oz Show” and is a board member of Dr. Oz’s HealthCorps. He also created and produced the docuseries “Addicted to Food” on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and makes regular appearances on “The Today Show.” In 2008, he married television and theatrical producer Scott Sanders in a ceremony officiated by novelist Alice Walker.



November / December 2012

Hehehe. And apple orchards. I’ve come back over the years to visit and work. We do a lot of intervention work with families in Washington state. Any reason for me to get back there!

You’re at a Lifestyle Intervention Conference in Las Vegas now. Isn’t that like holding a Weight Watchers meeting in a bakery? By the way, apples is always a winning answer. Or it’s like taking the message to the Valley of the Afflicted. Nearly everyone wants less of the bad, and more of the good for their lives. But we are all creatures of habit, and people change best with help.

Ah, good point. You’ve worked a lot with Dr. Oz. Is it just me or does he look a lot like Jason Bateman. (Substance-free question, so you should be pleased.)

Hehehehe. He’s such a good man. He and his wife Lisa are amazing folks. Plus he’s the hardest-working person I know. I met Mehmet in South Africa years ago when Oprah was opening her Leadership Academy for Girls. We hit it off right away. Talking help and hope and behavioral change. I’ll take that as a yes, a Jason Bateman ringer. Since you brought up Oprah, I know you did a series for her network. Did you get to hang at her house? You really think they look alike? I’ll have to get a visual for that. Not seeing it. She is a dear friend and I sure dig her and her reach. Just consider the thing she’s known the least for, her girls school in South Africa. She has invested in the future of that nation through educating and

Lamm equipping and engaging young women. The culture there says if you’re black you’re undervalued and black female? Forget about it. She has helped so many. I love that. I think we are all called to service. Am I my brother’s keeper? I think so. We are called to care and love and help those in need. I’m totally my father’s son. (His question) Do you live right there in Wenatchee? I can smell Wenatchee when I think of it. Yes. What you’re smelling right now is the smoke from our wildfires. It’s been bad for weeks. Is what you teach tough love? You seem so nice. I teach love with accountability and best-case roles. Mom as mom, not law enforcement. Husband as husband, not Banker for an adult child. You know with addictive behavior roles get messed up. Life gets confused for the whole family. The circle gets discombobulated. In ways, I’ve taken everything I’ve learned from different teachers and helpers and created the Family Program to help folks recover. You had your own struggles. Was there someone who gave you what you now give others? Some friends sat me down and said “hey we think you’re gonna die. What’s up???!!! I was addicted to meth, booze, pills and cigarettes. I was so sick and thin. Is there a point where a family just has to let go? Where their own well-being is threatened? I hear “detach with love” a lot but my hope is families will try what I teach before they detach. When someone isn’t thinking straight is it

any surprise they have a tough time doing the right, the smart and the best thing right off? Of course not. I use an interventional method of invitational intervention coupled with six months of Family Class. This kind of commitment matters and helps!

How do you preserve your own happiness when dealing with so much misery?

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I pray. I work out. I eat very cleanly. No sugar. I love a lot and laugh. My life today is a dream. So grateful I am alive and thriving.

On a lighter note, what kind of music do you listen to most? Favorite musicians? Love Adele, Amy Grant, Indigo Girls. Give me a girl with a guitar and I’m happy.

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If you had the power to eradicate one, and only one, bad behavior what would it be? One superpower moment? Obesity. When a famous interventionist marries a famous theatrical producer isn’t it a recipe for over-analyzed drama? Marriage is amazing and I’m the luckiest guy in the universe. Drama and all. The upside is walking downstairs and having Hugh Jackman sitting in the living room. Could be worse!



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NCW recreation


Adam Vognild and Reese Bradburn check out the famous Madison Avenue run in the North Cascades. Donni Reddington

Stories By Steve Maher

& Early Breaking Apart That First-Season Snow


unrise comes slowly, the first streaks hitting the top of the North Cascades and then filtering down into the foothills and valleys below, all the while exposing an early season snowfall from the night before. It’s getting to be the later part of November, and from the Methow to Blewett the entire landscape is suddenly white to the eye. If you’re a winter recreationalist, it’s time for elation, right? It all depends. On your sport.

On your location. On the water content of those first flakes. Just about everyone knows Chelan and Okanogan counties, with their ideal location along the east slopes of the Cascades, are a haven for snow sports. You name it and it’s available: Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing. The region also has a well-earned reputation for the dry stuff, the champagne of snow, more typically found in the Rocky

Erin McKay skis the backcountry near Stevens Pass.

“When we get good early snowfall, it brings tons of people into the valley.” — Scott Paton, Arlberg Sports

Mike Bonnicksen

Dave Pickard of East Wenatchee, snowshoes toward Mission Peak. 34


November / December 2012

Mountains than in the moist Pacific Northwest. But not as well understood is the impact of what falls first and where. In the Methow Valley, home to the largest cross-country ski system in North America, some 120-plus miles of world-class trails, an early, dry snowfall — even just a few inches — is celebrated as much as a foot of the wet stuff. “If we can get a couple inches and pack it down, we can start skiing,” says Kristen Smith, marketing director of the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association, which oversees the system. At Mission Ridge Ski & Snowboard Resort, located just outside Wenatchee, however, a bunch of dry snow in November before a base has settled in, can be as welcomed as the Table Top Fire that threatened the resort this past September. The same goes for the snowmobile crowd eager to take their big machines into the backcountry. “Drier snow can be great, but only if we get that wetter snow early. You need that wetter snow to set up a base,” says Scott Paton, who grew up skiing in the

Donni Reddington

Donni Reddington

Erin McKay stops for a little nourishment while looking for her next backcountry ski experience. valley and is now owner of Wenatchee’s Arlberg Sports, the oldest retail store of its kind in North Central Washington. Mission Ridge, which is often applauded for having some of the best (509) 548-7864

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snow in the Northwest, expanded its snowmaking system a few years ago in a bid to help create that early base. Once a good base has been established, bring on the dry snow — and more the merrier. “The drier stuff is easier to ski,” Paton says. “Having that kind of snow also allows us to use it longer.” In the Methow Valley, the community is positioned favorably for whatever the early season brings. MVSTA devotes an estimated 650 hours to mowing — yes, mowing — much of the 120 miles of trails in the fall so when the white stuff arrives, the Nordic system can open with just a light coating on the ground. It also helps that the Methow doesn’t get the winds that Mission Ridge, the Wenatchee Valley and the Lake Chelan Valley can experience. “We’ve never had an issue when it’s too dry,” says the MVSTA’s Smith. “In our industry, we’re not so tied down to it as the alpine industry or snowmobilers.” In Leavenworth, which attracted a record 60,000 skier visits to its four Nordic ski locations a season ago, it doesn’t take much snow to open trails, either. A bigger issue is what happens during the season. “We always have a cold snap and then a melting cycle. Our challenge is

Donni Reddington

A break in the snowmobiling action up Icicle Road near Leavenworth. Lower left, Mount Gardner looms over a Methow Valley Pursuit racer near the Town Trailhead. ‘farming’ all the snow,” says Rebecca Darley, marketing director with the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club, which manages the trails. “We always get a blast of snow and then we need to maintain it. We do whatever we have to do to make it happen, within reason.” With mid- to late-November looming, all eyes are on the forecasts. The National Weather Service in Spokane is anticipating a mild El Niño this winter, which typically means slightly drier and warmer conditions than the norm. The last two winters in NCW have been marked by La Niña patterns. Historically, in the Wenatchee area, 87 percent of El Niño winters have been characterized by near to below normal snowfall, says National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Fliehman. “Right now, we are predicting it is not going to be a real strong El Nino,” Fliehman says. As with other recreational pursuits in the region, winter or summer, the impact of weather patterns on tourism and the economy can be immense. MVSTA

Enjoying the fluffy stuff While North Central Washington is known for great skiing at established areas, it also is home to other ways to get out and enjoy the snow. Here are links to a few other options: Snowmobiling: applecountrysnow, lkchelansnowmobileclub. com, winter_snowmobiling.php Snowshoeing: Wenatchee/pages/page/?pgid=101,,, icicleinn. com/activities/wintersports.htm, outdoor-recreation/fall-winter-activities/ snowshoeing.html Backcountry skiing: Wenatchee/pages/page/?pgid=99 Heliskiing: “When we get good early snowfall, it brings tons of people into the valley,” Paton says. “It seals our Christmas break business.” F

The peaks, the sun, the snow — a classic scene from Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort. Mission Ridge

Snow w Ready


The Methow Valley Sport Trails Association is opening up some trails this winter to snow bikes.

Season of Changes Across NCW


hile you were hiking the Enchantments or paddling the Wenatchee during the warm-weather months, your favorite ski spot has been busy getting ready for the coming season. Below are some improvements and changes you’ll find at the region’s three most popular areas.

Methow Valley No need to put the bike away anymore when the first snow flakes begin to fly. The Methow Valley Sport Trails Association is opening up some trails this winter to snow bikes — specially made bicycles that feature ultra-wide, low-pressure tires. “Snow bikes are the fastest growing segment in the bike industry right now,” says Kristen Smith, MVSTA marketing director. “We have a lot of locals who have one. So we said, ‘Let’s do it. No one else is doing it.’” Under the pilot program, snow bikes (tires must be wider than 3.7 inches and tire pressure must be less than 10 psi) will be allowed every day at Big Valley 38


November / December 2012

and at other selected trails depending on snow conditions. Information on what is open will be posted daily on the grooming report at A valid day pass will be required for snow bikes at all locations except for Big Valley. In addition, the bikes can be rented at Methow Cycle and Sport in Winthrop. Meanwhile, MVSTA also has created a kids cross-county ski terrain park at the Winthrop Town Trailhead and is offering free skiing to anyone 17 years of age and under (it used to be 12 years and under). Last season, the trail system recorded 7,000 youth skier visits. It hopes to increase that figure to 14,000 with the free-ski offer. “That is our future, and the more kids we can get skiing the better it is for everyone,” Smith says.

Mission Ridge The ski area’s Hampton Lodge has undergone a transformation to give it a more natural look. Paint on the walls has been stripped down to expose wood

and stone flooring has been installed. Outside, the terrain park is getting a rope tow that was previously located off Chair 1. Mission Ridge also has combined two age groups into one (7to 24-year-olds) and is offering season passes for $269 to that group, says Jason Lindstrom, marketing director. Those aged 18 to 24 previously paid $459, 13- to 17-year-olds paid $369, and 7- to 12-yearolds paid $299.

Leavenworth It’s mostly status quo for the ski trails in the vicinity of the Bavarian Village. Last season, the trail system attracted 60,000 skier visits, a 5-percent jump from the 2010-11 season. The biggest change this season may be in the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club office, where Mark Milliette, who managed Mission Ridge for a dozen years, is now in charge. The LWSC also is expanding its “family dinner night” at the Leavenworth Ski Hill Lodge. Each Wednesday night, skiers and tubers can order off an affordable menu. F

ALPINE SKIING Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort Location: 12 miles southwest of Wenatchee Elevation: 4,550-6,820 feet Lifts: One high-speed quad, three double chairs, two rope tows Operating hours: Day skiing ThursdayMonday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, night skiing 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays in January and February. Lodging: The Wenatchee Valley has more than 3,000 hotel rooms; call the Wenatchee Valley Visitors Bureau at (800) 572-7753 or; Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce at 548-5807 or leavenworth. org; or Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce at (800) 4-CHELAN or Information: 663-6543; 663-3200 (snow line);

Winter Spotlight Stevens Pass Ski Area Location: 37 miles west of Leavenworth on Highway 2 Elevation: 4,061-5,845 feet Lifts: Two high-speed quads, one fixed quad, three triple chairs, three double chairs, plus two surface conveyor lifts Operating hours: Day skiing 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., night skiing 3 to 8 or 10 p.m. when conditions permit. Lodging: SkyRiver Inn in Skykomish (16 miles away), (800) 367-8194; Stevens Pass Motel, (360) 793-6633; Dutch Cup Motel in Sultan (40 miles), (800) 8440488. Additional lodging available at Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth. (Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce at 548-5807 or Information: (206) 812-4510; (206) 6341645 (snow line);

Donni Reddington

Jim and Jess McDonald enjoy the snow at Mission Ridge.

November / December 2012



A snowboarder makes hay at Mission Ridge.

Badger Mountain Ski Hill Location: Four miles southwest of Waterville Lifts: One B-tow, one T-bar, and two rope tows Operating hours: Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lodging: Four miles to lodging at the Waterville Hotel Information: 745-8273; index.htm

Echo Valley Ski Area Location: 10 miles north of Chelan Elevation: 3,000-3,900 feet Lifts: One poma, three rope tows Operating hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Lodging: Many options in Chelan and Manson (Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce at 800-4-CHELAN or lakechelan. com). The ski area has a day lodge, eatery and tubing hill. Information: 682-4002;

Loup Loup Ski Bowl Location: On Highway 20 between Twisp and Okanogan Elevation: 4,120-5,360 feet Lifts: One quad chair, one platter surface tow, one rope tow Operating hours: Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday most of the season. Open daily, weather permitting, during the Christmas holidays, but closed Dec. 25. Open Wednesdays in January and February. Open on Martin Luther King Jr. 40


Mission Ridge

holiday in January and the entire week for Presidents Weekend Holiday in February. Lodging: Several hotels available in Twisp (16 miles away) and Okanogan (18 miles away). Information: 557-3401;

Sitzmark Ski Area Location: 21 miles northeast of Tonasket in Okanogan County Elevation: 4,300-4,950 feet Lifts: Two: One double chair, one rope tow Operating hours: Thursdays, weekends and holidays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lodging: Eden Valley Guest Ranch has one-bedroom houses, 7 miles away (4853323). There is lodging in Oroville and Tonasket; both towns are about 20 miles from the ski area. Information: 485-3323; 485-3323 (snow line),

NORDIC SKIING Leavenworth Location: Three trails within three miles of town, plus tubing and rope tows. Trails: Ski Hill — One mile north of town on Ski Hill Drive, 7K groomed and all 5K trails lit. Also a tubing park with a tube lift and alpine skiing with two rope tows are offered at Ski Hill. Golf course and Waterfront Park — Total 11K, both groomed. Icicle River — Three miles south of town near fish hatchery, 8K groomed. Most trails have double-set tracks and a skating lane. Open: Ski Hill hours are 3 p.m. to 7 p.m, Wednesday and Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

November / December 2012

Saturday; and 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Additional days during the holidays. Icicle River, Waterfront Park and the Golf Course are open daily. Facilities, services: Food services are available at the Icicle River trailhead. Ski Hill and Waterfront Park offer snack bars, restaurants, coffee shops in downtown area. Lodging: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce at 548-5807 or www. Information: 548-5477; 548-5115 (conditions);

Lake Wenatchee Location: 5 miles north of Coles Corner, off of Highway 207 North Trails: Three areas make up the Lake Wenatchee system — South Park and North Park (about 18 kilometers of trails combined) and Nason Ridge (25 kilometers). South Park and North Park are gentle and ideal for classic skiing. Nason Ridge is more challenging and groomed for both classic and skate skiing. Open: Daily, snow permitting Facilities, services: Nearby Kahler Glen Golf & Ski Resort has a restaurant. There also is food available at Coles Corner. Lodging: Kahler Glen has condos for rent during the winter, and limited accommodations are available at Coles Corner. In addition, Leavenworth is located about 20 miles away. Information: (509) 763-3101,

Kahler Glen Location: 4 miles north of Coles Corner, off of Highway 207 North Trails: There are several miles of groomed trails on Kahler Glen’s golf course. The golf course trails also connect with the larger Lake Wenatchee system. Open: Daily, snow permitting. This is a private facility. However, Kahler Glen has a pro shop where people can rent equipment. It also rents condos during the winter. Facilities, services: Kahler Glen includes a restaurant and pro shop. Lodging: Condos are available for rent during the winter. Information: (509) 763-4025;

Stevens Pass Nordic Center Location: Five miles east of Stevens Pass summit on Highway 2 Trails: More than 24 kilometers of tracked trails, including a skating lane. Open: Thursdays-Sundays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Facilities, services: Rental equipment, prepackaged food, instructors and restrooms. The Cascade Depot, Stevens Pass’ Nordic lodge, offers food, rental shop, instruction, trail passes and accessory shop. It also has 3.5 kilometers of snowshoe trails and interpretive snowshoe walks. Information: (206) 812-4510; (206) 634-1645 or (425) 353-4400 (conditions); aspx

Scottish Lakes Location: 17 miles west of Leavenworth off Highway 2 Trails: 35 miles of backcountry trails at 5,000-foot elevation in the Chiwaukum Mountains. Also, many wilderness trail routes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Open: Daily; transportation departs from Highway 2 parking lot at various prearranged times. Facilities, services: Backcountry ski touring, lodging, snowshoeing, sledding, snowboarding, wood-fired cedar sauna and hot tub, transportation from highway (reservations required). Information: (509) 763-3044;

Echo Ridge Location: On north side of Lake Chelan, about 10 miles from the town of Chelan Trails: Just over 25 miles of trails, with stretches for both skate and classic track

Skate skiing on freshly groomed Methow Community Trail. MVSTA

skiing. More than half of trails are easy. About 70 percent were built exclusively for cross-country skiing and are looped on a series of ridge tops with scenic views. There are three miles of classic-type ski trails. The club has a 20-foot-diameter yurt warming hut. Lower Echo Ridge is at 3,600 feet elevation, and Upper Echo Ridge is about 100 feet higher. Open: Trails are open 24 hours. National Forest ski area is groomed by Lake Chelan Nordic Club. Normal grooming occurs on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, except for holiday periods. Facilities, services: Concessions, rentals and day lodge located two miles from Nordic trails (all facilities at Echo Valley alpine area, and open weekends, holidays only). Lodging: There are numerous options in Chelan and Manson. (Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce at Information: 670-8467, (800) 4-CHELAN, lakechelan

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Methow Valley Location: Okanogan County Trails: The Rendezvous, Mazama and Sun Mountain systems offer a combined 166 kilometers of world-class groomed trails. Depending on your skill and fitness level and your location on the trail system, you can enjoy inn-to-inn and hut-to-hut skiing. Open: Daily Facilities, services: The Methow Valley — and Mazama, Winthrop and Twisp — cater extensively to winter recreation, so numerous restaurants, stores, rental shops are available throughout the valley. Lodging: Methow Valley Central Reservations, (800) 422-3048 Information: (509) 996-3287; (800) 6825787 (conditions); F

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Want your holiday party guests to wear formal attire? Be sure to spell it out on the invitation.

H osting Perfect

Story By M.K. Resk photos By kathryn stevens

Holiday Party


oliday entertaining can be as elaborate as a seven-course meal or as simple as gingerbread and eggnog. Whether you’re a tried-and-true traditionalist or you love trying new trends, here are some useful tips from the region’s best party planners.

Choose A Theme It all starts with a single idea. For inspiration, Pinterest is a popular online tool among event planners in the area. The “virtual pinboard” is loaded with images and makes sharing ideas easy. Peruse magazines like Celebrate, websites like and party.lifetips. com, and even old cookbooks for vintage ideas to spark the imagination, too. Nicky Allison, owner of Allisons of Manson and The Cutting Garden, suggests throwing a “Christmas at Grandmother’s House” party or “An English Holiday Day” using old family recipes.

Plan It Out Once a theme is selected, it is time to start planning. Kelley Kennedy of Impact! Events, says to check the date with your close friends before confirming to make sure the date works for many people. She also thinks it’s a good idea to consider the goal of your event, whether it’s networking, housewarming or simply celebrating. “To stay within your budget,” Kennedy suggests, “choose what areas are the most important to meet your event goals. Is it the food, entertainment, atmosphere and décor, or an amazing ‘wow’ factor?” Decide the big things like date, time, size, invitation list, casual or formal affair, appetizers or full dinner. Then, says Libby Harrison of Sweet Bliss Weddings and Events in Pateros, fill in details like designing a menu, handcrafted invitations and name cards to match your theme.

A simple invitation with specifics about expected attire and whether dinner will be served is the right choice when planning a party. November / December 2012



Set Clear Expectations Peggy Nichols, owner of Pickle Papers in Wenatchee, urges hosts to include exactly what’s expected on invitations. “If there’s going to be a sit-down dinner or if I need to eat before I get there, be sure to include it,” she says. Also include whether specific attire is requested and if children are welcome or not. Think of your guests’ expectations when planning your soiree. Hosts often suggest having light hors d’oeuvres for parties at 6 p.m., says Kyle McCubbin, banquet and catering manager for the Wenatchee Convention Center. “Everyone that comes at 6 p.m. is going to want to eat a full dinner,” he often reminds people. In today’s e-vite world, Nichols is a staunch pen-and-paper lady. She insists that invitations should be handaddressed. “You can use a return address sticker on the back but having it handaddressed makes the person receiving it feel so much more special,” she says. But don’t go overboard. “Simple is much better and much more classic. Just the facts, ma’am. Basic time, place and what’s expected,” she adds.

