Olympia winery’s Merlot tops Capital competition

By on April 4, 2015
Capital Food & Wine Festival

The Capital Wine & Food Festival takes place in Lacey, not far from the Washington State Capitol in Olympia. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

LACEY, Wash. – An Olympia winery earned best-of-show honors at the annual Capital Food & Wine Festival Competition.

Sovereign Cellars, owned and operated by Denny and Kathy Gross, took home the top trophy for its 2012 Merlot, which used Red Mountain grapes. The couple started the winery in 2004. Sovereign makes tiny amounts of wine – fewer than 200 cases per year – at its winery in Olympia.

capital-wine-and-food-festival-logoCoyote Canyon Winery in Prosser produced the best white of the judging with its 2013 Albariño from estate grapes in the Horse Heaven Hills. That vintage marked Justin Michaud’s first crush after taking over the winemaking from John Gabriel for winery owner/grower Mike Andrews.

Kaella Winery in Woodinville had the top rosé. Patterson Cellars, also in Woodinville, had the top dessert wine. Maison de Padgett in the Rattlesnake Hills town of Zillah made the best fortified wine. And Westport Winery on the Washington coast crafted the top fruit wine, a sparkling cranberry using fruit from nearby bogs.

The results were announced at the 26th annual Capital Food & Wine Festival, which took place March 28 at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey. The event is a fundraiser for the Saint Martin’s Alumni Association. The competition has been conducted by Great Northwest Wine for several years.

Here are the complete results from the Capital Food & Wine Festival Competition:

Best of show and best red

Sovereign Cellars 2012 Merlot, Red Mountain, $30

Best white

Coyote Canyon Winery 2013 Albariño, Horse Heaven Hills, $22

Best rosé

Kaella 2014 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Rosé, Red Mountain, $18

Best dessert

Patterson Cellars 2012 Late Harvest Roussanne, Columbia Valley, $22

Best fortified

Maison de Padgett NV The Smoking Gun Coffee Port, Washington, $20

Best fruit

Westport Winery NV Rapture of the Deep, Washington, $26


Genoa Cellars 2012 Traveler Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $29

Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery 2014 Siegerrebe, Puget Sound, $25

Mosquito Fleet Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $32

Scatter Creek Winery NV Sweet BJ, Washington, $25

Sovereign Cellars 2012 Finnigan’s Daughter Claret, Columbia Valley, $25

Stina’s Cellars 2012 Malbec, Yakima Valley, $54

Westport Winery 2012 Smoky Nor’wester, Yakima Valley, $26

Wilridge Winery 2013 Estate Melange Noir, Naches Heights, $40


Bavarian Cellars NV Bite Me Peach Port, Washington, $25

Bavarian Cellars 2003 McHargue True Friendship Malbec Port, Rattlesnake Hills, $25

Convergence Zone Cellars 2013 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Drizzle Pinot Gris, Red Mountain, $19

Convergence Zone Cellars 2011 Storm Front, Red Mountain, $29

Convergence Zone Cellars 2011 Virga, Columbia Valley, $29

Eleganté Cellars 2008 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $33

Eleganté Cellars 2009 Sangiovese, Walla Walla Valley, $33

Genoa Cellars 2012 Full Keel, Columbia Valley, $32

Hoodsport Winery NV Island Belle, Puget Sound, $24

Hoodsport Winery NV Blueberry, Washington, $20

Horizon’s Edge Winery NV Wishful Thinking Chocolate Port, Washington, $20

Kyra Wines 2012 Syrah, Columbia Valley, $20

Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery 2012 Madeleine Angevine, Puget Sound, $25

Maison de Padgett 2012 Funky Monkey Winter Harvest, Rattlesnake Hills, $18

Maison de Padgett NV Treasure Chest Blackberry Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, $25

Mosquito Fleet Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $39

Mosquito Fleet Winery 2012 Griffersen Reserve, Columbia Valley, $50

Mt. St. Helens Cellars 2013 Coldwater Riesling, Yakima Valley, $16

Mt. St. Helens Cellars NV Sweet Mountain Peach, Washington, $15

Naches Heights Vineyard 2013 Can-Can, Yakima Valley, $13

Naches Heights Vineyard 2013 Late Harvest Pinot Gris, Yakima Valley, $20

Northwest Mountain Winery 2012 Dark Moon Rising, Columbia Valley, $26

Northwest Totem Cellars 2009 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $36

Palouse Winery 2012 Dineen Vineyard Ahh! Syrah, Washington, $36

Palouse Winery 2012 Eclipse, Rattlesnake Hills, $29

Patterson Cellars 2013 Melange Blanc, Columbia Valley, $23

Salida 2013 Garnacha Blanca, Yakima Valley, $20

Salida 2012 Fuego Sagrado, Yakima Valley, $29

Salida 2012 Tempranillo, Yakima Valley, $25

Scatter Creek Winery NV The Big Jake, Washington, $25

Sleeping Dog Wines 2014 Sweet Aurora, Yakima Valley, $21

Sovereign Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $35

Stina’s Cellars 2013 Semillon, Wahluke Slope, $18

Stina’s Cellars NV Sweet Pomegranate, Washington, $27

Stottle Winery 2011 Elerding 6 Prong Vineyard Malbec, Horse Heaven Hills, $33

Stottle Winery 2012 Tempranillo, Columbia Valley, $30

Walter Dacon Wines 2013 Skookum White, Columbia Valley, $19

Walter Dacon Wines 2009 C’est Syrah Magnifique, Columbia Valley, $42

Walter Dacon Wines 2012 Skookum Red, Columbia Valley, $24

Waving Tree Winery 2014 Muscat Canelli, Columbia Valley, $20


Bavarian Cellars NV Naked Raspberry Port, Washington, $25

Coyote Canyon Winery 2011 Andrews White, Horse Heaven Hills, $18

Coyote Canyon Winery 2011 Tres Cruces, Horse Heaven Hills, $26

Eleganté Cellars 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $35

Genoa Cellars 2012 Flying Colors, Columbia Valley, $29

Ginkgo Forest Winery 2010 Syrah, Wahluke Slope, $18

Ginkgo Forest Winery 2011 Coalesce, Wahluke Slope, $26

Horizon’s Edge Winery 2012 Late Harvest Muscat Canelli, Rattlesnake Hills, $15

Horizon’s Edge Winery NV Raspberry Riesling, Washington, $15

Kyra Wines 2013 Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley, $15

Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery 2012 Malbec, Wahluke Slope, $26

Mill Lane Winery NV Cranberry, Washington, $16

Mill Lane Winery NV Strawberry, Washington, $14

Naches Heights Vineyard 2012 Carmen Tempranillo, Yakima Valley, $20

Northwest Mountain Winery NV FireBreathing Mead, Washington, $20

Northwest Mountain Winery NV Dark Mountain Berry, Washington, $26

Northwest Totem Cellars 2012 Salish Riesling, Columbia Valley, $18

Northwest Totem Cellars 2011 Qoné, Columbia Valley, $36

Palouse Winery 2014 White Bluffs Vineyard Cloud 9 Riesling, Washington, $22

Patterson Cellars NV Due Anni, Columbia Valley, $18

Scatter Creek Winery NV Candelina Bianca, Washington, $14

Sleeping Dog Wines 2006 Merlot, Yakima Valley, $24

Stottle Winery 2013 Lucille Late Harvest Viognier, Yakima Valley, $20

Waving Tree Winery NV B Sweet Barbera, Columbia Valley, $20

Westport Winery 2013 Elk River Riesling, Yakima Valley, $26

Wilridge Winery 2012 Estate Nebbiolo, Naches Heights, $30

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .