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Whidbey Island Winery

Greg Osenbach of Whidbey Island Winery

Greg Osenbach is an engineer turned winemaker, who left his north Seattle home to grow grapes and make wine on Whidbey Island.  In 1986 when he planted his first vines on the south end of the island, no one else was growing grapes on Whidbey.  He talked with one or two other Western WA winemakers before planting his vineyard to Siegerrebe, Madeleine Angevine, and Madeleine Sylvaner, the three varietals that still make up his estate vines today.  His Whidbey Island Winery tasting room opened in 1992, and he sold out of his first vintage of 400 cases in 6 weeks.  Greg makes 3,500 cases today, and Whidbey Island is a destination venue for sippers, with 7 wine tasting rooms and several distilleries.  

During harvest time, Greg spends a lot of time trucking fruit over the mountains, as 75% of the grapes he uses in his wines come from Eastern WA.  He’s partial to Italian red varietals, especially sangiovese, which is his flagship red wine.  A number of other Italian varietals appear on his wine list, including Primitivo, Dolcetto, and a Barbera Port.  His flagship white is the Island White, a blend of Madeleine Angevine and Sylvaner, with a touch of Riesling and Chenin Blanc.  This wine is a customer favorite that appeals to a wide range of palates.  In this interview he talks of his many diverse wines, the virtues of Whidbey Island as a weekend destination getaway, changes in the industry since the mid 80s when he planted his first vines, and much more.

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Spoiled Dog Winery

Karen & Jake Krug of Spoiled Dog Winery

After alternating between homes in Colorado and overseas, Karen and Jack Krug decided to settle on Whidbey Island so they could grow pinot noir.  They had spent time sailing around Washington’s islands and believed Whidbey to have the perfect growing season and rainfall patterns for superb pinot.  In 2003 they purchased 25 acres and started planting, producing the first "Spoiled Dog" wines in 2007.  With a copyrighted last name they couldn’t use for their winery, they turned to their very spoiled dogs, who welcome visitors and inspire an annual spoiled dog contest for special pets from around the world.  Spoiled Dog Winery is a working farm and vineyard in a stunningly beautiful setting that’s a destination place for memorable wines, farm tours, and winemaker dinners in the vineyard. 

Although Karen and son Jake specialize in both new and old world style pinot noir, they also make many other wines sourced mostly from grapes in eastern WA.  Their Deception blend named after the island pass is a Bordeaux blend, and they also make a malbec and  a malbec port, the latter fortified with their own wines distilled down the road.  The “pooch wine” is not to be missed --  house wine on tap that is excellent, inexpensive, and sold in growlers.  Taking advantage of the 100 year old orchards on the farm, they also make an apple and pear wine that is 85% apple and 15% pear.  Listen here to learn more about pinot noir clones, some advantages of growing pinot on American rootstock here in Washington, farm to table wine dinners that help local non profits, benefits of malbec for port, and much more.

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Chris Daniel Winery

Mike & Chris Stewart of Chris Daniel Winery

Chris Stewart and his father Mike say it was the combination of smoking Cuban cigars and sipping tempranillo on a Spanish beach that convinced them to open a winery on their home property near Quincy, WA.   Mike had years of experience as a vineyard and orchard consultant and Chris had a winemaking degree from WSU, as well as experience in the wine worlds of Chile and Napa.  In fact, Chris is now a winemaker both in Napa and here in WA at the new family-run Chris Daniel Winery.  Tasting room doors opened in April 2017, just a few miles off of I-90 on the Soap Lake road.  The facility was once an indoor pool, but is now filled with sand and covered with flooring and comfortable furniture to flop in while sipping Chris’s fabulous, mostly single-varietal wines.

The family property is in a climate zone too cold for vines, so grapes are sourced from vineyards Mike works closely with in the Wahluke and Royal Slope areas.  Chris and Mike plan to keep production low at 1000 cases in order to ensure quality, but they’ll be adding some new varietals to their line-up, including petite sirah and petit verdot.  In this interview they discuss key aspects of their winemaking process, such as fermenting uncrushed grapes, fermenting red wines in barrels with heads removed, barrel fermenting all their wines red and white, and much more. What you won't hear in the interview is why the clockworks on the label are fixed at 10:23 - the month and day Chris was born.

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Hedges, New Generation

Christophe Hedges and Sarah Hedges Goedhart

The family nature of Hedges Family Estate continues into a second generation with siblings Christophe Hedges and Sarah Hedges Goedhart at the helm.  Though they work closely together from offices 25 feet apart, they have very distinct roles.  Sarah is director of fermentations and Christophe is general manager and in charge of sales.  They say their sibling rivalry is healthy, in that it’s grounded in mutual respect and results in the two challenging and inspiring each other.  Sarah and Christophe have plans to increase the number of biodynamic vineyards and wines, and to add a bakery and perhaps an eatery to the estate facilities.  But one thing at Hedges will not change with this new generation:  an emphasis on the family’s Red Mountain vineyard property and the importance of people visiting the estate site where their finest wines are grown.

Hedges Family Estate is Demeter Certified Biodynamic for both its farming and winemaking practices.  It is a leader in WA state in biodynamic winegrowing, and Christophe and Sarah explain in this interview what this means for their vineyards and wines.  Their premier wine La Haute Cuvée is a biodynamic Cabernet Sauvignon and they plan to produce a biodynamic Syrah within the next 2 or 3 years.  Their estate wine is a blend of grapes from all five of their vineyards, and thus contains Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.  They also produce non-estate wines such as their CMS line that are very affordable and meant for everyday sipping.  Listen to this interview to learn more about the differences between organic and biodynamic winegrowing, what biodynamic practices mean for the wine in your glass, what lies ahead for Hedges Family Estate, and much more.

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Bainbridge Vineyards

Gerard Bentryn

When the U.S. Army sent Gerard Bentryn to Europe, German caving club members introduced him and his wife JoAnn to the pleasures of wine drinking.  They fell in love with cool climate grape varietals and vineyard landscapes.  Years later after working as a water resource planner, Gerard and JoAnn pursued their dream of planting a vineyard and making estate wines.  They chose Bainbridge Island and in 1977 were the first to plant vitis vinifera on the island.  They were true pioneers, experimenting one row at a time to see which varietals would thrive in the island’s maritime climate.  Some of those varietals such as siegerrebe were new to the U.S., and thus the Bentryns had to get a Plant Importation Permit in order to grow them.  

On this 40th anniversary of Bainbridge Vineyards (formerly Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery), Gerard and JoAnn can look back on a long list of accomplishments.  One of them is the Puget Sound AVA, which Gerard was instrumental in creating in 1995.  They also were winegrowers long before anyone used the term in WA state, always believing that winegrowing was the key to the meaning of life.  For Gerard, fruit must come up from the earth through the grower/winemaker to the bottle and glass, ensuring that wine is “time and place in a bottle”.   For forty years, the winery has made only estate wines.  Regarding the Puget Sound AVA, Gerard’s dream is that one day the region will have 20 to 30 estate wineries growing wines “from fields you can see and hands you can shake”. 

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Leonetti Cellar

Gary Figgins of Leonetti Cellar

Gary Figgins has been called the “father of the Walla Walla Valley wine industry,” and with good reason.  He and his wife founded the first commercial winery in Walla Walla in 1977, his first red release in 1981 was voted best Cabernet in the nation, and this year he and his family celebrate 40 years of making world-class wine.  Since 1984 the winery count in Walla Walla has jumped dramatically from 4 to roughly 150, and the downtown is crowded with tourists instead of tumbleweeds.  A recent article on the top 26 places to retire in the U.S. includes Walla Walla on the list.

This transformation would have been hard to imagine in 1974 when Gary and his uncles planted the first acre of grapevines on the Leonetti farm started by his maternal grandparents who came to the U.S. in the early 20th century from the Calabria region of Italy.  Gary grew up from little on drinking watered down family wine, until the mature age of 9 when water was no longer added to his wineglass.  So wine was always part of a meal for Gary, and in 1974 he hoped to make it his primary business as well.  That happened in 1989 when he left his day job as a machinist for Continental Can Company and became a full-time winegrower.   In this interview, he discusses the advantages of blended wines, why Leonetti moved to a closed distribution list, the biggest challenge facing the WA wine industry moving forward, and much more.  

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Women and Wine

Sabrina Lueck, Ashley Trout, and Sheryl Frye

Are there disadvantages for women in the wine industry?  Advantages?  In what ways are women influencing the industry, both as producers and consumers?  These are just a few of the questions we explore in this interview with Sabrina Lueck, Ashley Trout, and Sheryl Frye.  These three wine professionals allow us to examine issues relating to women and wine from different perspectives.  Sabrina is an instructor in Walla Walla Community College’s Viticulture and Enology Program, Ashley currently has two wineries (Vital Wines and March Cellars) and has been in the industry for 18 years, and Sheryl is a second-year student in the Walla Walla Community College Program.  They’re all passionate about the industry, can’t imagine doing anything else, and feel optimistic about the future for women wine professionals. 

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Perennial Vintners

Mike Lempriere of Perennial Vintners

Former software engineer Mike Lempriere received so many compliments on his Seattle basement wine that he decided to become a winegrower.  In 2003 he purchased land and house on Bainbridge Island, planted a vineyard, and Perennial Vintners was born.  He still makes wine in his basement, which houses his winery, lab and tasting room in a forested setting with vineyard in sight.  The vineyard is one of the smallest in the state –maybe the smallest – and the closest one to Seattle.  It’s planted to cool climate varietals that grow well in western Washington, such as Madeleine Angevine, Siegerebbe and Melon de Bourgogne.  Mike grows the only Melon de Bourgogne in the state, as far as he knows.

Many people think it’s too cold and rainy to grow grapes in western Washington, but it’s mostly dry during the key summer months and cool climate varietals such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Madeleine Angevine (Loire Valley), Siegerrebe (Germany), Melon de Bourgogne (Loire Valley), and Müller-Thurgau (Switzerland and Germany) do well in this climate.   These wines tend to be aromatic, crisp, fruity, and high in acid, making them excellent food wines.  For example, Melon de Bourgogne is used in France to make Muscadet wine--a French favorite to have with seafood of all kinds.  Siegerrebe is similar to Gewurztraminer, with wonderful flavors of litchi nuts and spice, making it an ideal wine to pair with Asian food.  Listen to the interview to learn more about these wines, Mike’s style of Syrah and Lemberger, his Verjus for cooking, why his raspberry dessert wine is called Frambelle, and much more.

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Co Dinn Cellars

Co Dinn of Co Dinn Cellars

June 2017 marks a new beginning for winemaker Co Dinn, as his tasting room opens its doors in downtown Sunnyside, WA.  After 17 years of working first as white winemaker and then head winemaker for Hogue Cellars, Co decided to start his own Co Dinn Cellars label in order to focus on single vineyard wines from the Yakima Valley AVA.  His years at Hogue provided him with invaluable knowledge of vineyards and growers across the state, so he was in an ideal position to select the precise vineyards and growers he wanted to work with in making his wines.  There was no question that he would plant his winemaking flag in the Yakima Valley AVA, because of its amazing diversity of temperatures, soils and slopes, as well as its overall moderate climate.

Not only does the town of Sunnyside have historical significance for the wine industry, but Co’s tasting room is also housed in a fascinating historic building.  Built in 1930, the art deco inspired structure was home to the Sunnyside Water Department and the town’s two wells, remnants of which still can be seen in the tasting room basement.   A large crane is also preserved above the tasting room bar.  The venue is unique, the wines superb, but you will never hear the sound of a cork popping as you sip.  After years of doing research on wine bottle closures, Co has decided to use only Stelvin screwcaps for his wines.   Listen to this interview to find out why he abandoned corks, why he uses one-ton bin fermentation, which wine provided an AHA moment that turned him into a winemaker, and much more.

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Thrall & Dodge Winery

Troy and Kim Goodreau

Troy Goodreau was making wine long before he was old enough to drink.  As early as 8th grade, he was helping his father make wine for family consumption, especially during hunting trips.  In the late 1970s he worked for a winery in Sumner, WA, after taking food and wine science classes at Napa Valley College and Washington State University.  Kim has had a long career in social work, but now manages the Thrall and Dodge Tasting Room in Kittitas, and helps out with punch downs and other aspects of the winemaking process.  The two met over thirty years ago, but went their separate ways until recently, when they met again over wine and ended up getting married. 

Opening its doors in 2005, Thrall and Dodge is the oldest commercial winery in the Kittitas Valley, an area that now has a vintners association and at least 6 wineries and a distillery.  The winery is next to a small vineyard that grows mainly Riesling.  Many other varietals for Thrall and Dodge wines come from the Burgess Vineyard in Pasco.  Troy and Kim produce both single varietal wines and blends, including some that are co-fermented.  The lovely new tasting room is in the historic Carrico building in Kittitas, with two spacious suites above that are available for year-round rental.  It’s an ideal place to come for biking, hiking and sipping.  Enjoy this interview and learn about the Kittitas Valley as a growing area, the advantages of co-fermentation, and much more.

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College Cellars

Tim Donahue & Eli Magun

When 50 pounds of zinfandel grapes arrived at the Donahue family home in Colorado, Tim eagerly helped his father to lift the grapes and make the wine.  He was 4 years old and it was the late 70s.  The Colorado winery went commercial in 1995 and Tim went to Australia to study winemaking.  On a chance visit to Walla Walla Community College in 2010, he discovered that the wine program there needed an enology instructor, and he was hired for the position soon after.  Eli Magun worked as a research assistant after graduating from college and eventually got tired of working with mice.  He liked the combination of art and science involved in winemaking, and so left the research job to enroll in Walla Walla Community College’s Enology and Viticulture Program, where he currently is a student and manages the College Cellars tasting room. 

College Cellars was the first commercial winery in the country that was also part of a two-year educational program in winemaking.  The more accurate word is “winegrowing”, because the applied, trade-based Enology and Viticulture Program at Walla Walla Community College includes “soil to bottle” education. The college owns 4 estate vineyards covering 8 acres and producing 15 different varietals.  With grapes from these vineyards and many others in the Walla Walla Valley, students make 32 different wines each year, many of which win awards.   Today roughly 84% of the program’s graduates end up working in the wine industry, with nearly 60% going into wine production, and others pursuing viticultural or marketing jobs.  Tim and Eli discuss the ideal student for this program, the best beginner varietals, why pinot gris makes a great rosé, and much more.

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Upland Estates Vineyards & Winery

Todd Newhouse

The story of Upland Estates Vineyards and Winery begins with William Bridgman, who started planting wine grapes on Snipes Mountain in 1917.  Grapes from some of those vines are still being used by the Newhouse family to make wine today.  Bridgman opened Upland Winery in 1934 when there was no other commercial winery in Eastern Washington.  He was determined to make European style vinifera wine at a time when most Americans preferred sweet, fortified wines.  Todd considers Bridgman the grandfather of WA wine, because he talked Walter Clore into shifting his research from traditional crops to wine grapes.  After several severe winters that destroyed many vines between 1949 and 1951, Bridgman caved into public demand and shifted from vinifera to sweet, fortified wines, until the winery finally closed in 1972, shortly after Bridgman passed away.

Todd’s grandfather purchased Upland Vineyards in the early 1970s, and his father greatly increased the acreage devoted to wine grapes.  Today the family farms nearly 2,000 acres of fruit, over half the acres planted to wine and table grapes.  They opened Upland Estates Winery in 2007, which makes all vineyard designated wines.  Wine names such as The Mayor, Julian, Teunis, and Inception reflect vineyard and winery history.  Todd was co-creator of the Snipes Mt. AVA and now manages the vineyards that produce at least two dozen different varietals.  In addition to managing the family farm, Todd is also Board Chair of the WA Winegrowers Association and the Wine Grape Growers of America.  Listen to the interview to find out what is unique about the Snipes Mt. AVA, what characterizes a Burgundian Chardonnay, how a Bordeaux style Sauvignon Blanc differs from others, and much more.

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J. Bell Cellars

Wes & Natasha Teslo

Wes and Natasha Teslo grew up in the Ukraine, but didn’t meet until 1999 when they were both working for a senior care facility in Woodinville, WA.  There were very few wineries in Woodinville in the 90s, so they came to Eastern WA to taste wine and to visit family members farming cherries and pears in Zillah.  Wes talked Natasha into letting him make a barrel of wine, although one barrel turned out in fact to be eight.  Drawn to the simple pleasures of life in Zillah, they decided to open a tasting room there in 2013, and eventually opened one in Woodinville as well.  They also planted 10 acres of lavender near the Zillah tasting room, and Natasha now distills enough essential oil to make a variety of lavender products sold in the tasting room. 

With its lavender fields, views of the mountains, live music, foods by local chefs, and beautiful courtyard for sipping the fine wines, J. Bell Cellars is a destination winery.  The wines are mostly single varietal, though blends of different vineyards in order to achieve a balanced taste profile.  They are also held in the barrel and released late in order to produce more nuanced, smoother wines.  Wes always blends the best barrels of a vintage to produce a wine known as Barrel 9.   Listen to the interview to find out why one of J. Bell’s most popular wines is named “Cab Frank”, which foods are best to make when lavender is an ingredient, what simple pleasures of life are offered in Zillah, and the many fun and educational activities you will encounter at the J. Bell Cellars Lavender Festival held each year during the last weekend of June.  

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Red Mountain, a novel

Boo Walker

After tasting some Hedges wine in South Carolina, Boo Walker caught the wine bug and eventually headed to Red Mountain.  He had grown up in Spartanburg, studying music composition in college with an emphasis on the banjo.  His studies led him to play for years with the Biscuit Boys—a group dedicated to “punchgrass”, or bluegrass emphasizing drive and beat.  Hand problems turned him from banjo picking to day trading on Wall Street, before he finally went west to pursue his dream of helping to “grow” wine.  The mutual support and collaboration here in WA wine country really attracted him, and so he settled on Red Mountain where the Hedges family adopted him as one of their own. 

Although he was a bad reader in school, Boo discovered page turners in college, and from then on had a nagging desire to create some of his own.  During his travels as global marketer for Hedges, he’s found plenty of time to write.  Boo has completed four novels, Red Mountain being his most recent one.  It’s a real page turner for sure, capturing many key themes about our Red Mountain AVA, including European feel, old world wine making techniques, wine growing as opposed to wine making, infusion of outsiders and wealth, possible tension between newcomers growing vines and age-old residents, need for tourist amenities, passion for eating and cheffing, and feminine touch needed in winemaking.   Learn about these themes and more from reading the novel and listening to this interview.

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Thurston Wolfe Winery

Dr. Wade Wolfe

Although Wade Wolfe majored in bio-chemistry as an undergraduate, an Introduction to Wines for Americans class he took in the 1960s at the University of California at Davis launched him on a career in the wine industry.  He decided to pursue doctoral work in viticultural studies, and also took classes in winemaking.  In 1978, he came to Washington to accept a job as technical viticulturalist for Chateau Ste Michelle, and by the early 1980s he and Walter Clore were working to create the Columbia Valley AVA.  Wade and his wife Rebecca opened Thurston Wolfe Winery in Yakima in 1987, which was the first winery in Yakima.  They moved the winery to Prosser in 1996, where it exists today in Prosser’s Vintners’ Village.

Wade is passionate about exploring lesser known varietals to see how they will do in WA state.  For example,  he was one of the first to recommend planting Albarino in WA, and he makes an Albarino wine.  His PGV white wine is an unusual and delicious blend of pinot gris and viognier.  He also makes blends and single varietal wines with Lemberger, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah.  Even his Rosé  is typically made with Lemberger.  The Thurston Wolfe Port is one of the best in the state, and since 2011 has been made with 100% Touriga Nacional.  Listen to this interview to learn about the role of sub-appellations, the potential for additional vineyard acreage in WA, why Lemberger is an ideal varietal for Rosé, how WA and CA Zinfandel differ, and much more.

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Goose Ridge Vineyard and Winery

Andrew Wilson of Goose Ridge Vineyard & Winery

In 1998, Arvid Monson planted wine grapes on what had been Monson family cattle and orchard land since the early 1900s.  Those initial Goose Ridge Vineyard plantings are now part of the largest contiguous vineyard in Washington state, with 2000 acres offering 16 different varietals and plenty of varying slopes and microclimates.  The Monsons believe they’re always farming for the next generation, and so cultivate biodiversity in their vineyard, including owls and hawks to control pests and cover crops to replenish soils.  Today’s Goose Ridge tasting room in Richland was the original winery where wines were first produced in 1999.  A new state-of-art winery facility was built right in the vineyard in 2008.   Today over 300,000 cases of wine are made there each year, with 90,000 displaying one of 4 Goose Ridge labels, and the rest produced for other wineries.

Head winemaker Andrew Wilson came to Goose Ridge Estate Winery in 2014, after managing Artifex in Walla Walla and working with winemakers from all over the world.  He loves making blended wines, both with different varietals and with the same varietal from different vineyard blocks.  With four different labels (Goose Ridge, G3, Tall Sage and Stonecap) available to the public in four tasting rooms (Richland, Woodinville, Leavenworth and Walla Walla), Goose Ridge Winery offers wines for all tastes and at varying price points, ranging from $10 to $50 per bottle.  This past year Goose Ridge started making apple and cherry cider, also available at the tasting rooms.  Listen here to learn about the advantages of making wine right in the vineyard, the relationship between tall sage and grapevines, the tribute to landscape and biodiversity in the Goose Ridge wine names, and much more.    

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Cave B Estate Winery

Vince Bryan & Freddy Arredondo of Cave B Winery

With handfuls of dirt from Burgundy vineyards, Seattle neurosurgeon Vince Bryan and his wife Carol went searching in 1980 for similar soils here in Washington.  They found their site along the Columbia River Gorge south of Quincy, and established an estate vineyard initially called Champs de Brionne that later became Cave B Estate Winery.  The earthen bowl on the property offered such amazing acoustics that the Bryans turned it into an amphitheatre venue for thousands of listeners.  Today, fine Cave B wines, world-class music, and stunningly beautiful landscape enhance each other at this destination site in the Ancient Lakes AVA.  Visitors can dine at Tendrils Restaurant and stay in various types of accommodation, including luxurious cliff house guest rooms, inn suites, yurts, or personal RVs. 

Winemaker Alfredo “Freddy” Arredondo started his career as a chef, but a stay in Italy changed the course of his professional and personal life.  He became passionate about wine and winemaking, and also met his future wife Carrie, who is Vince and Carol’s daughter.  After studying winemaking formally, Freddy and Carrie settled at Cave B where Freddy has 17 varietals to choose from in making the Cave B estate wines.  In addition to Bordeaux, Rhone, Italian and Spanish style wines, Freddy also makes sparkling, late harvest and ice wines.  Listen here to learn about a great white wine for red wine drinkers, what constitutes an old vine at Cave B, the “true” way to make ice wine, and much more.