Create The Space Monica Simmons and Cyndy Jaynes of Claret Interior Design Service suggest creating a special mood by choosing simple and elegant decorations, candles or other lighting, cozy seating areas and background music. You don’t have to play Christmas music, Simmons reminds. “It can even be cool jazz music!” “Use stuff in your home,” Harrison agrees. “There’s so much that people don’t realize that they have and can make work.” For instance, instead of paying for rentals, use furniture from other rooms. Repurpose objects, borrow items from friends, or look for reused, reasonablypriced decorations at stores like Out On A Whim, Simmons suggests. Lisa Traum of looks to her own backyard to give tired holiday decorations a fresh life. To create 44


November / December 2012

Personalize It The right dessert — like these lemon bars from Anjou Bakery — is a good punctuation for the holiday party meal. a natural feel, she says to gather pine cones, branches and birch twigs and display objects like ornaments, white lights and votives among the greenery throughout the house for a cohesive, organic look. It’s also important to give some thought to room flow. Since the kitchen is often a gathering spot at parties, Harrison distributes bowls or trays of snacks throughout the living room to keep people munching and mingling in the living space instead of creating a bottleneck in the kitchen.

Kennedy likes to include something guests will really enjoy and remember. Harrison designs a signature cocktail for each of her events. Allison likes a new twist on the old-fashioned cookie exchange: trade wines, jams or homemade preserves instead. Better yet, package goodies for a local food bank, homeless shelter or retirement community. Traum recommends making homemade “unique tokens of holiday cheer.” Baked goods in pretty packaging, homemade body scrubs, creative gift baskets or candies in small mason jars can be used as hostess or parting gifts, she says.

Decorate The Table

Food And Beverage

McCubbin takes a simple approach to centerpieces. Every event starts with the same basic look: a napkin, mirrored tile and a votive. From there, the table can be dressed up or down to give a unique touch. Simmons and Jaynes suggest lining your table with silver and white candles in silver candelabras. Then choose one accent color, “which doesn’t have to be red and green,” Simmons reminds, and fill silver compotes or other bowls with items of that color, such as oranges or Christmas balls. Allison sets a fancy table by layering linens and place settings, using runners on top of tablecloths, then ribbons on top of runners. “I use glass plates with a leaf or a photo under the plate (on top of a charger) or between plates. It makes for more dishes but great compliments,” she adds. She also likes to have a little “favor” at

If you have to choose where to splurge, put your time and money on what goes in your mouth, says McCubbin. “They’ll remember the food more than anything else,” he says. Allison’s latest idea for a holiday party puts a new twist on the old potluck theme. Include a simple recipe for a side dish in your invitation. “Then you make the main dish and you can have as many sides as you wish,” she says. She also recommends wine and cheese pairings, olive oil tastings or having a party where everyone brings a bottle of wine in a bag and you taste and guess using multiple choice.

y a d i l o H a rm th W

The right table setting sets the tone once guests sit down to share a meal. each place. “This might be a miniature flower vase with a bloom tucked in, a votive candle, a small jar of homemade jelly or syrup or a special chocolate that can go home or serve as dessert.”


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Keep It Fun “You want your guests to feel as comfortable as possible,” Harrison says, so create an inviting atmosphere, approach guests warmly, and foster a welcoming mood. “People eat up the ambience and festivities. Pay attention to all the little details. Make it fun and festive,” says Kathy Welsh of Warm Springs Inn. Things may not go absolutely perfectly, but if the pumpkin pie is a tad overdone, keep it all in perspective. Remember, it’s time to celebrate!

Want to avoid the stress of hosting a party? Consider having your party catered or having the party at Beecher Hill House, Warm Springs Inn, a winery or another venue that hosts parties.

How to be The Perfect Guest 1. RSVP

6. Acknowledge Your Host

“If RSVP is written on an invitation, it means the invited guest must tell the host whether or not they plan to attend the party. It means the host needs a definite head count for the planned event, by the date specified on the invitation,” says Kelley Kennedy of Impact! Events.

“Greet and thank your host soon after you arrive,” says Kennedy.

2. Bring Children Only If Invited

“If your children are included on the invitation, you may bring them, but keep a good eye on them. If they are not included on the invitation and you are unsure, you may call the host to ask if children are invited,” Kennedy offers. 3. Dress Appropriately

“If the invitation includes a suggested attire, dress to fit that suggestion. The host added it for a reason,” Kennedy says. 4. Arrive On Time

“Remember to be on time or fashionably (five minutes) tardy, never early unless your host or hostess has requested your help,” reminds Nicky Allison, owner of Allisons of Manson and The Cutting Garden. 5. Always Use The Front Door

“Always use the front door or main entrance to the home, even if you are backdoor neighbors,” says Allison.

7. Bring A Hostess Gift

“Bringing a hostess gift is a very nice way to say thank you for inviting me,” says Kennedy. Allison says, “Think of something that can be consumed, such as a candle, special cocktail napkins, wine, cheese, a wonderful bottle of olive oil or a small basket of chocolates. Homemade jams and jellies or flowers are always a hit.” 8. Drink And Eat In Moderation

“Eat before you go to an event that is serving appetizers or snacks. You will keep the holiday pounds off if you eat moderately at all of the holiday gettogethers. Drink slowly, you want to maintain your class until the end of the night,” says Kennedy. 9. Offer To Help

“Ask the host if there is anything you can do to help clean up,” suggests Kennedy. 10. Brush Up On Etiquette

Most of us know not to put our elbows on the table. For pointers on which fork to use when, visit or

