The last of the snowfall was hopefully done as the Blue Mountains looked stunningly beautiful in wintry white. We started heading south with a conscious effort to "pace ourselves" on this big day that had been planned for weeks - three Southside wineries before the winemaker dinner
First stop, Vital Wines
, a winery that combines my two passions - wine and healthcare. Started by winemaker Ashley Trout, Vital Wines donates all of its profit to fund a free clinic to those in need, especially the uninsured immigrant vineyard workers in the valley. It was a pleasure to sip wines and enjoy the gorgeous view of the Blues from the tasting room. I left happily with a bottle of the 2016 GSM.
|Snow-capped Blues viewed from Vital Winery|
Next stop, Rulo
, a no-frills winery that is fully operated by Dr. Kurt Schlicker and his wife, Vickie. An MD with a BS in Microbiology from Stanford University, Kurt definitely as both the science and art of winemaking down pat. I always have fun geeking out with Kurt about winemaking during my visits. This visit, he proudly showed me his steel barrels which he used to age his Chardonnay from Sundance vineyard, his version of Chablis, which was pretty tasty.
|The gang in Rulo Winery's barrel room with Kurt (in the middle)|
The last winery of the day was a blast for wine-loving music buffs, Sleight of Hand Cellars.
Inspired by the song title of winemaker Trey Busch's favorite band, Pearl Jam, the winery features a delicious wine line-up with fun labels. The tasting room in Walla Walla is decorated with vibrant colors, framed posters of the wine labels, shelves of music records, and a turntable for guests to pair their favorite music with their wine. There is even a backroom set up with colorful mid-century sofas, inviting you to kick back and lounge around. My favorite from the last tasting was hands down (no pun intended!) the 2016 Psychedelic, which is their Rocks AVA Syrah.
|Chilling out in Sleight of Hand Cellar's backroom|
It was the perfect to end the winery tour portion of the weekend. Look for the next post when I will share the most amazing Force Majeure winemaker dinner. Mmmmm....