Although still a work in progress, visitors will be able to enjoy the warmth of Dolio Winery’s climate-controlled tasting room during the Southwest Washington Wine Country Thanksgiving Weekend tour. Owners Don and Pam Klase pictured here. Viki Eierdam
A little market research can be a motivating tool. According to Battle Ground resident Don Klase and his mathematical prowess, Clark County could potentially support approximately three dozen more wineries than are already operating.
“We think Clark County is underdeveloped on the wine level. (There are) 8,500 citizens per winery across the state and in Clark County it’s over 26,000 so that means there’s not enough wineries operating here to meet the state average. If we were to reach 8,500, we’d need another 36 wineries here so there is room to grow,” Don said.
Why would this be important to Don? Because on Thanksgiving weekend he and his wife, Pam, will open their doors to the 17th winery in Clark County—Dolio Winery and Vineyard.
Located four miles from Lewisville Park just west of SR-503, Dolio is reached by a meandering road that melts away the cares of city life with every bend. Although still a work in progress, visitors will be able to enjoy the warmth of their climate-controlled tasting room during the Southwest Washington Wine Country Thanksgiving Weekend tour while sipping through their line-up of 2013 Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Dolcetto, Barbera, and Sangiovese from the Columbia Valley.
A special 2014 Tramonto (sunset in Italian), made with estate phoenix grapes and a touch of their pinot noir, will also be available. This German grape is a hybrid created by crossing the viniferous bacchus with another hybrid, villard blanc. Don described it as relatively hearty from a disease perspective with a muscat flavor and aroma.
Referring to the process of vinifying the 2014 Tramonto, Pam said “It’s like raising kids. You start from the very beginning and see it all the way to the end product and it’s really exciting to be able to say this is from our property and it’s really good.”
About an acre of their property is under vines planted in 2011 (predominantly pinot noir and pinot gris) but the majority of Dolio’s grapes are sourced from Eastern Washington. Total production sits at 1,000 cases and that’s where the Klase’s see the sweet spot in their plan to keep Dolio a small, premium-quality winery with the two of them able to operate the entire business as a unified team.
High school sweathearts who raised two boys, they also share a life-long love of learning. Both graduated from Penn State, years later attended Linfield College as adults and will complete the Viticulture and Enology Certificate Program through the Washington State University Extension in December.
The Klase’s backgrounds in electrical engineering and computer programming afforded them successful careers but it’s the time growing up on a dairy farm and within a small farming community in Pennsylvania that’s shaped their truest passions and given them both their fondest memories. Moving to Battle Ground in 2003 was a homecoming of sorts.
“For me, working out in the vineyard is one of my favorite parts in this whole endeavor,” Pam said. “Walking through the vineyard at night, looking at the sunsets with the trees in the background, it’s very relaxing. It’s our little piece of Heaven out here.”
Dolio Winery and Vineyard will be open from noon-5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and noon-5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday thereafter.
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