(I am woefully behind on my share of the blogging! I'll try to make up for it.)
When my sister visited this past August, we visited a number of wineries. I've always enjoyed going into a winery for wine tasing, although I really am not a professional by any stretch of the imagination. Through the years I've picked up a few things about wines, but mostly centered on learning what I do and don't like in a wine. Generally, I like sweeter wines, preferring the whites over reds. Occasionally I'll surprise myself by finding a Merlot that I really like. Such is the case with this winery: Holmes Harbor Cellars.
Holmes Harbor Cellars is run by Greg and Theresa Martinez, a couple my husband & I met through the Navy. The fun part of this is that I have known Greg for a number of years as an aircrewman, and while knowing that all Navy Officers have degrees (at least a Bachelors) you don't always know what that degree is in, or you expect, like my husband, for example, a degree in History. Greg has his degree in Dairy Science, with a double concentration in Husbandry (cows) and Manufacturing (fermented foods,cheese,etc). (Perhaps the reason why a man with a degree in Dairy Science is flying jets in the Navy is the subject of another post!) Greg has been making beer since the 1990's (fits right in with his degree, really) And has recently completed a degree from UC Davis in Enology. Okay so now we know a bit about Greg, let me tell you about his wines!
Generally when you go to a wine tasting, you'll find one or two wines you like, maybe one you really like, and one you don't care for. (at least, this has been my experience) At Holmes Harbor Cellars, all of the wines are delightful! Even the dryest red, I enjoyed! It wasn't just the company of my sister, because I have been there before. I think that Greg has found his calling! The winery opened in 2005, with their first "crush" in 2006. Greg took two of his blended wines to the San Francisco International Wine Competition this year, and both won Bronzes! What a way to start out! If you're lucky, he may still have a bottle or two of them, the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2006 Red Etude. I got two bottles of the Red Etude to enjoy with our Christmas dinner.
He has a nice variety of styles, from the "Oakless" Chardonnay to a wonderful Syrah, and it is well worth your time to stop in at the Winery. His tasting room is in operation during the Weekends, and at other times by appointment. His web site is currently under construction, but you can find contact information there. Also, The Autumn Crushfest and Grand Opening will be taking place on October 18th from 12 noon to 5 PM. This will be a special day of gourmet goodies, entertainment, tours and tastings! At the present time Greg buys his grapes from Eastern Washington (Yakima and Walla Walla) but has his own vines that should start producing in a year or two. It's a great challenge to find grapes that do well in this cooler climate, but Greg is working with the State Extension to do just that. I look forward to many fine vintages from this winery!
Wineries on Whidbey Island.