Savoring the Southwest

Savoring the Southwest

After nearly 200 years in the making, Savor Southwest Washington Wine debuts Saturday, May 11. The Southwest Washington Winery Association (SWWA) hosts the all-inclusive wine and culinary celebration at the Pearson Air Museum. Merely a stone’s throw from Fort Vancouver, the historical trading post stands as the first location of grapevines in Washington…

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Hello Washington Wine Month

Hello Washington Wine Month

Washington Wine Month is upon us and, with that, it’s Washington wine for the next 31 days. 

Pair all the best parts of summer with a bottle of beautifully-crafted Washington wine and all your adventures are sure to be amplified. From a day of rafting down a lazy river to a kayaking adventure on some white water; kicking your feet in a

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8th Annual Lavender Festival happening this weekend

8th Annual Lavender Festival happening this weekend

This Saturday, July 29 from 12-6 p.m. enjoy the 8th Annual Lavender Festival at Heisen House Vineyards. For all the details, read below: 

Savor the scent of nature's own stress reliever and discover its many uses.
Relax * Savor * Enjoy

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Ridgefield’s Koi Pond Cellars making splash in Hollywood, aboard

June 25 marks the two-year anniversary of Koi Pond Cellars’ downtown Ridgefield tasting room and, in that short time, their wines have expanded beyond the reaches of even the Northwest. From the small screen to the silver screen and soon international waters, Koi Pond Cellars is making a splash in the wine world.

Look for offerings like their Geisha White and Geisha Red in upcoming movies such as Tallulah starring Allison Janney and Ellen Page, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates starring Zac Efron and Adam DeVine and The House with Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, to name a few. Shots of bottle pours can also be seen in popular television series such as House of Cards, Pretty Little Liars, The Big Bang Theory and Grey’s Anatomy.

Using grapes predominantly sourced from Walla Walla, the Columbia Valley and the Dundee Hills, prime Hollywood placement not only markets Koi Pond wines but brings these regional AVAs (American Viticultural Area) into the forefront of viewers’ minds and circles back to the growing wine scene of Southwest Washington, as well.

Passengers will travel with Wes and Michelle Parker —the owners of Koi Pond Cellars— April 20-27, 2017 along France’s Rhône River aboard the intimate AmaCello. USA River Cruises
Passengers will travel with Wes and Michelle Parker —the owners of Koi Pond Cellars— April 20-27, 2017 along France’s Rhône River aboard the intimate AmaCello. USA River Cruises

Two upcoming cruises with USA River Cruises have Wes and Michelle floating down the Columbia River in August and crossing the big pond to showcase their wines along the Rhône River next April 20-27. On board, guests will enjoy wine and food pairings, wine presentations led by Wes and happy hours, all focusing on the award-winning Koi Pond lineup.

Michelle said “Wes and I are excited about it (the cruises) because, honestly, we love to drink wine and talk about wine. Wine’s meant to be shared and we totally enjoy that. We also like to taste other wine so I’m excited to share that experience and maybe showcase wine in a way that some people aren’t used to looking at it.”

Closer to home, beach combers can now pick up Koi Pond wine-infused truffles at the Cannon Beach Chocolate Café. These inaugural truffles went over so well at Savor Cannon 2016, they’ve since been added to the shop’s case of confectionary temptations.

Beach combers can now pick up Koi Pond wine-infused truffles at the Cannon Beach Chocolate Café. Made in white chocolate and dark, the dark is hard to keep on the shelf. Viki Eierdam
Beach combers can now pick up Koi Pond wine-infused truffles at the Cannon Beach Chocolate Café. Made in white chocolate and dark, the dark is hard to keep on the shelf. Viki Eierdam

Opportunities and success are meant to be celebrated and the Parkers are hoping folks will join their anniversary bash this Saturday, June 25 from 2-8 p.m. The first 15 people will enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne-style Sangria, live musicians are scheduled from 2-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., Herb N’Roots will be providing their locally-sourced menu, desserts will be served and Koi Pond is offering 20 percent off wine tabs all day long.

Their current selection encompasses 11 different palate-pleasing options. A sampling of what awaits tasting room visitors includes Geisha White— a blend that changes from harvest to harvest— is the perfect ratio of pinot gris and riesling; Blushing Geisha is a spin on a traditional GSM blend with the addition of sangiovese; the 2014 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, which has won a Silver and Bronze at recent wine competitions, has feminine floral notes with black fruit on the palate and a complexity that will deepen with age; and the 2013 Columbia Valley Syrah marries the best of two vineyards to create a more balanced and complex product with bold tannins and a food-friendly finish.

