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The Growth of Spokane Wine

The history of the Spokane grape vine dates back to 1980 with the opening of the now defunct Worden Winery. Jack Worden saw the potential of Washington wine and hired Mike Conway, who was working for Parducci Wine Cellars in California, to make wine. Worden’s initial efforts laid the foundation for the flourishing wine scene we now have in Spokane.

Latah Creek, Spokane’s oldest winery

Conway went on to found Latah Creek Wine Cellars in 1982, now Spokane’s oldest winery. When Latah Creek opened, there were less than 20 wineries in the whole state. Now, there are 20 wineries producing wine just in Spokane.

Growth of the Spokane wine scene has been slow and deliberate over the last 30 years. Focus has been on quality and not quantity. Shortly after Latah Creek opened, Spokane welcomed Arbor Crest Winery in 1982 and Mountain Dome, a premium sparkling wine maker, in 1984. The slow maturation of quality continued in the 90’s with the addition of Caterina, Grande Ronde, Knipprath, and Townshend. At the end of two decades, 6 wineries dotted the wine landscape.

Overbluff Cellars, Spokane’s Newest Winery

During the next 20 years, the flow of wine grew at a faster clip with the addition of award winning wineries like Barrister, Lone Canary, and Robert Karl along with a cluster of boutique wineries Barili, Bridge Press, eMVy, Liberty Lake, Nodland, Trezzi, Vintage Hill, and Whitestone Winery.

Spokane’s newest winery is Overbluff Cellars at 620 S. Washington (opened Spring 2010). “It’s more about passion than anything. When the fun is gone, I’m through,” says Jerry. The first Overbluff Cellars release consists of 290 cases including three 2007 Cabernet from various vineyards and one 2009 Viognier. John and Jerry’s philosophy to wine making brings a Napa influence to Walla Walla fruit. In a recent interview in The Spokesman Review, John Caudill shares his passion for Spokane, “There is no other place we want to live other than Spokane! Combine that with opportunity to make great wine with access to some of the best fruit available on the planet, what could be better?”

Cougar Crest Tasting Room at N 8 Post

In addition to Spokane producers, growth has come from the addition of satellite tasting rooms from other wineries in Washington. Josh Wade, of Nectar Tasting Room says, “Spokane residents have an incredible passion for wine. It is exciting to see the growth and the addition of so many quality wineries across the city.” Nectar Tasting Room is at 120 N. Stevens and is the home of 5 Washington wineries. Visitors can enjoy over 40 wines by the glass or bottle from Anelare (Kennewick), Hard Row to Hoe (Lake Chelan), Northwest Cellars (Kirkland), Skylite Cellars (Walla Walla), and Terra Blanca (Benton City). “We are a winery, just like any of the others in Spokane, we just have five you can visit all at once.”

“Some of the most exciting growth going on in our industry right now is in Spokane,” says Ryan Pennington of the Washington Wine Commission.  “Any time we can bring Washington wine to the major population centers of the state, our entire industry benefits.  What’s happening in Woodinville is a prime example of the great potential for Spokane’s wine scene – wineries from all over the state have discovered the great benefits of ‘bringing the mountain to Muhammad’, as it were, showcasing their wares in their customers’ backyards.  And, as a result, consumers can sample a cross section of wines from across the state without traveling hundreds of miles to the wineries themselves.”

Another example of bringing the “Mountain to Muhammad,” as Ryan says is the most recent opening of Walla Walla’s Cougar Crest Winery at South 8 Post Ave in downtown. Cougar Crest opened a space in Woodinville and now in Spokane. “This new location, in the heart of Spokane, will bring our winery into the daily lives of the people who have shown us their whole-hearted support for the last 10 years,” said owner and winemaker Deborah Hansen.   Cougar Crest was established in 2001 by owners Deborah and David Hansen. With over 50 acres of Walla Walla fruit from their estate vineyards, Cougar Crest has received high praise including 93 point scores for their Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

While Spokane may never be home to over 100 wineries like Walla Walla and Woodinville, we can be sure that growth will continue as Spokane residents continue to increase their palate for quality wine.

Stay current on all Spokane winery events at http://spokanewineries.net 


Cougar Crest Winery Prowls in Spokane

In September, Cougar Crest Estate Winery celebrated the Grand Opening of their new tasting room at 8 North Post, Suite 6 in the Downtown Art District of Spokane, Washington.  All of the Cougar Crest product line is available at this location, including tasting, organized flights, and glass pours. Local artists are showcased in the gallery for viewing and sales.  The tasting room is open Thursday – Monday, Noon- 7pm.  “This new location, in the heart of Spokane, will bring our winery into the daily lives of the people who have shown us their whole-hearted support for the last 10 years” said owner and winemaker Deborah Hansen.  Raised and educated in Eastern Washington, Deborah and husband Dave have been waiting for the opportunity to expand Cougar Crest Estate Winery into the bustling Spokane market for over a year.  The new tasting room is affiliated with the Spokane Winery Association, the Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Greater Spokane Chamber of Commerce.  The tasting room is also open for all of the “First Friday Artwalk” events held downtown on the first Friday of every month.

The Spokane connection continues with tasting room manager Sam Crosby. Sam grew up in Spokane and also went to school at Gonzaga. “I am excited to introduce Spokane to some well rounded Walla Walla wines.” The location on Post Avenue is adjacent to the Davenport Hotel and across the street from the popular Post Street Ale House. Visitors will enjoy the 1500 square foot modern space with a beautifully under-lit bar as the central piece. Just down the street is shopping at Riverpark Square.

Cougar Crest Estate winery was established at the Walla Walla Airport in 2001 by Deborah and David Hansen. Owners of 50 acres of vineyard, all in the Walla Walla Appellation, they have sold wine grapes to other wineries for years. The move into making wine has been a natural progression for two people with strong backgrounds in science and a love of fine wine. The University of California at Davis offered many winemaking classes that both David and Deborah attended. The first vintage was 900 cases. Cougar Crest is currently producing between 8,000-12,000 depending on harvest.

Cougar Crest’s line up of 17 wines will be available in various tastings for guests to enjoy.


email – sam@cougarcrestwinery.com

twitter @cougarcrest


N. 8 Post Suite 6; Spokane, WA 99201

Welcome to Issue Two of Spokane Wine Magazine

Welcome to issue number two of Spokane Wine Magazine. What started out as a personal goal to visit all of the Spokane wineries has become a quest to let the world (or at least our little corner of the world) know about the amazing quality of our regional wineries.    Over the last year, Spokane wine has received statewide and national attention as wine writers and customers take notice of the attention to craftsmanship.

25 wineries now call Spokane home through production or satellite tasting room locations. 2011 saw the opening of Nectar Tasting Room, Marketplace Wine Bar and Cougar Crest Winery. We also saw the rebranding of one local winery and the merger acquisition of Spokane’s only sparkling manufacturer. Arbor Crest rebuilt the Cliff House mansion after a 2009 fire and our region’s oldest winery is nearing the 30 year old mark. As the economy continues to struggle, no new Spokane production wineries opened (a first for the last 4 years).

In this issue you’ll be introduced to two wineries just outside of our region but within a short drive, we’ll explore downtown and uncork some ideas for holiday wine shopping.

You’ll also notice funky square boxes on most articles. These QR Codes can be scanned by smart phones and take you to additional content, maps, or winery web sites. We hope the additional information is helpful.

To stay connected to ongoing Spokane wine news and events please bookmark http://www.spokanewinemagazine.com and visit the sponsors and advertisers in this publication. I want to offer a special thanks to the Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau and Rainmaker Marketing for their support and vision to help make this magazine possible.

Enjoy and Drink Happy!

You can pick up a free copy of the magazine at all area wineries, at many of the sponsors and advertisers and at the Spokane Visitor’s Center.


Josh Wade



Like us on Facebook.com/SpokaneWineMagazine

Twitter @spowinemag

Spokane Restaurants Receive Honors

The Washington Wine Commission annual restaurant awards recognizes excellence in wine. Each year the Commission seeks to recognize restaurants that exhibit exceptional support of Washington State wines and high professional standards in wine service. In 2009 Spokane was nearly shut out. In 2010 several Spokane restaurants were mentioned. The 2011 awards showcase some great Spokane restaurants. The bias of the awards continues to favor the West side of the state but we are proud to recognize the accomplishments of these fine Spokane Restaurants.


Washington Wine Award of Distinction (Spokane)

These restaurants have shown dedication and commitment to the Washington wine industry:

  • Spokane Club
  • Luna
  • Masselow’s
  • The Melting Pot

Spokane Wine Magazine would also like to recognize the exceptional support of Spokane, as well as Washington wines, by the following restaurants. The wine lists express creativity, originality, and a commitment to wine service and education.

  • Left Bank Wine Bar
  • Maxx at Mirabeau Hotel
  • Ambrosia Bistro
  • The Davenport Hotel
  • Latah Bistro
  • Vin Rouge
  • Vintages 611

Congratulations to all participants. We encourage you to share your thoughts and observations about restaurant wine lists in the area. Leave a comment to recognize a local restaurant.


Barrister Winery Earns More Bling

Barrister Winery Earns More Bling

More than 600 wines competed in the fourth annual American Fine Wines Competition. Wine from all over the United States were invited to participate with proceeds benefiting several South Florida charities. Judges are grouped in panels of four and the wine is served “blind.” For a wine to be awarded a medal, 75% of the judges must agree. Wines receiving “double-gold” receive 100% of the panel approval.

Of the 23 wines submitted to represent Washington State, Barrister winery received “GOLD” for their 2007 Morrison Lane Syrah and the wildly popular Rough Justice Blend (43% Syrah, 26% Merlot, 19% Cab Franc, and 12% Cab Sauv). The Syrah was one of six to receive Gold or Double Gold. The Rough Justice was among the lowest priced wines to receive gold at just $20.

See all the reward recipients

The recent awards for Barrister are on the heels of strong scores from Wine Enthusiast Magazine where 7 of their wines received 90 points or better. Paul Gregutt, writer for Wine Enthusiast and author of Washington Wines and Wineries rated Barrister a four star winery and selected the 2007 Cabernet Franc among the top 100 Washington Wines.

About Barrister Winery

Barrister Winery specializes in the production of limited quantities of Bordeaux varietal wines and Syrah (Okay, so now we do a bit of Sangiovese, too).  We will release approximately 3,100 cases in 2010.  In addition, we will produce about 250 cases of white wines.  Our wines are sold at the winery, through our mailing list, online and in selected fine wine shops and restaurants in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Chicago and the Seattle area.

Other Barrister Winery Posts You Might Like

Spokane Uncorked Replaces Taste Washington

In July news broke that the Washington Wine Commission was canceling the annual Taste Washington event at the Davenport Hotel due to budget constraints.

In order to dedicate the budget and time necessary to carry out this expanded local marketing initiative, the Commission will no longer produce a Taste Washington! event in Spokane.  Over the past nine years, Taste Washington! Spokane has generated greater awareness of Washington State wines in the Inland Northwest, even spawning several other successful local wine events, and the Commission believes that there is abundant opportunity to achieve similarly positive results year-round and throughout the entire region.

Varsity Communications, producers of the Washington State Wine Commission’s annual Taste Washington event in Seattle and the former Taste Washington event in Spokane announces today that Spokane Uncorked, an all-new food and wine festival will be held in Spokane at the Lincoln Center on June 5 of next year.

Over 75 wineries and more than 20 local restaurants are expected for an evening of great wine and great food, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit Hospice of Spokane. The event will also feature opportunities to win bottles of wine and other great prizes, as well as savings on food-and-wine related products and services. For more information on the event, contact Varsity Communications Event Manager Melinda Haynes at 206-367-2420, x1223.

Thanks to Ed Clark’s How’s Business for breaking this awesome news!

Spokane Holiday Wine Festival Brings a Flood of New Releases

Twice a year, wine lovers in Spokane are treated to a slew of new wines. With all the new juice hitting the market, it can be difficult to keep track. In the Spring and Fall, many of the previous vintages whites are released. Red wines that spend months slumbering, developing their layers of flavor in French oak barrels, emerge to fulfill their destiny. 2010 is no exception. With 17 wineries participating in this year’s Spokane Winery Association Holiday Wine Festival, there will be no shortage of new wine to add to your cellar or holiday wine party. Stop by and enjoy Friday through Sunday 11-5 pm.

Enjoy your journey to the Spokane wineries this year. Below is a list of new releases for you to enjoy. Download the map before you go!

Tips to Enjoy Your Holiday Wine Festival

  • Hydrate and eat – you want to ensure you don’t go overboard. Drink lots of water and don’t drink on an empty stomach.
  • Spit – While unattractive to think about, if you are going to be enjoying several winery’s flights of wine, sipping and spitting is encouraged. Wineries will have dump / spit buckets available.
  • Purchase wines that you like – Event weekends like these are an excellent opportunity to explore a winery’s line up of wines. Wineries pour a great deal of wine during the weekend and it is always courteous to purchase.
  • Be aware of the people around you – Some of the winery tasting rooms and bars are small. Be aware of people around you who are trying to experience the same wine you are enjoying. Step away and share the juice.
  • Tasting fees – Most wineries charge a small tasting fee that is usually refundable with purchase. Remember that these wineries are local small businesses and are in business to bring you joy, not to give away free wine.
  • Don’t drink and drive – Small one ounce pours can quickly add up. It is better to bring a designated driver than to risk any potential of injury or run in with the law.

Barrister Winery

Barrister is releasing their Barrister’s Block proprietary blend of some of the best barrels from previous vintages. If you like Rough Justice, you’ll love Barrister’s block. Greg and Mike are also releasing their 2007 Morrison Lane Syrah.

Caterina Winery

Caterina is releasing the new C-4 Red Blend! C-4 is a robust blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah inspired by great “Super Tuscan” wines of Italy. In addition to the new wine, enjoy great discounts on previously released wines.

Grande Ronde

The new Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvingon release (another 90 point wine spectator score), and the famous Seven Hills Merlot. Seven Hills is one of the top rated vineyards in Walla Walla and the U.S.

Knipprath Cellars

Cold weather and warm Alpine Wine, nothing is better. Stock up before the snow shuts you in

Latah Creek

Mike Conway and family are excited to release their Monarch Petite Sirah and Monarch Red. Stay tuned for the December 3 release of the Monarch Zinfandel. Each Monarch series wine has a unique label featuring local artwork from Edward Gilmore.

Liberty Lake Wine Cellars

Enjoy the newest generation from Liberty Lake Wine Cellars, Gary’s Legacy. This Cabernet Franc-based blend is released in honor of Shelly’s father, Gary, who passed away last year.

Lone Canary

Big news from the little yellow bird. Not only is Lone Canary introducing four new wines (09 Gewurztraminer, 09 Pinot Gris, 08 Syrah, and the new LC-5 Red Blend), Lone Canary has a brand new look. Check out the new label!

Nodland Cellars

Time after time, Tim and Tracy Nodland impress with their new releases. Get an attitude adjustment with the new Bad Attitude merlot based blend and enjoy a special treat with the brand new 100% Carmenere Avant Guard.

Robert Karl Cellars

Joe and Rebecca always delight and this year will not disappoint with the release of the 2007 Gunselman Bench Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2007 Inspiration Red Wine.

Whitestone Winery

Last year Whitestone Winery caused quite a festive frenzy with the release of their Pieces on Earth blend. Version two is here and is only available for a very limited time. The Pieces series (Pieces of Red, Love You to Pieces, Scared to Pieces, and Pieces on Earth) is quickly becoming a local favorite.