VineLines Dispatch: Tasting rooms spring up across Washington, Oregon

By on May 13, 2019
Valdemar Estates is the new project in the Walla Walla Valley by the Bujanda family from the Rioja region in Spain. (Richard Duval Images)

Here is the latest VineLines Dispatch by Richard Duval, the contributing and frequently roving photojournalist for Great Northwest Wine.

Energetic tasting room activity is in full speed throughout the Washington wine community, and  the recent grand openings in the Walla Walla Valley include stunningly beautiful Valdemar Estates.

The family with 129 years of winemaking history in the Rioja region of Spain as Bodegas Valdemar commanded a share of the Spring Release Weekend spotlight with an opening day crowd of more than 600 visitors.

Bodegas Valdemar began with underground cellar in Oyón, Spain, but the Bujanda family has placed its Walla Walla Valley program in the skillful hands of winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla, the University of Dijon graduate who co-founded Forgeron Cellars. …

Prospice Wines sold 20 percent of its inaugural bottling within its first three days. ….  Grosgrain Vineyards opened its winery just off the Old Milton Highway which includes a beautiful rental lodge in the midst of its estate vineyard. Northwest Wine Academy alum Matt Austin, whose résumé includes Savage Grace, Darby, Dunham Cellars and EFESTE, already has created a buzz with his 2018 Kiona Vineyard Old Vine Lemberger Pét-Nat bubbles. …

Seated tastings al fresco are among the features available at Valdemar Estates, a new Spanish-owned winery south of downtown Walla Walla, Wash. (Richard Duval Images)

Walla Walla’s SuLei Cellars opened a satellite tasting room in Vancouver USA on Main Street, about 15 minutes south of Columbia River High School, which is where winemaker/co-owner Tanya Woodley graduated. Last month, the $1.5 billion Vancouver Waterfront Park welcomed Maryhill Winery, which quickly joined the Southwest Washington Winery Association and poured at Saturday’s inaugural Savor Southwest Washington Wine consumer event at historic Pearson Air Museum near Fort Vancouver. More wineries are lining up to follow Maryhill into the Grant Street Pier location

Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village in Kennewick, Wash., is expanding with the arrival of satellite tasting rooms for Cave B Estate Winery in George, Wash., and Gordon Estate in Pasco. (Richard Duval Images)

Kennewick’s young Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village is shaping into a destination stop for wine tourists. Cave B Estate Winery and Gordon Estate soon will open tasting rooms, joining Victor Palencia’s Vino la Monarcha project and Bartholomew Winery, both of which opened last year. Construction of a shared parking lot, loop roadway, utilities, sidewalks, landscaping, artwork and the food truck plaza is complete. …

Jones of Washington will move the tasting room from its Quincy warehouse to the just-opened Quincy Public Market. The winery will continue to operate a tasting room in Wenatchee’s Pybus Public Market, where you will find the best white wine of the 2019 Cascadia International Wine Competition – the Jones of Washington 2017 Reserve Chardonnay. … Canvasback, the Washington brand for Napa icon Duckhorn Vineyards, will soon open its first tasting room in Walla Walla’s south end along J.B. George Road. The building has been home to Doubleback Winery and more recently Solemn Cellars, the latter of which is building a new facility in its estate vineyard. …

Jessica Munnell, winemaker and co-owner of Wautoma Springs, has her sights set on opening a tasting room in the Yakima Valley town of Prosser, Wash. (Richard Duval Images)

From Va Piano comes a downtown Walla Walla tasting room devoted to Bruno’s Collection, its value-based brand made in honor of Father Bruno Segatta, an Italian priest and artist who became a mentor to Va Piano owner/winemaker Justin Wylie. Segatta served as a longtime instructor at Gonzaga University’s campus in Tuscany. …  The fanfare for Wautoma Wines has spurred co-owners Jessica Munnell and Tom Merkle to open a Prosser-area tasting room. … Less than two years after entering the Woodinville wine scene, Prosser’s Wit Cellars has plans to expand its footprint in the Woodinville Warehouse district.

May marks Oregon Wine Month

Volcano Ridge Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge near The Dalles, Ore., has been rebranded as Windhorse Vineyard. (Photo courtesy of Alan Busacca)

May is Oregon Wine Month, and kudos to the Oregon Wine Board for a clever calendar of events big and small. There are hundreds of regional events all month long including Raise the Barn 2019 at Youngberg Hill; Villa Catalana Cellars annual open winery, nursery and gardens; a Maréchal Foch vertical tasting at August Cellars and a slew of winemaker dinners. More than 130 members of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association will have their doors open during Memorial Day weekend. Check the online calendar for a full listing of wine events for May

Viola Wine Cellars is relocating its tasting room from Portland to Mosier in the Columbia Gorge, sharing the space with Rack & Cloth Cidery. Owners Darryl and Sarah Joannides have planned a Memorial Day grand opening.

What was launched as Volcano Ridge Vineyard now operates under a new brand — Windhorse Vineyard – with a new co-owner in agribusiness and land investment expert Steve Bruere. He joins founder Alan Busacca, the retired Washington State University geologist, to move the vineyard to diversify grapes grown and double the planted acreage on the 160-acre property with an emphasis on socially and environmentally responsible farming methods. Busacca earned both his master’s degree and doctorate at famed winemaking school University of California-Davis. …

Wine Press Northwest magazine will feature the Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail in Clackamas County as the cover story for its 2019 summer issue. Publication is set for Memorial Day weekend

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About Richard Duval

Contributing wine photojournalist Richard Duval captures vivid wine imagery for Great Northwest Wine, Wine Press Northwest and other regional and national wine media. His images are found in wine marketing guides throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho and used by a growing number of wineries in the Pacific Northwest. From his studio in Woodinville, Wash., Richard creates bottle shots and captures the occasional portrait of wine personalities. His “Art from the Vine” fine art exhibit has been displayed in restaurants, hotels, wineries and wine centers throughout the region. He markets wine work, which includes a line of personal greeting cards, online via WinePix —

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