Stress-Free Hosting Tips In McCubbin’s view, “it’s easier to go someplace else than home.” So, if your celebration has grown too large for you to handle, consider outsourcing your project to a pool of fantastic local vendors. Venues like Warm Springs Inn, the Wenatchee Convention Center and many local wineries and restaurants are available for holiday party rentals. Make your food devourable by hiring Ravenous Catering, IvyWild Catering or Two Chefs Catering. Want to try something new? Consider hiring Wenatchee Valley Skills Center’s catering students to cook for your party. For party rental needs, Nancy’s Party Rentals in Wenatchee or Bumfields Party Rental and Supply in Cashmere are your spots. They have everything to outfit your next holiday soiree, cowboy-themed fete or tropical luau. F Vendors involved in the holiday photo shoot by Kathryn Stevens: Libby Harrison of Sweet Bliss Events Patti Bosket of Au Natural Beecher Hill House All Seasons Events Chelan Michelle DesCombaz (hairstylist) Bella Sera Mills Brothers The NCW Dahlia Society

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The vine

Workers harvest Pinot Grigio grapes to make wine at Tsillan Cellars in Chelan.


hen Bob Jankelson planted a vineyard and built Tsillan Cellars overlooking Lake Chelan in 2004, he hoped to re-create the atmosphere — and the world class wines — of the grand wineries of Tuscany overlooking Italy’s Tyrrhenian Sea. With its waterfalls, koi-filled ponds, imported terra cota tile and rustic bell towers, Tsillan Cellars lives up to its reputation as the crown jewel among the nearly 20 wineries that surround the



November / December 2012

southeast end of the pristine lake. Jankelson’s vision was to transform tested agricultural ground and produce grapes of the same quality as its worldfamous apples, turn those grapes into great Italian-style, food-friendly wines and give tourists yet another reason to come to the lake. Investing more than $7 million, he’s done that and more. The winery and its Sorrento’s Ristorante brings in between 200 and 300 guests each evening in the summer

Story By Rick Steigmeyer photos By mike Bonnicksen and don seabrook

Tsillan Cellars

for drinks and Italian-style dining. Concerts on the winery’s outdoor stage bring in up to 600 people. “We don’t have to apologize for our wines, but we’re starting behind in the race,” Jankelson said, referring to other great wine-producing areas. “We have to think in terms of giving people a reason to come, above and beyond the wine. People want wine with food. They want atmosphere. It’s experiential.” The winery is only part of a vision of

A Taste of Tuscany by the Lake November / December 2012



Tsillan Cellars and its Sorrento’s Ristorante draw crowds throughout the year. a Tuscan village and year-around spa resort. Jankelson, a retired dentist and author who teaches internationally on musculoskeletal disorders, hopes to start work on an Italian-styled shopping area and spa resort in the next few years.

“That’s a business model that I’m proud of. Nearly all of the revenue generated here, stays here in the community.” — Bob Jankelson

Most recently, he sunk $2 million in the last year to create a space he believes will help expand Lake Chelan’s tourist season. “It’s a glass house within an Italian gift box,” Jankelson said while showing off the new 3,000-square-foot events 50


November / December 2012

center and restaurant expansion completed this spring. The space takes full advantage of the panoramic view of the 40 acres of vineyard sloping down toward the lake and the rugged mountains along the lake’s north shore. In spring, summer and early fall, the room is open to the outdoors and tables spill out onto the tile patios and artificial lawn. During colder periods or on windy, rainy days, a system of folding glass doors can close the room in. A large fireplace provides winter ambiance and warmth, supplemented with radiant floor heat. Jankelson said he worked with architects for more than a year to come up with the unique design. The winery will have a Currier and Ives look, he said, referring to the popular 19th century printmakers, famous for idyllic winter scenes. “There

The winery has won more than 100 awards in regional and national competitions. will be thousands of holiday lights reflecting on the snow, frozen ponds and waterfalls. It will be like being outdoors, but indoors,” he said. Jankelson said the expansion is his effort to “jumpstart” winter tourism. He expects the new center will be a popular venue for weddings, concerts and other winter events.



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upon further review

Kyle McGuinn gathers Gewürztaminer grapes to check them for sugar content, which determines when to harvest. Below, winemaker Shane Collins checks the clarity and taste of Gewürztaminer grape juice that had been squeezed a couple of days prior. The main event at Tsillan, however, will always be the wine. Head winemaker and viticulturist Shane Collins crafts Italian-style blends and varietals from 14 different grape varieties that grow on the estate. The first vines were planted in 2000. Lake Chelan’s volcanic soils and lakemoderated climate make for bright and fruity wines that stand out from wines grown in other areas. They’ve won over 100 awards in regional and national competitions. Harvest started in mid September with Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and other white wine varieties before moving into the reds — Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Sangiovese and others — in October. Under Collins’ direction, vineyard foreman Bal Flores and his crew hand-pick each variety as they become fully ripe — sweet with



November / December 2012

intense flavor, yet perfectly balanced with natural acids. White grapes are cold fermented in stainless steel tanks and usually ready to drink the following year. Red wines are aged at least another year in oak barrels. “I’m really excited about our reds this year, said Collins, whose family grew apples around Lake Chelan for three generations. “We were told we couldn’t grow reds here,” said Jankelson. “They thought we were crazy.” The winery grows about 10 varieties of red grapes today. Syrah has been a consistent award winner. Barbera and Malbec, he predicted, have a good future in lakeside vineyards. Lake Chelan is among the newest of Washington’s 12 American Viticultural Areas. Tsillan Cellars is one of the area’s oldest and largest wineries. All of its wines are made from grapes grown on the estate, Collins said. Some of the winery’s grapes are also sold to Chateau Ste. Michelle for its famed Eroica Riesling. Of its 6,200 case annual production, 99.8 percent is sold at the winery’s tasting room, its restaurant or through its wine club. “That’s a business model that I’m proud of,” said Jankelson. “Nearly all of the revenue generated here, stays here in the community.” F

