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.

Listen to the Interview: