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2009 Fall News

Tasting room / winery construction update

We are extremely excited to report the progress on construction of the expanded and relocated Amavi Cellars Winery!!!   We struggled for some time as to how we could constantly upgrade the specialness of our Coin Club parties and of our tasting room atmosphere in general.  Not only did we run out of space at the current location, but we also realized that the most significant upgrade we could make to lift the quality of the Amavi Cellars experience was to relocate our winery out into the country closer to the estate vineyards that are the foundation of our great wines.  This was not an easy decision, given the economy’s recent troubles, but we strongly believe the times are getting better and that the relocation is in our customers’ and the winery’s best long-term interests.

The deck on the new tasting room will face East/Southeast.The new location is 3796 Pepper’s Bridge Road, on the route to Pepper Bridge Winery from downtown Walla Walla.  Our new barrel room is now complete, and we have begun foundation work on the new two-story tasting room and packaged- wine area.  In the new tasting room, we will have a larger area for entertaining so we no longer will need to crowd into the barrel room.  Most importantly, we promise you an absolutely stunning view from the hilltop vineyard-level tasting room, across alfalfa fields and Pepper Bridge Vineyard and all the way over to the Blue Mountains!

During the November Fall Release event, we will be tasting wine at our new facility, as well as at our old one.  At the new location only, we will be hosting breakfast for our Coin Club members on Saturday, November 7th and serving our new “Coin Club Member-Only” Ceres wine.

We will also be tasting at both locations during the December Holiday Barrel Tasting event… and serving Diana’s homemade beef stew.  (More details on both events are below).  Please come visit the new location and share our excitement!!!

Ray Goff, Managing Partner

New Releases: Great reviews & scores rolling in

We are happy to report that wine writers continue to praise us for our efforts.  As Sean Sullivan at the Washington Wine Report says, “[Amavi’s] trend of excellence and value continues with the 2007 vintage releases.”  Please check out this summary of recent acclaim:

2007 Syrah
•  “A prototypic example of the exceptional Syrah coming out of Walla Walla at a not-to-be-missed price. If you want to get a sense of what all the fuss is about regarding Washington Syrah, this is an excellent place to start.” (Washington Wine Report)

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
•  91 Points.  “It’s a gem. The aromas of fresh bread dough waft over dark plum and berry fruit.  Baking spices, dark chocolate, and a streak of coffee runs through it.  Cellar worthy.”  (Wine Enthusiast)
•  “A remarkable deal from one of Washington's outperforming labels.”  (San Francisco Chronicle)
•  “Spot on on the palate with rich, focused fruit that is uncommon in wines at this price.”  (Washington Wine Report)

2008 Sémillon
 •  92 Points.  Editor's Choice

 Note:  We also just released the 2007 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah.  It is amazing!  Aromas of dusty, ripe mixed berries and violets mingle with scents of grilled meats.   On the palate, hints of smoked game, sage and green olives top off luscious flavors of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.  This wine has a slightly briny characteristic and a long, lingering finish.  A powerful mouthfeel is cradled by gentle tannins.  Available to Coin Club members only.  To order, call  509-525-3541 .  To join the club, or simply get more details, click here or give us a call.

Last year's vintage was a huge hit!

2006 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah ($34, Coin Club only, sold out)
•  94 Points.  “Scents of dried meat and olive, reminiscent of St. Joseph in the Rhône, but its sweet mocha core of black raspberry, combined with a fine leafy bottom note places it squarely in Walla Walla.”  (Wine & Spirits)
•  90 Points.  “Bright and lively, with green olive and wet hay overtones to the dark berry and plum flavors, the finish lingering well against fine tannins.”  (Wine Spectator)

Harvest 2009:  What a wild ride!

Mother Nature is such a sport — she always keeps us guessing.  This year was no exception.  Summer was slow to start, but unfolded into a perfect growing season.  Generous amounts of sun ensured the grapes fully ripened, and refreshingly cool nights locked in the perfect amount of acidity.  By around the 10th of August, we started preparing to pick.  Then, everything started ripening at once! 

Winemaker Jean-François Pellet's cell phone was a necessity this harvest, as it seemed he always needed to be in at least two places at the same time. With close monitoring of the vineyards and many hours of overtime, he managed another great growing season.Our typical five-week harvest was condensed into three weeks.  We joked that Jean-François just needed to remove the doors from his truck, as he was always on the move, coming and going, checking on fruit, managing the production crew, and jumping out of his truck seemingly before it came to a complete stop. 

 Tasting Room Associate George Jameson took some time out of his busy schedule to help sort fruit with Arturo Enriquez and the rest of the production crew. As our production team was worked around the clock as never before, some of the administrative staff felt the need to put their projects on the backburner and help sort fruit.   We were exasperated at first, but this crunch time turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Cold weather decided to come about a month early this year, and we are thrilled all of our grapes were ripe and picked before the frost hit!  To sum it up, we had another stellar year in our 100% certified sustainable estate vineyards.

Upcoming Events

If you haven’t done so already, make some time in your schedule to visit Walla Walla this November or December.  We have two big weekends planned:  Fall Release (November 7 & 8) and Holiday Barrel Tasting (December 5 & 6).  Fall Release gives you a chance to taste and buy new releases all across the Walla Walla Valley.  Holiday Barrel Tasting gives you a chance to try next year’s offerings before they are bottled. 

We will be open at both our outgoing and new location:  635 North 13th Avenue and 3796 Pepper’s Bridge Road.

Fall Release:   Coin Club members, we have a special reception arranged for you on Saturday, November 7 at the new facility.  Please join us for coffee, pastries and barrel samples of a new, club-only wine named "Ceres"  from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.  We’ll give you a backstage tour of our construction progress before we open the doors to the public. RSVP required.

We'll be open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. To join the club, or simply get more details, click here.  

Holiday Barrel Tasting:  We will be serving Partner Diana Goff's famous beef stew from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until we run out) on Saturday only at the new location.  We will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.  Please stop by.  We'd love to see you.  We will also be open at  our outgoing location, so feel free to stop by if you are in the neighborhood.

In the spotlight:  Travis Goff

The Court of Master Sommeliers recently certified Partner Travis Goff as a sommelier.  She passed a rigorous three-part exam consisting of a blind tasting of two wines, champagne service, and theory.  Only 55% of applicants pass this test.

The Court of Master Sommeliers' mission is to encourage high standards of beverage knowledge and service in fine-dining establishments, and it provides the only internationally recognized wine credentials.  Travis was inspired to undertake the certification after attending TexSom, an annual two-day conference that features tastings and in-depth classes  taught by master sommeliers and other wine-industry leaders.   For more information, visit

Travis found the studying, the practice and the exam itself immensely challenging yet rewarding, with theory being the most difficult.  “There were fewer winemaking and viticulture questions than I expected, and many geography questions that I did know how to answer,” she says.  “It really motivated me to study even harder.  I highly recommend the Court to my colleagues as an avenue for deepening their wine knowledge, regardless of how far they want to go in the program.”  The Court consists of four levels:  Introduction, Certified, Advanced, and Master.  Travis passed the Certified level.  For information on the Court of Master Sommeliers, contact

Recent visitors

We were delighted to be bombarded with visitors during crush this year.  We cooperated with other wineries from across the state to provide educational seminars and entertainment for wine professionals from around the country.  During Walla Walla University (w2u) and Washington Road Trip, we had the opportunity to make new friends and show off our little corner of the world.