Walla Walla Wineries : Charles Smith Wines
Owner Charles Smith’s “Modernist Project,” creating high volume wines that can be sold at lower prices and consumed immediately after purchase, has taken off in a major way, both in Washington and around the United States. Charles Smith wines are so well distributed that they were even spotted at the newest hip restaurant in Copenhagen, Tony’s. Bold, black & white labels with names like Eve, Kung Fu, and Boom! Boom! showcase the eccentric personality of the company’s namesake, a former band manager in Scandinavia turned Walla Walla winemaker. Opened in April 2011, the new tasting room is a perfect extension of the company’s young appeal. Sip wine from tumblers while taking in the urban, industrial feel of the place—sleet gray walls, cases of wine on display like art, and sleek, modernist décor. While the 2010 Velvet Devil Merlot leaves something wanting, the core portfolio’s whites would make for tasty table wines, and the K vintner’s reds (particularly the Viognier-infused Syrah known as The Beautiful) are unique, high quality products. Be sure to ask the staff plenty of questions—they’ll give you an honest look at the company’s development and the personality behind each wine.
Address: 35 South Spokane St.
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Phone #: (509) 526-5230
Tasting Fee: $5, refundable with purchase
Hours: Open daily
Varietals Available: Reisling, Chardonnay,
Viognier, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet
Sauvignon, and red blends.
Best Feature: The vibe. If you’re looking
for a departure from the traditional
winery scene, Charles Smith is
more rock ‘n’ roll than château.