Sorin Dumitru of Bontzu Cellars
Sorin Dumitru says that everything he knows he learned from Grandpa Bontzu. His grandfather was a shoemaker in Romania, but he also made wine. Sorin grew up at his side in the vines and learned to make wine the traditional, natural way that he still employs here in Walla Walla. Sorin came to the US in 2000, settling first in Seattle before making his way to Walla Walla Community College’s Enology and Viticulture Program in 2011. He graduated in 2014 and opened Bontzu Cellars a month later in a can’t miss red barn out by the airport. The winery logo reflects his roots, as it displays a large B for Bontzu with the outline of a shoe sole inside. The tasting room recently moved downtown and offers live music and late-night hours on the weekends.
Of the Bontzu lineup of wines, most are single varietal, single vineyard. A Bontzu favorite that Sorin manages is five acres of Breezy Slope Vineyard, from which he gets many of his grapes. This is the highest vineyard in the Walla Walla region at roughly 1800 ft., and is farmed with no irrigation or pesticides. A unique wine that Sorin makes is his Rosé, which is 100% Counoise from Breezy Slope. Although most of his wines are single varietal, he does do a couple of blends, including the legacy Shoemaker blend. This is a super Tuscan blend with Sangiovese, Barbera and Merlot varietals. Future plans include some Spanish style wines and a syrah from the Rocks. Listen here to learn about Sorin’s Eastern European winemaking roots and how he is carrying on that legacy here in Walla Walla.
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