Sunday concluded what’s billed as the trail’s summer passport series, in which visitors buy a “passport” to taste wines at six locations.
The wineries are Stottle Winery of Lacey, Medicine Creek Winery of Olympia, Northwest Mountain Winery of Lacey, Madsen Family Cellars of Lacey, Vina Salida and McCrea Cellars – both of which can be tried at the Olympia Tasting Room downtown – and Walter Dacon of Shelton.
The South Sound Wine Trail launched its seasonal weekend passport series last fall. It was held again in winter and this weekend, said Josh Stottlemyer, 36, co-owner of Stottle Winery, which he and wife Amy launched in April 2011. About 20 people visited the winery Friday evening, 70 on Saturday and 40 on Sunday, he said.
The Stottlemyers long had considered getting into the winery business, first attempting to buy an existing winery after Josh Stottlemyer had sold his web-design business.
That deal feel through, but by then it didn’t matter: He already was studying wine-making at school.
Like most Western Washington wineries, Stottle Winery buys its grapes from Eastern Washington, including Elerding Vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills, an area of the state between the Tri-Cities and the Columbia River, as well as from the Walla Walla and Yakima areas. The grapes are then brought to Lacey, where they are crushed, de-stemmed, fermented, bottled and sold in the tasting room, online and at merchants throughout the region.
Stottle Winery at 2641 Willamette Drive N.E. produces mostly reds; Josh Stottlemyer considers his two best wines to date to be a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2009 Malbec. The business is growing about 15 percent a month and has plans to open a tasting room in Hoodsport and West Seattle, near Alki Beach.
The wines have been critically well-received, receiving double golds, golds and bronze awards from the Seattle Wine Awards, an annual competition, he said.
Terry Krause of Yelm, a wine enthusiast who has traveled throughout the state and to Europe to try wine, stopped by Stottle Winery for the first time Sunday. He has visited most of the wineries on the trail, he said.
“This was the find,” Krause said about Stottle Winery. He tasted the wine, then bought a case to take home. Krause said his favorite wine/meal combination is a steak with a good big red.
“Washington is as good or better than California,” he said about the state as a wine-producing region.