WALLA WALLA, Wash. — It’s a dream that’s been in decade in the making, but Va Piano Vineyards founder Justin Wylie is poised this fall to open Eritage, his wine country resort just outside of Walla Walla.
Eritage will feature 10 luxury suites and a restaurant partnership directed by Jason Wilson, the Seattle-based chef whose work with Washington cuisine and wines earned him the James Beard Award for Best Northwest Chef in 2010.
“As a fourth-generation Walla Walla native, this place is part of me,” Wylie stated in a news release. “The north side of town is a big part of this region’s future and I acquired this land in 2007 because it offers incredible natural beauty, accessibility to all that Walla Walla has to offer and a big opportunity to create a vineyard oasis. We have been growing a variety of fruit here for the last few years and look forward to creating some very special wines.”
Eritage is a bed-and-breakfast partnership about six miles north of Walla Walla along Bergevin Springs Road that spans 300 acres and includes financial support from Business Growth Capital of Long Beach, Calif., and development management by Scott Knox of Vista Venture Partners while Fire & Vine Hospitality is responsible for resort services, dining and operations.
“We will embrace a craftsman’s approach to cooking, using live fire as a medium and looking for the best ways to highlight the highest quality ingredients that speak to the region,” said Wilson, who is culinary director of Eritage, Fire & Vine and chef/owner of Miller’s Guild, The Lakehouse and Civility & Unrest. “Eritage will feature a simple, approachable and deliciously focused menu that embraces the heritage of Walla Walla and tradition of modern American cooking.”
Walla Walla set to add Eritage as wine country destination
Wylie established Eritage within rolling fields of the Palouse with wheat and vineyards, and the group is looking to create unique wine country experiences reminiscent of Cave B near the Gorge Amphitheater and Abeja along Mill Creek Road east of Walla Walla. Each suite opens to a patio or deck with expansive views of the Blue Mountains, rolling farmland and a pristine man-made lake.
“Walla Walla presents a unique opportunity for a project like Eritage because it has an ideal mix of different elements all coming together in one really special place,” Knox said. “This town has such a rich identity and history of agriculture, education and winemaking. Our team is dedicated to being responsible about building and creating something that truly honors that.”
Last year, Wylie also opened tasting rooms in Spokane at the historic Davenport Hotel and in Bend, Ore.
Chad Mackay, president of Fire & Vine and whose family owns the historic El Gaucho Hospitality restaurant group, said, “It is an honor to be part of creating Eritage and our role is to bring Justin Wylie’s vision and Scott Knox’s hard work to life.”