Trio Vintners: One of the Walla Walla Incubator Wineries

By Kori ~ March 15th, 2010.

One of the Walla Walla, Washington, incubator wineries, Trio Vintners is located in one of the five almost identical buildings built by the Port of Walla Walla near the regional airport. The incubator concept was developed with the entrepreneurial spirit in mind. Each incubator winery must be brand new to lease space and at the end of a six year lease, they must move out to make room for another new winery.

The trio of winemakers responsible for Trio Vintners, Steve Michener, Denise Slattery, and Tim Boushey, all cut their winemaking teeth at the Institute for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College. Husband and wife Steve Michener and Denise Slattery moved to Walla Walla with their two young boys to pursue their winemaking dream. Steve is a Registered Nurse, and Denise has a freelance marketing strategy and writing services business. While studying at the Institute for Enology and Viticulture, they met Tim Boushey who continues to work as a sales engineer by day.

All three of the Trio partners contribute to the whole winemaking process, from spending time in the vineyards to helping sell the final products. Steve, Denise, and Tim feature the Wallula Gap, a prominent geographical formation in the region, on some of their labels as a nod to the “sense of place” they feel in Eastern Washington.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste two of their wines in a samples tasting, the 2007 Trio Tempranillo and the 2007 Trio The Riot Red Wine. As I’ve mentioned before, Tempranillo is really starting to show some promise in the State of Washington, so we were thrilled to discover another excellent example of this emerging varietal. Credit goes to Steve and Denise’s sons for the name of their red blend, who pointed out that the letters in “Trio” mixed up spelled “riot”. A somewhat unusual blend of Sangiovese, Syrah, and Mourvedre, The Riot is a very good wine. And best of all, both wines deliver good bang for your buck. I encourage you to give either of these wines a try if you have the chance.

2007 Trio Vintners Tempranillo (Les Collines Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley, Washington): 83% Tempranillo, 9% Carmenere, 8% Sangiovese. Deep red in color and very aromatic. Cinnamon and vanilla come through on the nose; black cherry, spice, and coffee on the palate. Medium-bodied and lively with medium tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $28; Available elsewhere, $26 to $28

2007 Trio Vintners The Riot Red Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 52% Sangiovese, 36% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre. Deep ruby red in color. Aromas of popcorn and licorice lead to flavors of cherry, blueberry, and a hint of smoke. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $18; Available elsewhere, $18

Filed under: American Wine, Red Wine, Tempranillo, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. @nectarwine | March 15th, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Awesome people at Trio. Its fun to taste something other than a traditional Syrah, Merlot and Cab out of Walla Walla. Thanks for the review and the information


  2. Phil Anderson | March 15th, 2010 at 1:19 pm


    We visited Trio Vintners in mid November last year and were very impressed. We purchased the Tempranillo as well as their Carmenere, another rising star in wine. We met Tim and were very impressed with him as well. I love the concept of the incubator philosophy. What a progressive idea! I wrote just a small bit on Trio Vintners on January 20th of this year ( should you want to read it.

    Nice column and continued success in your wine endeavors!

  3. Kori | March 15th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I agree. Always fun to taste some non-traditional wines.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your visit to Trio. I haven’t tried their Carmenere yet. I’ll have to add it to my list.


  4. Denise Slattery | March 20th, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Hello Wine Peeps! Thank you for taking time to try these wines and give us your unique perspective. I thought I would add that the Sangiovese we used for blending in the ’07 RIOT is from Dick Boushey’s vineyard and it is of the Brunello clone – thus providing a deeper and more intense contribution of flavor and color. FYI, we reserved wine from that lot for the 2007 Sangiovese Riserva that we will release this Spring. Thanks again and I appreciate your writing – Cheers, Denise

  5. Kori | April 1st, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing the additional information about your wines. I look forward to trying your Sangiovese Riserva. Keep up the good work. Cheers!