Guest Speakers


Rex Pickett

Keynote Speaker: The World of Merlot Kick-off Event | Friday, June 15, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
The Previews: Taste & Talk with Rex Pickett| Friday, June 15, 6:00 -7:00 p.m.
Movie Screening: Sideways | Friday, June 15, 7:15 -9:30 p.m.
The Author's Table: Dinner with Rex | Friday, June 15, 7:30 -9:00 p.m.


REX PICKETT is the author of Sideways, the multiple award-winning Alexander Payne film of the same title.  Sideways won over 350 critics and awards organization plaudits, including 2 Golden Globes, an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, the prestigious Writers Guild Award, and 6 Indie Spirit Awards.  Sideways grossed over $650 million and inarguably transformed the world of wine forever. Rex also wrote the stage version of Sideways, which enjoyed four record-shattering runs.

Rex has written and directed two independent feature films.  He wrote the 2000 Academy Award-winning Best Live Action Short My Mother Dreams the Satan’s Disciples in New York.  His Sideways sequel Vertical won the Gold Medal for Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2012.  The final novel of the trilogy, Sideways Chile, has now been adapted into a screenplay by Rex.

Rex  grew up in southern California, matriculated from the University of California at San Diego.  A member of the Writers Guild of America, Rex has enjoyed success in long-form fiction, screenwriting, independent film, and stage. 

Rex is currently under contract with Blackstone Audiobook Publishers writing a new novel, The Archivist.

Kevin Pogue

Keynote Speaker: The World of Merlot Kick-off Event | Friday, June 15, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

 Kevin Pogue

Kevin Pogue

Dr. Kevin R. Pogue is a professor in the Department of Geology at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington where he teaches classes on the geological history of the western United States, weather and climate, and terroir. He also regularly contributes lectures on terroir and leads field trips for the Enology and Viticulture program at Washington State University. Dr. Pogue has conducted research and led field trips in the Pacific Northwest for over 25 years. Dr. Pogue’s research is focused exclusively on terroir, concentrating on the relationship between topography and vineyard temperature variations and the influence of basalt, eastern Washington’s ubiquitous bedrock, on vineyard climate and soil chemistry. Dr. Pogue has presented papers at national and international terroir conferences and has authored a field trip guide that describes the geological influences on the terroir of the Columbia Basin. Dr. Pogue's terroir studies have been featured in the New York Times and on National Public Radio's "Science Friday". Dr. Pogue also provides vineyard site evaluations, terroir-related web content, and promotional and educational materials through VinTerra, his consulting business.