Held the first Saturday of the month, Chalk Night by Katie Hastings is a live art demonstration; just one of the many regular events held at Koi Pond Cellars. Viki Eierdam
Held the first Saturday of the month, Chalk Night by Katie Hastings is a live art demonstration; just one of the many regular events held at Koi Pond Cellars. Viki Eierdam

Whether you come by your wine sense via film, river boat, cruise ship or local winery visit, Koi Pond is becoming as far-reaching or near to home as your heart desires.

For more information about Koi Pond Cellars, including their upcoming wine cruises and monthly events, go to www.koipondcellars.com.

 

Newest SW Washington Winery introducing lesser-known varietals to area

Remember school science projects? There was the famous Brady Bunch volcano (I’m dating myself), the almost-as-famous life span of a marigold conducted by yours truly and Laura Leadingham’s project which led to the establishment of Clark County’s newest winery.

“Our daughter, Laura, was in the ninth grade with a horticulture class and she got excited about planting grapes and we decided to do a horticulture project with 250 pinot noir vines here. The plants did so well, we bought some more grapes and it became a full acre,” Joseph Leadingham explained.

Stavalaura Vineyards—located three miles off the Ridgefield exit— is excited to introduce visitors to lesser-known varietals when they open Saturday, May 7. Viki Eierdam
Stavalaura Vineyards—located three miles off the Ridgefield exit— is excited to introduce visitors to lesser-known varietals when they open Saturday, May 7. Viki Eierdam

That was back in 2003. Since then Joe and his wife, Bev, have increased their holdings to five acres of grapes with another 20 prepped for planting. On Saturday, May 7th, Stavalaura Vineyards and Winery in Ridgefield will open their tasting room to the public for the first time.

While Laura went on to complete her studies and now enjoys a career as a counselor, her parents’ curiosity of vinifera has only intensified with each passing year. Through completing the Washington State University (WSU) viticulture and enology programs, Joe was introduced to Tom Thornton, executive director of Cloud Mountain Farm Center in Everson, Wash., who helped Joe zero in on grape varietals successfully grown in Northern Europe along the similar latitude as SW Washington—golubok and zweigelt-rebe. With proper attention to root stock grafting, Stavalaura is seeing impressive results.

Stavalaura Vineyards and Winery has five acres under vines and 20 more prepped for planting. Viki Eierdam
Stavalaura Vineyards and Winery has five acres under vines and 20 more prepped for planting. Viki Eierdam

Joe said “If you try to plant something here that’s not from this latitude you’re 50-50 or less in long term success rate. I enjoy finding out about different varietals and what will grow well here and increase its success.”

Time will tell how the marketing angle of introducing the lesser-known varietals of golubok and zweigelt-rebe to a wine world where even gewürztraminer has its challenges for no other reason than imbibers prefer to be able to pronounce the wine they’re ordering. However, given the chance, they are both offerings worthy of the risk. Walt Houser, winemaker and owner of Bethany Vineyard in Ridgefield, has been a fan of golubok for some time now and procured his cuttings from Stavalaura.

The grounds of Stavalaura Vineyards are accented with special touches like their unique empty bottle recycling station. Viki Eierdam
The grounds of Stavalaura Vineyards are accented with special touches like their unique empty bottle recycling station. Viki Eierdam

“The folks that I have given samples (of the golubok) to have had nothing but positive feedback. It’s a hardy wine. It’s an earthy wine. It’s heavier and darker than cab,” Joe said.

He went on to explain that unlike other red wines that develop their color from time in contact with the skin, golubok actually has some pigment located in its pulp.

Over Mother’s Day weekend visitors will be able to taste for themselves and the Leadinghams are confident the wine will do the rest. Their opening lineup consists of a 2012 Pinot Noir, 2013 Pinot Noir, 2013 Golubok and 2013 Zweigelt—all estate-grown.

Hours for their soft opening will be from noon-5 p.m. to coincide with the Mother’s Day Wine Tour which begins at Koi Pond Cellars in Ridgefield and is a reservations-only event. Folks are also encouraged to come on their own throughout the weekend and sit on the inviting patio that overlooks the vines.

Bev summed up the Stavalaura experience best when she shared, in her engaging Southern drawl, “I get out there and I just love sitting out there and looking and enjoying a glass of wine and I want everyone else to be able to do that.”

A grand opening is forthcoming. Until then, Stavalaura will be open the first and third weekend of every month and outside food is welcome.

Connect with Stavalaura Vineyards and Winery at www.stavalaura.com.