Don Seabrook

Tsillan Cellars 2010 Sempre Amore, $16 Are you craving spicy Asian or Mexican food? If so, this off dry wine would pair perfectly … in fact, I’m eating a chicken quesadilla with it right now and I might need to make another quesadilla to go with another glass of wine. The blend is Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer that is fermented in stainless. This gives a bit of crispness to the abundant pear, apple, honey and floral notes and also keeps the slight sweetness from being cloying. Due to it’s easy drinking qualities, this would be a great wine to whip out when Aunt Betty comes to visit for the holidays. Cheers! — Barb Robertson

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Chelan Estate 2011 Rosé, $15 The traditional method to making a rosé is to allow the skins to remain in contact with the juice between one and three days. The juice is then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation as in red wine production. We buck tradition around here, and many of the area rosés are created by blending red and white varietals such as Chelan Estate has done. The blend is 42 percent Merlot, 28 percent Chardonnay, 18 percent Syrah and 12 percent Viognier. While this may sound unusual, the result is wonderful. Wild strawberry and guava stand out with some cranberry in the background. A dry, crisp acidity will play nicely with a wide variety of foods ... perfect for the holiday table. It is both sophisticated and smooth enough for the relatives who only drink wine during the holidays.



November / December 2012

a taste of NCW wines with Barb Robertson

C.R. Sandidge 2009 Caris, $24 If you’re not sure what kind of wine the host of the party drinks, this is the wine for you. Red blends are crowd pleasers and this one is no exception. I tried the Caris during the summer, and it made me realize that I needed to plan a camping trip so that I could indulge in one of my favorite desserts — S’mores! Why? The wine tastes like S’mores with a cherry on top! It’s juicy with Black cherries up front and then smooth with chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker on the back end. The blend is 41 percent Merlot, 24 percent Cabernet Franc, 21 percent Syrah and 14 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. It all adds up to a little bit of something for everyone.

Chateau Faire Le Pont 2008 Syrah, $25 Chateau Faire Le Pont has presented very solid wines over the last few years, so it’s no surprise that this wine would be a great complement to a prime rib or lamb holiday dinner. It’s an elegant Syrah and has enough depth to stand up to the hearty meats with its nicely integrated tannins. Boysenberry, red licorice, black pepper and fennel give way to a chocolate-covered cigar finish. In fact, this would be a lovely wine to pair up with a cigar on the deck and watch the winter stars as you count your blessings.




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Barb Robertson City: Wenatchee Profession: Restaurateur and account manager for Sysco food service Credentials: Earned advanced certification through London-based Wine and Spirit Education Trust; currently working toward higherlevel diploma through WSET. Earned degree in marketing from Central Washington University. Owned The Wine Bin retail shop in Wenatchee for five years. Has worked in the Northwest wine industry more than 10 years, including distribution, sales, production and marketing. Judged the 2011 and 2012 North Central Washington Wine Awards.

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Story By gary Jasinek

Vintimidated? Get Over It Tasting tips for the wine amateur 56


November / December 2012


ampling the wares at one of North Central Washington’s dozens of excellent wineries should be a pleasure, an exploration of the senses, perhaps accompanied by convivial and sophisticated conversation. Or, if you’re like me, tasting wine in public is more like one of those student-anxiety dreams in which you’ve skipped classes for a month, and when you finally do attend, there’s a midterm you’re totally unprepared for, and you’re naked. Well, maybe the naked part is some other dream.

Don Seabrook

It’s best to come clean with the pourer about how much or how little you know about wine. That will impact your interaction with the wine expert.

But the point is, when some of us put our bellies up to the bar at a winery, they’re full of butterflies. We’re vintimidated. In my case, there are many reasons for this. One is the language of wine. I can never remember whether the first syllable of Riesling rhymes with the Asian grain or the peanut-butter cup. Gewürztraminer may as well be the German word for “you shouldn’t even try to pronounce this.” And when attempting to describe a wine’s flavor, my vocabulary fails. This wine good.

Kathryn Stevens

There are about 20 “tastings” in a bottle of wine. If you drink your share, it’s probably best to buy a bottle for home. Me like. Another reason: Owing to a freak sinus incident in the mid-’90s, I have no sense of smell. With a proboscis like mine, I can probe amazingly deep into that goblet and sniff like a Hoover, but still there’s nothing. I may as well be smelling

deep space. And finally there’s the ritual. The sniff and swirl and spit and such are like the sacraments of some obscure cult. I cannot remember the order in which they’re performed, or for that matter, the reason they’re performed at all. I worry

about unintentionally offending — or worse, amusing — the high priest doing the pouring, and the other practitioners next to me at the altar. But despite all this, I loves me my wine. So I decided to seek help getting over my vinous anxiety disorder from a couple of nice people who know their way around this highest calling of the grape. Craig Mitrakul has crafted wines in New York, Australia, Oregon and Washington, and with wife Danielle owns Crayelle Cellars, a small family winery in Cashmere. Laura Mrachek, with husband Mike, owns the picturesque Saint Laurent Winery in Malaga, which uses grapes from the Malaga estate and from a 260acre vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. Both Laura and Craig had similar advice for anyone who shares my uneasiness at the tasting bar: Just relax and be comfortable with your wine knowledge, even if it’s based on total ignorance. “It’s better to just admit you’re not a

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wine geek than try to fake it,” Mitrakul said. “People on the other side of the counter need to know what you need to know,” Mrachek said. “Ask the person to walk you through. That’s such a welcome invitation — they’ll take the time to lead you through the process.” Besides, “They’re not that judgmental anyway,” Mitrakul said. Sometimes the pourers need to adjust their own patter. Mitrakul, who once was winemaker at Saint Laurent, admitted that his own lack of direct experience with customers used to make his tastingbar conversation a little too technical. “Being behind the counter opened up my eyes to what people want and what the general knowledge is out there. I used to talk too much about it, and they weren’t wine geeks, and I was too specific, too centered on the wine. Now I talk more about our background, and from there you can start getting more specific.” Beyond being honest with the server, customers might keep in mind some basics of wine-tasting etiquette, Mrachek said. More wineries are charging a tasting fee, perhaps $5 for five pours. But if not, tasters should consider buying a bottle unless all the wine was flawed, she said. Sometimes the tasting fee is waived if you buy a bottle. If there isn’t a fee, keep

Mike Bonnicksen

Does the wine you’re tasting have legs? Give it a good swirl to find out. 58


November / December 2012

A good whiff can tell you a lot about a wine. in mind that there are about 20 tastes in a bottle. If you’re in a large group, that’s a lot of wine to expect for free. If the service is good, tip. Don’t overstay your welcome, especially if the bar is crowded. And don’t make a meal out of the crackers. They’re there to help cleanse the palate for the next taste, but for that purpose, room-temp water works better, Mrachek said. Which brings us to the technical procedure of tasting wine. “A novice will take a big sip and put the glass back down on the counter and say, ‘What’s next?’ ” Mitrakul said. Don’t be that novice. Instead, be guided by these six easyto-remember words that begin with “S,” starting with … SEE: Hold the glass up to the light and look for intensity of the color, and the wine’s clarity. SWIRL: Spin the wine around in the glass, and “See if it has legs — see how it drips down the sides of the glass. Typically if it has thicker legs, it’ll be a bigger-body wine. Pinot Noir, for example, is usually lighter, so if it has big legs, you might be seeing an unusual style,” Mitrakul said. Swirling may also help aerate the wine for the next step, which is … SMELL: Breathe in through your nose, with your mouth open. Be alert to odors reminiscent of Band-Aids or

Kathryn Stevens

vinegar, Mrachek said, which could be negative indicators. Think of similes. Often the scent and flavor of wine are likened to flowers or fruits. Does it smell like oranges? Mangoes? Lilacs? Melons? Reds might evoke a different vocabulary, Mrachek said, which could include bacon, tobacco or leather. SIP: “Let it flow over the sides of your tongue. It should be bright and fresh, not astringent. It shouldn’t be like a sweater on your tongue,” Mrachek said. SLURP: “For the second sip, slurp it. Hold it in your mouth and work it against the back of your tongue. The flavor should be different because you’ve bruised the wine,” Mrachek said. And finally … SWALLOW (or spit): If you’re tasting a lot of wine and intend to drive home or do complicated mathematics soon, go ahead and spit it out. No, not there. Use the receptacle most wineries provide. No rule says you have to drink the entire sample, especially if you don’t like it. Though all those “S” words are poetically alliterative, SSSSSS is not a particularly helpful mnemonic device to recall the order of things. So here are words that may form a more useful acronym: See, Whirl, Inhale, Glug, Irrigate, Take it in. And always remember that, in this test, there are no right or wrong answers. As Mitrakul says, “A good wine is a wine you like.” F

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The Scene

photos By Frank Cone


ine lovers were the big winners at the 2012 North Central Washington Wine Awards on Aug. 25. Thirty area wineries poured their winning wines for a crowd of more than 200 fans at Kuykendall Hall at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Wenatchee. Catered fare was provided by The Ivy Wild, Ravenous Catering and Visconti’s. The Confluence Jazz Trio added some musical class to the evening with its casual sounds.

Karen Wagoner and Kristen Wood with Icicle Ridge Winery’s Best In Show and Best White Wine awards. Below, Chateau Faire Le Pont winemaker/owner Doug Brazil with the winery’s Best Red and 2011 Platinum Winemakers Circle awards.

Butch Milbrandt of Milbrandt Vineyards accepts the winery’s 2012 Platinum Winemakers Circle award.

Jones of Washington winemaker Victor Palencia with the winery’s 2012 Platinum Winemakers Circle award. Below, Wedge Mountain Winery winemaker/owner Charlie McKee with his award for producing the Best Dessert wine.

Mary Ann and Tom McNair

Chris and Amber Cifarelli and Bill and Susan Murray

Codi Karr and Ashely Owens

JesĂşs and Melissa HernĂĄndez

John and Beckie Peterson

Gwen Sparks and Val Markel

Steve and Jan Lutz Kregg and Kelly Monron

Steve Crossland and Becki Heath

parting shot

photo By Mike Bonnicksen

Fall colors show along Cloudy Pass near Lyman Lake.







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*The Walker’s credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Financial Bank or GE Money Bank. Special terms apply to purchases charged with approved credit. 36 or 48 equal payments are required for 36 or 48 months no interest promotion. Regular minimum monthly payments are required for 1 year or 6 months no interest terms. Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date at the regular approved percentage rate if the purchase balance is not paid in full within the promotional period or if you make a late payment. For newly opened accounts the annual percentage rate is WFNB 27.99% or GMB 29.99%. The annual percentage rate may vary. Annual percentage rate is given as of 1/1/12. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. Offer expires 11/30/12.