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Swiftwater Cellars

Andrew Wisniewski of Swiftwater Cellars

Swiftwater Cellars winery site was home to the #9 coal mine from 1930 to 1963, which explains the winery’s architectural design.  After passing a screened entrance to the mine, one stands in front of a palatial winery and tasting room reminiscent of a “tipple house”, or structure where coal was loaded for transport.  Because tipple also means to drink alcohol, the design is a perfect embodiment of tasting room and local history.  The Cellars facility owned by Don and Lori Watts houses a lounge and the Hoist House Restaurant where Pacific Northwest cuisine can be paired with fine Swiftwater wines.  The mountain views are stunning, and the surrounding all-season Suncadia Resort provides opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing, fishing, swimming, golfing, spa indulging, concerts, horseback riding, and more. 

Winemaker Andrew Wisniewski grew up drinking wine at family dinners in New York state, but started his wine industry career among the muscadine vines of Florida.  He has since studied winemaking in Oregon, and has experience working in the vineyards and wineries of Australia and New Zealand.  Washington wines have always been among Andrew’s favorites, and the state’s ability to grow so many diverse varietals well led him to accept the assistant winemaker position at Swiftwater in 2013, and the head winemaker position two years later.  Describing himself as an “old soul millennial,” Andrew talks in this interview about how he plans to cultivate a wine culture among millenials, what is special about Swiftwater’s estate vineyard Zephyr Ridge, some advantages about wine on tap in the tasting room, and much more.     

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Central WA Univ Professors

Razvan Andonie, Anne Johansen, and Szilard Vajda

Can a computer be taught to assess wine quality as effectively as a professional human taster?  This is a question that Central Washington University (CWU) professors Anne Johansen, Razvan Andonie, Szilard Vajda, Holly Pinkart, and Amy Mumma set out to answer in their study “Cost Efficient Prediction of Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Quality” to be published soon in the International Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence.  Renown taster and former Director of CWU’s Global Wine Studies program Amy Mumma tasted and scored on a scale from 1 (least faulty) to 6 (most faulty) 180 wine samples that included 3 bottles of 60 different Washington Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  Thirty biochemical features were tested in a lab for the same wines, and age and region were added to the dataset.

As Anne (chemistry), Razvan (computer science), and Szilard (computer science) explain in this interview, the data for the 32 features were related to Amy’s ratings to come up with a computer program that can take data about a given wine and assess its quality on a scale from 1 to 6 with 60 to 70% accuracy.  Listen here to find out which 5 features are most cost effective ($25) to use in order to achieve at least 60% accuracy in assessing quality.  This study of wine quality is unique because of its large dataset, use of Washington wines, and goal of cost minimization.                

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Milbrandt Vineyards

Emily Haines of Milbrandt Vineyards

Not many 33 year olds oversee the making of a million cases of wine.  But that is Emily Haines’ new job, now that she has been promoted to Director of Winemaking at Millbrandt Vineyards.   Roughly 60,000 of the cases will be produced under the MilBrandt label, and the rest for the 30 clients of Milbrandt’s custom crush facility in Mattawa – the Wahluke Wine Company.  Emily has been well prepared for her new role.  After joining Milbandt Vineyards in 2009 as a lab technician, she was later promoted to lab manager, then enologist, assistant winemaker, and, just recently, Director of Winemaking. 

Butch and Jerry Milbrandt started growing grapes in 1997 and today farm several thousand acres of vineyards in the Wahluke Slope and Ancient Lakes AVAs.  Nearly 20 different varietals go into the many different Milbrandt wines, which are some of the finest and most affordable wines in the state.  Milbrandt wines can be found in all 50 states, and will soon be available internationally.  They pair nicely with many foods, as you can see from Butch’s “Pair This” cooking show on the Milbrandt website.  In this interview, Emily talks about Milbrandt’s unique wines, the benefits of blending, her passion for white wine making in particular, why being a millennial is an asset in the wine world, and much more

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