Washington’s newest winery opens its doors May 7 in the cradle of the state’s wine industry.
In many ways, Wit Cellars has come together remarkably fast — from an idea last summer to 1,300 cases of production last week.
But in other ways, the winery owned by Flint Nelson, Carolina “Cat” Warwick and Gina Adams-Royer has been a quarter-century in the making.
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Wit Cellars is at 2880 Lee Road, Suite A, not far from such wineries as Hogue Cellars, Alexandria Nicole Cellars and Mercer Estates.
All three of the Wit Cellars owners worked for nearby Kestrel Vintners for several years — Nelson was the head winemaker there for a dozen, and Warwick worked in various capacities for seven. Last summer and fall, they parted company with the winery, and it was just in time to buy some grapes and make some wine.
When Wit Cellars opens, the three will be pouring eight wines — a remarkable amount for a winery that didn’t exist until last fall’s harvest. And they have managed to get into some of Washington’s top vineyards, including Evergreen, Olsen, Elephant Mountain and Gamache.
The trio sees this entire odyssey as part of the good karma that flows through the genial Washington wine industry.
“In every aspect — from offering goods and supplies and money and space — it’s been remarkable,” Nelson told Great Northwest Wine. “Everyone has helped.”
Nine months ago, Nelson was at, well, wit’s end. He was burned out and wishing he wasn’t in the wine industry. Not good for someone who’s been at it for as long as he has. But the journey of creating Wit Cellars and seeing how so many have surrounded the little winery has brought back his trademark smile.
“It’s completely come back,” he said. “It’s restored my faith in the wine industry. I have to admit, I was feeling a bit down on the whole thing and wishing I’d made a different career choice. But everything that’s happened in the last six months has made me really proud and happy to be where I’m at again.”
When they open, their Wit Cellars wines will include: Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, a Rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon and a red blend. They’ll also be releasing, under Nelson’s separate Mazzacano Cellars label, a Grenache and another red blend.
Prices will range from $17 to $40.
Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company; www.greatnorthwestwine.com