Industry churn for Washington state’s wine industry during the final months of 2019 brought a flurry of new tasting room activity, much of it centered in and around Woodinville.
DeLille Cellars opens Hollywood Station
The much-anticipated opening of Hollywood Station by DeLille Cellars did not disappoint as eager wine lovers flocked to the former Redhook brewery to see and sip.
As CEO Tom Dugan points out, the new digs signal the first time since 1998 that DeLille’s winery and retail operations are under one roof. Opting for a more personalized wine tasting experience, all three levels of the new building feature seated tasting experiences with the main level open to the public. The upper floors are available for wine club members and their guests, in addition to space for corporate dinners and events after hours.
Maryhill Winery Tasting Room and Bistro
Just down the road, Maryhill Winery opened its third satellite tasting room in the beautifully refurbished Hollywood Schoolhouse.
Restored to its turn-of-the century style, down to the grand ballroom’s hardwood floors, antique bar and brick fireplace, the new tasting room occupies the grand ballroom and upper floor, along with a full commercial kitchen. Visitors can enjoy Maryhill’s wide selection of Washington wines from both inside the lovingly restored building and outside among the beautiful gardens and outdoor balconies.
“We are looking forward to becoming the new stewards of this iconic landmark,” said owner Craig Leuthold. “This location is just as breathtaking as our other Washington tasting rooms. It’s the ideal venue for reaching a new audience of wine lovers in the Seattle area.”
It also prompted Leuthold to rebrand the 20-year-old business as Maryhill Winery Tasting Room & Bistro.
The Vault is open in Maltby
Just north of Woodinville is The Vault – a collective of three buildings that houses six wineries and a distillery.
Built to their specifications in Maltby, the new tenants moved their production from Woodinville and opened tasting rooms. Open now are JM Cellars, Guardian Cellars, Laterus Winery and distillery J.P. Trodden. Putting the finishing touches on their tasting rooms are sister wineries Covington Cellars and Two Vintners as well as Gorman Winery.
A new chapter for Story Cellars
When Prosser-based Wit Cellars moved its Woodinville room into a larger space next door, Story Cellars moved in.
Mike Wisler, the winemaker, and partner Tim Das describes theirs as a “small-production winery making handmade artisan wines from choice fruit.”
Wautoma Springs opens in Prosser
The joint venture of celebrated wine veterans Jessica Munnell (winemaker) and Tom Merkle (winegrower), Wautoma Springs took up residence in Prosser’s Vintner’s Village. Winter hours are in effect for the winery with the official grand opening set for spring 2020.
Expansion for Bookwalter, Alexandria Nicole
J. Bookwalter Winery will break ground in February on a $4 million expansion that will more than triple the size of its Richland-based winery, tasting room and restaurant.
Sadly, the picturesque vineyard that has greeted visitors will be sacrificed for the expansion. The 20,000-square-foot addition will house the winery and tasting room as well as an expanded kitchen and dining room for its Fiction restaurant.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars will be growing and moving, starting in February as it opens its third tasting room. This will be in downtown Seattle within the Washington State Convention Center.
This summer, ANC’s popular Hollywood Hills tasting room in Woodinville – recently voted “Best Wine Tasting Room” through Seattle magazine’s 2019 Readers Poll – will relocate just down the road to the new Woodin Creek development.
Transitions in Woodinville, Prosser
Say goodbye to Woodinville’s Davenport Cellars as owners Jeff and Sheila Jirka head off to retirement. The frequent gold and silver medal winners – most recently in the 2019 Washington State Wine Competition — reflected the Jirkas’s minimalist approach to winemaking. The duo plan to travel and “enjoy life.”
They set up Davenport Cellars in the Warehouse District in 2007 after going through South Seattle College’s Northwest Wine Academy winemaking program. History also will deliciously remember the Jirkas for operating the first Warehouse District tasting room with a bistro.
Taking over their coveted space is Adrice Wines, which expects to leave its nearby Artisan Hill outpost by February.
Some goodbyes to be said: Sandra Lee, longtime executive director of Woodinville Wine Country, has moved onto new ventures in wine sales and marketing. She is succeeded by Jackie Sturn as interim director.
And Abbey Cameron, founding executive director of the Walter Clore Center — the tasting room/wine shop/culinary events facility in Prosser – is now executive director of the Three Rivers Community Foundation in Richland. She is succeeded by Deb J. Carter, who was named as interim director of the Clore Center.
Industry churn – Oregon
Judging for the McMinnville Wine & Food Classic – Sip! is set for Saturday Jan. 11, and the competition is part of a 27-year-old food and wine festival that serves as a fundraiser for McMinnville’s St. James Catholic School.
Organized and staffed entirely by volunteers, the Mac Classic is one of the signature community events of the year in McMinnville, and one of the largest indoor food and wine festivals in Oregon.
The judging panel represents a broad spectrum of the industry, including wine buyers, writers from local, regional and national media outlets such as our own Eric Degerman and contributor Ellen Landis, educators and winemakers. Among those represented are Otto Han of New Seasons Market, sommelier/restaurant consultant David Holstrom of Guy du Vin, Timothy Nishimoto of Made in Oregon, The Oregonian’s Michael Alberty, Michelle Williams of Forbes magazine, Oregon Wine Press editor Hilary Berg and Fred Swan of The San Francisco Wine School.
Winners of the wine competition will be able to display their accolades at the consumer event March 13-15 at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, which features craft producers of Oregon wine, beer, spirits, food, and art for three days of tasting. Approximately 170 vendors will set up among the space age artifacts – jets, missiles and displays from outer space missions.
Last year’s winners were Cardwell Hill Cellars for its 2014 Estate Dijon Blocks Pinot Noir and Chris James Cellars for its 2017 Cuvée Blanc. Cardwell Hill also won the award for Best Chardonnay with its 2017 The Bard Chard.
Bennett Vineyards & Wine Co.
A third dedicated venue to taste wines in the southern end of the Willamette Valley is coming to the Market District in Eugene. Bennett Vineyards & Wine Co., of Cheshire will lease space in the Station Square building previously occupied by Forest of Tea.
The Bennett tasting room will join the soon-to-open J. Scott Cellars and Sweet Cheeks on Fifth, which has been inside the Fifth Street Public Market since 2016. Nearby are Capitello Wines and Oregon Wine Lab.
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