Spotlight On: Stephenson Cellars

By Kori ~ January 26th, 2009.

20090126_stephenson1Stephenson Cellars, founded in 2001 by owner/winemaker Dave Stephenson, is a small winery located in the Walla Walla airport complex in Walla Walla, Washington. Dave Stephenson moved to Walla Walla in 1999 and began his career in the wine industry. Studying enology and viticulture textbooks and working at other wineries in Walla Walla prepared him to go out on his own with Stephenson Cellars just two short years later. In 2003, he began consulting for other wineries as well. In addition to the 1,200 cases per year he produces under his own Stephenson Cellars label, Dave is also the winemaker for Otis Kenyon.

While Stephenson Cellars currently produces five wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Red Wine, and Viognier), Syrah is Dave Stephenson’s specialty. The 2005 Stephenson Cellars Syrah has done remarkably well in two of our blind tastings (see my August 8th post and August 20th post). Recently, the 2006 Stephenson Cellars Syrah was listed as one of the Top 10 Washington Red Wines of the Year (2008) in the Compass Wines newsletter. Dave Stephenson has also produced a single vineyard Syrah, the 2006 Stephenson Cellars Syrah Patina Vineyard, which is offered as a Paul Gregutt Selection through McCarthy & Schiering Wine Merchants in Seattle.

20090126_stephenson2Last spring, Mom (LaGayle) and Dad (John) discovered Stephenson Cellars when they visited Walla Walla on their cross-country road trip. In addition to our blind tastings, we also had their wines at a tasting at Pete’s Wine Shop in Bellevue. We continue to be impressed with the overall quality of Stephenson Cellars wines. And, most importantly in today’s economy, Stephenson wines give you the most bang for your buck with QPR ratings of 4 or 5, depending on the varietal.

If you are in the Walla Walla area, Stephenson Cellars is a winery that you should definitely visit. They are open 11am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday or by appointment. It won’t be the most memorable visit in terms of a fancy tasting room or a gorgeous view from the patio, but I suspect that you will find it memorable for the quality of wines that you are served. And even if you aren’t able to visit, be sure to try some Stephenson wines.

(Photos from Stephenson Cellars)

Filed under: American Wine, Spotlight On, Washington State Wine

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