Auction of Washington Wines Announces 2019 Honorary Vintner and Honorary Grower

Auction of Washington Wines
March 12, 2019

Nonprofit names Chris Gorman as Honorary Vintner and Scott Williams as Honorary Grower During Taste Washington Wine Month

The Auction of Washington Wines (AWW), Washington state’s only nonprofit wine event that has been around for 32 years, today recognized Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery as its 2019 Honorary Vintner and Scott Williams of Kiona Vineyards as its 2019 Honorary Grower. The individuals were selected because they exemplify leadership in the industry and have made significant contributions to the Washington wine community. These honorary positions are peer-nominated and reserved for leaders who deeply invest in and positively impact the Washington state wine community.>>>Read the entire article on Auction of Washington Wines

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Taste Washington Wine Month: Deals and Events in Woodinville Wine Country

March is Washington Wine Month and Woodinville Wine Country has special offers and events all month leading up to the state’s premier wine event, Taste Washington, March 28-31. Support local growers, producers, and retailers by trying and buying Washington wines.

Airfield Estates

Stop by Airfield this month to taste their newly released 2017 Chardonnay and 2017 Bombshell Red. Buy a 4-pack of any Airfield wines and get a different gift with purchase each week.

Brian Carter Cellars

March Magnum Madness sale is going on now at Brian Carter Cellar! Stop by their tasting
room or browse their website to save on your favorite BCC wines.

Cave B Estate Winery

Cave B Estate Winery is  offering special pricing on a few of their most popular wines. Swing by to taste and take advantage of savings on their 2016 Unoaked Chardonnay, 2017 Dry Rose’, 2015 Merlot.

DeLille Cellars

Celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month with DeLilleCellars and save on their featured wines

  • 2016 Chaleur Blanc – WA State’s highest rated white (non-dessert) wine: Regular $35,
    on sale for $27
    Taste Washington Wine Month: Deals and Events in Woodinville Wine Country
  • Save 10% on D2 and Four Flags, plus an additional 5% with purchase of 6 or more bottles
    (2016 D2 and 2016 Four Flags only).

You can visit DeLille Cellars online, in Woodinville at the Carriage House Tasting Room, or in Kirkland at Maison DeLille Wine Lounge.

Lauren Ashton Cellars

Join Lauren Ashton Cellars for a very special release for #WAWineMonth, and the newest member of the Lauren Ashton Cellars family — Ashton Troy Wines.

Activities include:

  • Tastings of the 2014 Malbec & 2014 Syrah (only available for purchase in tasting studio at release party)
  • Light bites from famed Seattle Restaurant – TULIO
  • Autograph signing by Ashton Troy – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • Live Music Saturdays with LAC from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

March 9th  | 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Lobo Hills

Lobo Hills is celebrating Taste #WAWineMonth with a special offer on their 100% Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and two glasses for $50 — a $10, savings!

Otis Kenyon Wine

To celebrate Washington Wine Month, winemaker, Dave Stephenson, will be in the Woodinville tasting room all afternoon pouring barrel samples of his favorite wines from the 2017 vintage. Taste through some future releases and ask Dave all the questions you have about growing grapes and making wine!

March 24th  | 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Pomum Cellars

To celebrate Washington Wine Month, Pomum Cellars will only be pouring their sister label Idilico wines at Pomum’s tasting room every weekend during March. These are exclusively Washington wines made from Spanish vines. They will pour Albarino, Garnacha, Monastrell, Tempranillo and Tempranillo Reserva.

The Idilico wines are typically only available to club members for tasting once a year, but many club members have requested that they be available for tasting more often and they are happy to oblige. During Washington Wine Month Idilico Wines will be available for tasting for everyone. This is a must try experience!

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar

Want to see the Purple staff’s favorite wines? Check out their staff picks chalkboard and take home the featured wines at 50% off (normally only 40% off) throughout the month of March.

