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Washington Wine Month Stop #12: Wilridge Winery

A change of hands didn’t disrupt this winery. In fact, it made it stronger.

Wilridge Winery is our 12th stop on our Washington Winery tour. It is the oldest, continuously operated winery in Seattle and delivers hand-crafted wines full of passion and hard work to consumers.

About the Winery:

Wilridge Winery is a small, family winery run in the European tradition. The winery was founded in 1988 by husband and wife duo, Paul Beveridge and Lysle Wilhelmi. Today Wilridge is the oldest, continuously operated winery in Seattle. From the beginning, Wilridge has focused on hand-crafted wines from select vineyard sites throughout Washington State. In 2007, Paul and Lysle planted an estate vineyard for Wilridge on Naches Heights near Yakima.

Originally, Wilridge wines were made in the cellar of Madrona Bistro, a restaurant run by Lysle. The wines were aged in French oak barrels that still line the walls of the cellar. With the closure of the Bistro in 1995, Paul and Lysle decided to expand the winery. They lifted the building and excavated a 1,500 square foot cellar. New equipment was purchased from Italy, where there is a long tradition of small, family-scale wine making. The first vintage from the new facility was produced in 1996.

Lysle and Paul retired in 2009. In 2010, Soni Dave and Henri Schock moved in and opened Bottlehouse – a wine bar focusing on Washington State wines, including Wilridge.

Since the beginning, Wilridge’s goal has been to find the best vineyard sites in Washington State and hand make wines that bring out the unique characteristics of each vineyard’s “terroir.” Each year, Wilridge wines highlight their vineyard source and the vintage. With the planting of its own vineyard in 2007, and release of the first estate wines in 2010, Wilridge is now able to fully express the character of its own unique vineyard “terroir” while also continuing to produce wines from other great wine growing regions of Washington State.

About the Winemaker:

Winemaker Paul Beveridge has been making Wilridge wines for over twenty years. Right from the beginning, Paul has focused on wines that reflect the “terroir” of their vineyard sites rather than current fashion or the latest winemaking innovations.  As such, his wines are more “European” in character than most new world wines.

He recently furthered his European philosophy of letting the grapes and the wines reflect their place of origin by planting his own vineyard on Naches Heights near Yakima where the vines are tended organically and biodynamically.

About the Vineyard:

Wilridge’s goal is to find the best vineyard sites in Washington State and hand make wines that bring out the unique characteristics of each vineyard’s “terroir”. This now includes the Wilridge Vineyard on Naches Heights, a place where Paul can carefully control the entire growing environment.

Wilridge works with winegrower’s who share their goal of seeking the best possible wines each vineyard can produce.  Every year Wilridge wines highlight the characteristics of the vineyard and the vintage.

Wilridge Vineyard

In 2007, after buying grapes from some of the best vineyards in the Northwest for over twenty years, Wilirdge planted its own estate vineyard on Naches Heights in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains West of Yakima.

Twelve acres of the 85 acre property are currently planted in a test block of 22 different vinifera wine grape varietals:

•    All five red Bordeaux varities
o    Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Petite Verdot
•    Both white Bordeaux varieties
o    Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc
•    The Rhone varieties
o    Syrah, Mourvedre and Viognier (white)
•    The Italian varietals
o    Barbera, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Pinot Grigio
•    The most noble of the Muscat grapes
o    White Muscat (also known as Muscat Canelli, Moscato, or Muscat de Petite Grains),
o    Four Portuguese Port varieties (Souzao, Tinta Cao, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo).

Wilridge’s Wine Portfolio:

•    Estate Melange Noir
•    Estate Melange Rouge
•    Estate Syrah Mourvedre
•    Estate Vintage Desert White
•    Estate Vintage Dessert Red
•    Estate Zweigelt
•    Maison Red (refillable)
•    Maison Seasonal (refillable)
•    Maison White (refillable)
•    Nebbiolo
•    Pinot Grigio
•    Red Mountain Melange
•    Viognier

Wilridge Winery

1416 34th Ave 

Seattle, WA 98122

(206) 325-3051

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    Theresa Dillon

    Theresa Dillon
    Theresa Dillon earned her bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU. In her spare time she enjoys reading, attending concerts, weekly trivia nights, watching movies (especially her favorite The Wizard of Oz), and of course wine.