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.
Listen to the Interview: