Olympic Cellars has a 30+ year heritage of winemaking which began with our founder Gene Neuharth. The winery originated in 1979 as "Neuharth Winery," one of the first 15 wineries in WA State, and the first to locate on the Olympic Peninsula. It was initially located in an old dairy barn in Sequim, WA. But a highway bypass around Sequim and through the old winery required a move to our "new old dairy barn" in Port Angeles.
Olympic Cellars has been a full production winery — grapes crushed, wine aged and bottling at the winery. In 2009 with the departure of Benoit in August we did our first crush at Artifex, a custom crush, state-of-the-art facility in Walla Walla. I can tell you I went through "havest withdrawal" not shoveling tons of grapes, sweating with hours of punchdown and then helping out with the press and finally putting the wine in barrels for a long winter’s nap.
2010 Harvest… is under discussion. We may be back at the winery or one more year in Walla Walla. Some things don’t change though…
- Virginie visits the vineyards regulary from the time of bud break to harvest
- We still have our grapes hand-picked at the peak of ripeness, in the cool morning hours so sugars and acids are not compromised.
- Our vineyards have been picked over the years based on the terroir and the varietals planted… matching land to grape. Wine starts with the grapes and there can be no compromise
- Oak barrels is our aging vessel of choice… choosing the right oak is critical so the fruit is the first thing you taste with oak helping round out the complexity
- Winemaking is where science and artistry meet… testing the wine and tasting the wine routinely is critical. I also think there is a bit of magic too.
Our wines highlight the fruit that reflects our state’s terroir (the sum of all conditions that affect a vineyard – soil, slope, climate, elevation, etc…. and contribute to a wine’s personality). Soft tannins make them easy to sip, and oak aging provides for a smooth, long finish. They are made to be savored with friends and family and compliment the table.
We have grown from around 1000 cases to 3500 cases. Currently, we produce 3 different labels, Our award-winning Working Girl series (Working Girl White; Go Girl Red; Handyman Red) are blends designed to be distinct, yet affordable..
Our premium Olympic Cellars Label line includes five varietal wines produced in small quantities – we make only 150 to 200 cases of each varietal each year. La Dolce Vida wines, as the name implies, are intended to be shared during those special occasions when we take time to reflect of the fruits of our labors and share the good life.
Dungeness Series, our heritage and artist series label, was first made in 1980. Dungeness White is a 100% Riesling, Dungeness Red Lemberger and Dungeness Rose.. new in July 2011