A northern neighbor is stepping out of the shade and into the sun as Washington State’s wine industry continues to grow.
Washington State is home to 50,000 acres of wine country, 350 grape growers, and more than 800 wineries; a local winery, Basalt Cellars, being one of them.
“This is our annual bottling day,” said Basalt Cellars Co-Owner Lynn Devleming. “We bring in a bottling truck from Walla Walla. It makes it a lot easier, and we just go, go, go.”
What would normally be a six day process can now be done in a matter of hours since sixty bottles of wine can be poured and corked within a minute.
“Today we’re bottling about 1,350 cases of wine, a combination of a couple whites, some Risling and Semillion, and seven different varieties of red,” said Basalt Cellars Co-Owner Rick Wasem.
A huge accomplishment when you think about Basalt’s humble beginnings.
“Rick and I met in a wine making class we both had a passion for wine,” said Devleming. “We all started in his garage and then started Basalt Cellars in 2004.”
A possible secret to their longevity, all the grapes come from Washington State.
“Our grapes come from the Columbia Valley,” said Wasem. “We have our own local vineyard here in Clarkston and we always make some wine from that vineyard which is outstanding, but we have contracted blocks with the best growers around the state.”
Despite Washington being the second largest premium wine producer in the United States, the industry is already making a global splash.
“Washington wine is becoming known around the world,” said Wasem. “I was in Jamaica a few years ago and went in a wine shop in White House and Columbia Crest Grand Estates was on the shelf.”
And while some of the wine from today will be shipped to far-off places most of it will stay local, giving you the opportunity to taste the fruit of their labors.
“We have great local support, which is awesome, we wouldn’t be here without our customers,” said Devleming.
Basalt Cellars will celebrate their ten year anniversary this June.
The folks at the local winery encourage everyone to stop by, sip some wine and take a tour.