Tinte Cellars

Celebrate Taste #WAWineMonth with Tinte Cellars. Tastings are only $5 on Wednesdays all March long!

[Photo cred: Cave B Winery, DeLille Cellars, Taste Washington]

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6 of the Best Wineries in Washington State

Press Release
February 26, 2019

Woodinville Wine Country was included on, in the article “6 of the Best Wineries of Washington State.” Woodinville is referenced front and center as an easy, convenient wine destination that offers the “opportunity to taste wines from across the state (including its most remote locales).” Woodinville’s Long Shadows, DeLille Cellars and Avennia are all featured! 


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Dusted Valley Wines – Washington State Grown, Midwest Roots

Minnesota Monthly
February 11, 2019

From proud Midwest farm kids to one of Wine & Spirit Magazine’s Top 100 Wineries of the Year, Dusted Valley has made a name for itself by mixing science, a fair bit of experimentation, and a blend of old-world techniques to bring spectacular Washington state wine to life. 

Founded on the notion that when family pulls together, the American dream can turn into a living reality, Wisconsin natives Chad and Janet Johnson and Corey and Cindy Braunel moved to Washington in 2003 and started what would become the 52nd winery to proudly call the Walla Walla Valley home. “You’ve heard of blind enthusiasm, the tireless entrepreneurial spirit. Failure wasn’t an option for us,” says co-owner Corey Braunel. “It doesn’t mean you don’t…>>>Read the entire article on The Minnesota Monthly

[photo cred: Colby Kuschatka]

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Northwest Wine: Washington Red Blends Play by Old World Rules

Many major wine-producing regions can lay claim to a signature blend.

In France’s Bordeaux region, it can be based on any of the red grapes, often Cabernet Sauvignon. In the Rhône Valley, it could be Syrah. In Cahors, it is Malbec. In Australia, it likely is to be Shiraz/Syrah. In Spain, there’s Tempranillo. In Italy, the foundation often is Sangiovese.

These regional differences come out of tradition, often built from generations of winemaking, based on what winemakers learned from centuries of learned observations.>>>Read the entire article featuring Woodinville’s Lobo Hills and Pepper Bridge Winery on the Tri-city Herald

photo cred: Duval Images

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Jason Gorski takes over reins at DeLille Cellars

Great Northwest Wine
January 24, 2019

WOODINVILLE, Wash. – DeLille Cellars, one of Washington state’s leading wineries, announced Wednesday that Jason Gorski has been promoted to replace co-founder Chris Upchurch as director of winemaking and viticulture.

Gorski has seen production grow from 10,000 cases to approximately 30,000 cases since he joined the Woodinville showpiece in 2011. In addition to overseeing DeLille’s 60 acres of vineyards, Gorski’s responsibilities also include the smooth transition of the former Redhook Brewery tank room into a vinification facility designed to keeping DeLille in the international spotlight.

“Established with a focus on wine quality, DeLille Cellars is an integral part of the history of Washington wine and its increasing reputation throughout the world,” Gorski stated in a news release. “I look forward to continuing to build upon that foundation, working to continuously improve our wines and promote the excellence of Washington vineyards.”>>>Read the entire article on Great Northwest Wine

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The Sommelier Side Hustle: Winemaking

The Wall Street Journal
January 10, 2019

Not content to merely recommend bottles, many sommeliers are getting into the business of making wine. Having sampled the results, our wine columnist offers some recommendations of her own

IN THE documentary “Somm 3,” the latest in a series of sommelier-focused films, the somms aren’t just tasting and recommending wines—they’re making them, too.>>>If you are a subscriber… read the entire article featuring Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen, winemaker at W.T. Vintners on The Wall Street Journal (or see PDF below)


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Local importers make it easy to explore exciting, affordable wines from one of Spain’s most dynamic regions

AMONG THE LARGEST and most dynamic wine regions, Spain produces twice as much wine as the United States. Within Spain, arguably the most interesting region is called Rioja, where the red grape Tempranillo dominates vineyards.

The history of Rioja goes back a millennium; it rose in fame in the 19th century, when phylloxera devastated the vineyards of France. Many French winemakers turned to Rioja to get them through the most difficult times. This not only brought recognition to the region, but the Bordeaux winemakers also brought expertise and upgrades.>>>Read the entire article featuring Chateau Ste Michelle on The Seattle Times




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Merlot: A Worthy Red Varietal Deserving of Our Attention

It’s Time to Celebrate Washington State Merlot

When you look at a wine list, do you check out the Merlot options? If this varietal hasn’t been on you radar before, it’s time you give it a try. A grape truly worth getting excited about? Absolutely!

Merlot grows in many places of the wine world, but growing merlot grapes that stand on their own requires a very specific climate, one that Eastern Washington provides. The cold nights, wind and arid climate all play a key role in gently stressing the grapes, keeping their skin thick and their flavor concentrated. The result is a grape with great wine making potential.

You can find extraordinary bottles of merlots to choose from. This is an approachable grape varietal that is known for being soft, ripe and elegant. Let’s indulge in some delicious examples of note-worthy Washington State Merlots. We’ll have a full glass please.

DeLille Cellars Merlot 
DeLille Cellars 2015 Merlot: A blend of four great vineyards from the Yakima and Red Mountain AVAs. These plots span the four compass points of the viticultural region showcasing Red Willow, DuBrul, Klipsun and Upchurch. Blending fruit from these celebrated vineyards adds complexity; yet the charm and purity of the region’s Merlot remains the central focus of this wine. This wine has received 90 points from Jeb Dunnuck. “A beautiful Merlot, it offers classic notes of black cherries, dark chocolate and roasted herbs in a supple, full-bodied, sexy, rounded style.” – Jeb Dunnuck.

Merlot: A Worthy Red Varietal Deserving of Our AttentionBrian Carter Cellars ONE Merlot
Brian Carter Cellars 2013 ONE Merlot: A single varietal single vineyard release. Brian Carter has made a lot of nice merlot over the years but either they did not reach the quality to stand on their own or Brian needed them for one of his bends (always the priority). In 2013 Brian had a lot of good Merlot for his blends, so he was able to keep this lot, clearly the best from the vintage, for bottling on its own in the ONE program. This wine from Olsen Vineyard is an outstanding example of what this variety can do in Washington State. Having tasted Merlots from all over the world, Brian has maintained that Washington has the best expression of Merlot fruit from anywhere. This wine is dark garnet in color. The intense and complex aromas include black cherry, blackberry, raspberry and pomegranate with hints of earth and toasted oak. The palate is round with just the right hints of tannin for aging and a balanced lengthy finish.

J Bookwalter MerlotMerlot: A Worthy Red Varietal Deserving of Our Attention
J Bookwalter 2015 Readers Merlot: An outstanding Merlot from Washington’s revered old vineyards Conner Lee and Dionysus. Their Readers blend tips its hat to all exploratory readers of books and wine. Blending Conner Lee Vineyard’s 1992 old block Merlot and Dionysus Vineyards’ block 15 Merlot combines two super character vineyards. Elephant Mountain Vineyard’s Cabernet bring spice and complexity to the blend. This powerful wine offers fragrant cherries and chocolate with rich marrionberry flavors in this delicious easy drinking style. The 2015 Readers Merlot just received the following scores: 90-Wine Enthusiast 88-Jeb Dunnuck 95-James Suckling. The 2015 Vintage of Readers Merlot shows slightly more acid and structure than your “quintessential” Washington Merlot making it perfect for pizza, pasta, grilled or braised meats.

Merlot: A Worthy Red Varietal Deserving of Our AttentionMathew’s Merlot
Mathew’s Winery Merlot: In celebration of Merlot season and the exciting release of their 2015 Merlot, they are offering a 3-year Merlot vertical (2013, 2014, 2015).

