Dean Derby and Serge LaVille of Spring Valley Vineyard and Winery
The story of Spring Valley Vineyard began in 1865 when the Corkum family arrived in Walla Walla from Illinois. Current vineyard owner Shari Corkum Derby’s grandfather Uriah eventually purchased a wheat farm that Dean and Shari still farm today. They planted grapes in 1992 and at first sold them all to other wineries. In the late 1990s son Devin and his wife Mary gave up painting movie sets in Chicago and headed to Walla Walla to turn the Spring Valley storage shed into a winery. A merlot-based red blend called Uriah--still Spring Valley’s flagship wine--was the first wine made in 1999. From the beginning, Spring Valley wines have embodied quality, family history, and a unique, high-elevation terroir.
In 2000, Serge Laville left his home in the South of France to come assist Devin at the winery. After Devin’s tragic death in 2004, Serge became head winemaker at Spring Valley. He knew something about making wine when he arrived, but he learned to make Washington wine from Devin. In this interview, he talks about the challenges of making wine in Washington, the changing tastes of consumers since 2000, the uniqueness of the wheat-surrounded Spring Valley Vineyard, and much more.
Listen to the Interview: