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Washington Wine Month Stop #28: Four Lakes Chelan Winery

Our 28th stop on our Washington Winery tour fell in love with the Lake Chelan area as a boy. Once he grew up and knew what he wanted to do, Four Lakes Chelan Winery took form.

With a variety of award-winning wines to choose from, this is one great stop where you can enjoy a peaceful afternoon by the water.

About the Winery:

Thirty five years ago Don was stationed at a Boeing site up in the mountains seven miles from Morgan Hill, CA. The guys who had families back in Seattle would spend every weekend going to Napa, Sonoma, Russian River, Santa Cruz, and Lodi Valley and spent whole weekends touring and tasting different wines. Don was more interested in the ‘mom and pop’ wineries than the bigger wineries and he decided that’s what he’d like to do when he grew up.

As a boy, Don came to Chelan every summer with his family, His grandfather, Percy Goldsworthy, homesteaded in Omak and moved to Chelan at the turn of century. He was the superintendant for Chelan County school system and named the mascot for the school the ‘goats’. His wife had heart problems and they moved to Seattle when Bernice, Don’s mother, was 16.

“One thing I liked about Chelan was that my asthma went away. I loved the dry mountains and the deep cold clear waters. Our love for wine and Chelan was an easy marriage,” Don said.

Don and Karl collaborated back in 2001 and the Four Lakes Winery seed was planted. In 2004 they bought 63 acres in Manson where the tasting room is, and 10 acres on Howard Flats 6 miles east of Chelan where the winery is.  This is where Karl suddenly became a farmer with the flick of a pen. Taking down apple trees, names, and planting grapes the first year, they continued to add acreage for the next 5 years. They have planted 20 varietals so far, all of which have done great.

About the Winemaker:

For Karl Koester winemaking started out as a hobby. Until 1999, he owned his own contracting company and had an educational background in physics and chemistry. Now a successful winemaker at his family’s vineyard, Four Lakes Winery, he looks back at his first attempts at making his own wine and beer and finds joy in the fact that he decided to turn his hobby into a career.

Making the switch from contractor to winemaker wasn’t a difficult transition for Karl. Having owned his own company, he was familiar with the skills required for running crews, organizing projects, and building structures.

“I built the winery and tasting room with my dad and crew” Karl explains. “I have a background in physics and chemistry, and my crew and I planted and now manage all our vineyards.”

Karl has experienced a lot of trial and errors and obsessed over making a perfect wine throughout the years. As he steadily learned the craft of winemaking and vineyard management, he became an experienced winemaker.  He continually worked on bettering his craft through books, college courses, and advice from others.

Now Four Lakes Winery has found a niche with its big, bold red wines and light, crisp white wines. Starting with his 2004 vintage, Karl has been generating recognition and winning medals for his successful wine making work

Karl has been making beer and wines for 12 years now from all sorts of different fruits. Some turned out great, others turned out not so great, (like the Grapefruit and Lemon wine, not so good), and has 62 medals and two “best of class” to his credit so far.

Wine Tasting Notes:

White Wines

2007 Chardonnay

This un-oaked Chardonnay is a very light and crisp wine with a fragrance of citrus fruits and green apple.  Made dry in style, this wine is fresh on the palate with green apple and pear flavors with hints of grapefruit and lemon.

2008 Estate Grown Chardonnay

This “naked” Chardonnay is medium bodied with aromas of citrus fruits and buttery popcorn.  On the palate this wine erupts with ripe citrus flavors of grapefruit and pineapple along with green apple and pear with a smooth buttery finish.

2008 Estate Grown Viognier

Pronounced Vee’-oh-nyay, this wine has a little bit of everything.  This Viognier has the perception of being sweet, but is made in a dry style.  Exploding with aromas of apricot and floral notes.  This delicate and refreshing wine has flavors of soft apricot, perfumed peach, white flowers, and orange blossom with traces of lime and honey.

Red Wines

2007 Estate Grown Syrah

The lightest red wine we are pouring, this wine still holds it’s own.  This lighter version of the ’08 Syrah, it has aromas and flavors of smoke, blackberry, blueberry, tobacco, and spice.

2008 Estate Grown Syrah

Look out taste buds because you are in for a treat with this wine.  Blended with 5 percent Grenache, this Syrah is bursting with aromatics of black fruit, black pepper, and smokiness.  On the palate, this wine has a mouthful of flavors composed of blueberry, blackberry, tobacco, black pepper, smoke, and some slight earth tones all merging together for a superb smooth finish.

2008 Estate Grown Merlot

This Merlot will turn non believers into believers. It has recently won “Best of Class” from Indy International Wine Comp.  On the nose, this wine has red cherry, cinnamon, plum, oak, and, cocoa. On the palate, there is a combination of tart, red cherry, plum, cinnamon, hints of smoke and oak with a touch of baker’s chocolate on the finish.

2008 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

What kind of winery would Four Lakes be with out a Cabernet Sauvignon?  Great aromatics and flavors of red cherry, black currant, and cedar notes.  This wine also has traces of green olives and black pepper with undertones of spices such as carmel and vanilla.  This is the winemaker’s favorite wine!

2007 Estate Grown Trinity

An equal thirds blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.  This fantastic blend has aromas of cherry, plum, smoke, and spice.  Full and round on the palate, the wine is jumping with cherry, plum, blackberry, black currant, black pepper, and smokiness…all with a smooth finish.  Two years in new American oak.

2008 Estate Grown TNT

No room for the weak here as this wine is big and powerful.  This Bordeaux blend style wine consists of 35 percent Cabernet Franc, 25 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Merlot, and 15 percent Malbec.  This full bodied wine has bountiful aromas and flavors of red cherry, delectable plum, juicy blackberry, tart black currant, ripe boysenberry, and roasted pepper.

Four Lakes Chelan Winery

P.O. Box 1257

Chelan, WA. 98816


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