Winemaker Interview

What is your goal as a winemaker?

To make one truly extraordinary red wine each year, recognized as among the very top tier of its type and style made in the United States.

How do you achieve your winemaking goals?

By finding unique vineyards and combining this fruit with the very best French Oak and blending multiple vintages. Hand crafting is key, along with cleanliness in the winery and the care that is taken every step of the way in handling the fruit and the wine.

What makes Ensemble wines different?

BLENDING THREE SUCCESSIVE VINTAGES. Taking only the very best results from three successive vintages and blending these different wines to achieve the beautifully balanced goal:
production of just one wine.

Craig working a wine press.

Where do you acquire grapes from to make your wine?

We use a combination of vineyards, from Walla Walla and elsewhere in Washington State. The vineyards chosen each year offer something special to the final blend and may be anywhere from 4th leaf to over 20 year old vines. Since our blend is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon based, we always crush more of it than other varietals.

What challenges have you faced being both winery owner and winemaker?

My previous experience with owning my own businesses has helped dealing with the many business and regulatory issues related to starting up a new winery. I have been able to remain focused on the winemaking side throughout the ‘03, ‘04, and now ‘05 vintages. Of course, it is much easier when you limit production to less than 500 cases a year!

What are your plans for the future?

To continue to search for that unique vineyard, that special cooper/fruit match, that BLEND of Bordeaux varietals from different vintages that will produce yet another release that is truly extraordinary.