“The 2015 Merlot is a blend of 78% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon that was brought up in 69% new French oak. Crème de cassis, violets, a touch of vanilla bean, and incense all give way to a rich, voluptuous, beautifully textured, ripe Merlot that has sweet tannin and a silky, elegant texture. It’s ready to go, yet should keep for at least a decade.”



“Plum and cherry aromas are lifted by a note of wild herbs. Compellingly plush and generous in the mouth, offering a distinctly layered texture to its flavors of black raspberry, cigar box, milk chocolate and herbs. Already extremely appealing but I wouldn’t describe it as soft. The long, palate-staining finish builds inexorably. A knockout chocolatey Merlot with outstanding breadth and finesse.”

“Like with the Cabernet, the 2013 Merlot was reviewed last year under the Tenor 2:2 label. Incorporating 24% Cabernet Franc, it has a complex bouquet of plum pit, blood orange, leafy herbs and mint to go with a charming, ripe, supple style on the palate. I love its silky, elegant texture, and while good now, it should benefit from a few years in bottle.”

[photo cred: Duval Images, DeLille Cellars, Brian Carter Cellars, J Bookwalter, Matthews Winery]



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Merlot is Back

By Guest Writer: Chris Upchurch

I walked into the cellar the other day and a friend of mine was sporting a baseball hat that said, “Make Merlot Great Again.” How cool is that? I remember a time when we believed Merlot was going to be the king varietal here in Washington. All the journalists were raving about it. It seemed to have more structure than many California Merlots, and Chateau Ste. Michelle was planting it like crazy. Napa was going to make Cabernets, Oregon would make Pinot Noir, and we would make that deliciously layered varietal called Merlot. All was right in the world.

Despite this rosy forecast, Cabernet Sauvignon continued to dominate the red wine market. The movie Sideways didn’t help Merlot either. I told people that the character who refused to drink Merlot also drank from a spittoon later in the movie, and his favorite French wines, Petrus and Cheval Blanc, were Merlot dominant. Still, Merlot sales cooled while Syrah gained popularity and more and more outstanding Cabernets were being made here in the Northwest.

Regardless of the trends, I’ve always loved making Merlot. It’s a varietal that always delivers a key trait in my winemaking criteria: deliciousness. Soft and accessible, Merlot is always a crowd pleaser. It delivers the whole gamut of fruits and spices, yet still rewards aging in the cellar. And it grows so well here in Washington. From the Wahluke Valley to Walla Walla and everywhere in between, Merlot is the second most planted grape here after Cabernet Sauvignon. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, there were over 9,000 acres of Merlot planted in Washington as of 2017, a 54% increase from 2006.

You can imagine how pleased I am to see that Merlot is back. At DeLille Cellars, we’re making more than ever. Our Merlot-dominant D2 is our most popular wine and is recognized around the country and in several international markets. There are well over 100 varietal Merlots produced in the state, not to mention all of Washington’s Bordeaux-style blends where Merlot is key. While much of the world still struggles with Merlot (name a famous Australian Merlot), ours only gets better. With increasing vine age, better clonal selection and a whole host of other improvements, we’re making subtle, mouthwatering Merlots that I dare anyone to try and not love. At Walla Walla’s annual celebration this year, Merlot was the featured grape, and producers from around the world were invited to participate and compare. Most agreed that Washington Merlots were second to none, further demonstrating how fantastic this varietal is for our state and industry.

Finally, I noticed that the new generation of wine drinkers really loves Merlot. They’re not necessarily hanging around the local wine shop on a Saturday afternoon reading wine critics’ reviews and scores; they’re just looking for wines that deliver delicious pleasure to be shared with friends. While all varietals can be hedonistic, Merlot seems best suited to this aspect of wine drinking—it’s simply a delight to drink. And that’s probably the biggest reason to believe that Merlot has a big future. While I won’t try to predict just how big, one thing’s for sure: I’ve got to get one of those hats.

[photo cred: Duval Images and DeLille Cellars]


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