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Brian Carter Cellars
 
April 23, 2021 | Brian Carter Cellars

Real Men Drink Pink!

Spring has sprung in Western Washington. And what a perfect time to drink pink as Brian Carter Cellars celebrates the release of the first wine from the 2020 vintage, our Abracadabra Rosé.  This delicious Sangiovese-based blend is the perfect complement to sunshine, friends, and spring cuisine from salads to salmon.

Gone are the days of Grandma’s sweet rosé, welcome a new era of European dry-style rosé. Ours is a high acid, almost bone-dry version with mouth-filling flavors and a stunning electric pink color guaranteed to rock every day into bliss.  As I often say, “Open a bottle of Abracadabra Rosé and, I guarantee that the sun will come out…Well, eventually it will!”

Just a few notes on how rosé wine is made. There are three basic techniques: 

  1. Pick and press reds with or without skin contact.
  2. Saignée of crushed red grapes.
  3. Adding red wine to otherwise pale pink or white wine. 

The first technique, is the most traditional and the most common which allows you to pick the grapes at ideal ripeness for rosé.

After picking, the grapes are either crushed or go directly to press. If you want to extract the most color from otherwise low color grapes, the crushed grapes can be allowed to sit in contact with the juice for up to 24 hours before pressing. This is the primary technique used at Brian Carter Cellars although we have so much color in the Sangiovese we use, we put the grapes into the press whole cluster with no crushing and no skin contact. This gives us a lower astringency and a less aggressive finish to the wine.

The second technique, called saignée (French for bleed) is also used at Brian Carter Cellars, although it only accounts for about 25% of the final wine. This is where we take larger berried varieties harvested for a red wine such as Sangiovese, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, and after crushing we ‘bleed’ a percentage of the juice off the skins to give a higher ratio of skins to juice. The saignée process gives us red wines left in the tank with a darker color and more extract and at the same time gives us some rosé material that has extra body when added to the ‘pick and press’ derived juice.  To further enhance the final wine, we generally ferment the saignée in neutral barrels on the lees where we get added mouthfeel to the final blend.

The third technique for making rosé where a small percentage of red wine is added to white wine is the most common method used in Champagne in the production of sparkling rosé.  While this technique is sometimes used in this country, it is not as common for making high-quality rosé.

A final comment on two common rosé wine myths:

1) Rosé should only be consumed in the spring and summer

2) Rosé should always be drunk within a year of their release.

At least for me and many of my friends, drinking rosé is something we do all year long.  It is just too good not to.  Also, depending on the wine and the food being paired with it, the wine can evolve into something more complex and more serious with time, which is why I stow away a bottle or two to drink a year or more after release.

Drink Pink My Friends!

Brian Carter, Winemaker

Brian Carter Cellars
 
April 5, 2021 | Brian Carter Cellars

Brian Carter Cellars and Sustainability

We at Brian Carter Cellars believe in making and selling wine in the most earth friendly way. Sometimes this means making wine by hand using humans instead of machines. That is why 100% of the grapes we use are hand harvested. Once delivered to the winery the grapes are hand sorted before fermentation. All of the red fermentations use hand punch downs in small fermenters instead of pump overs in large tanks. 

Sometimes it means minimal intervention during winemaking such as using native fermentations instead of inoculated yeast. We also believe in using oak barrels not added oak extracts. While we do use sulfur dioxide in order to avoid oxidation and microbial spoilage, we monitor the levels carefully never adding more than is necessary.

This type of minimal intervention is also used by my growers in the form of Integrated Pest Management or IPM. IPM means carefully monitoring pests or disease and only using pesticides when really necessary to preserve the crop. The growers I work with realize that when you spray pesticides it not only kills the undesirable pests but often kills their predators and the predators of other potential pests as well. Once you apply pesticides there is often an explosion of bad bugs down the road that leads to more and more pesticide use. My growers realize that the vineyard is an ecosystem that, when well maintained, works with minimal intervention.  Using IPM means being out in the vineyard more, paying attention to what is happening and mostly doing nothing else.  This results in a healthy balanced vineyard.

Brian Carter Cellars believes in sustainability both in the winery and in the vineyard.  I believe that the best earth friendly programs are under the ‘sustainability’ moniker because sustainability takes into account all aspects of the environment including the health of the vines, the other organisms living in and near the vineyard, the air, the water, the people and even the business itself. Unless you pay attention to all of these, any of them can bring the process of growing, making, and selling great wine to a halt.

Unfortunately, while programs exist in other states, up to now there has not been a sustainable certification program here in Washington.  I am, in fact, on the Sustainability Committee of the Washington State Foundation, a charitable organization supporting the industry through many ways, including scholarships.  One of our long-term missions has been promoting the sustainability of the industry. The Sustainability Committee was formed to help bring a Certified Sustainability program to our state.   The good news is due to hard work of many industry members we are almost there! In fact, in 2021 the first vineyards in the state will be entering the pilot program and by 2022 we should have grapes harvested that are fully certified. Brian Carter Cellars is committed to having all of its vineyard sources certified in the next 5 years. This will be a game changer. Expect to see our labels with a “Washington State Certified Sustainable” emblem prominently displayed in the not-too-distant future.

In the meantime, enjoy Brian Carter Cellars wines knowing we are doing our part to keep the planet safe and of course, the wines delicious.

Brian Carter

Brian Carter Cellars
 
March 29, 2021 | Brian Carter Cellars

Brian Carter wins 2020 Grand Vin Award

The Washington Winegrowers Association has honored longtime Washington winemaker, Brian Carter with the 2020 Grand Vin Award.  

Carter was presented with this prestigious award by Robert Takahashi, Brian Carter Cellars second in command, for the impact and contributions he has made to the Washington wine industry during the past 41 years.  Linn Scott, Chairman of the Wine Research Advisory Committee, Mark Wheeler MD, former Chairman of the Washington Wine Industry Foundation and Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling, Director of Viticulture & Enology Program at WSU came to Woodinville to surprise Carter at his winery with the honor. 

Henick-Kling noted that “Carter has been involved in research, education and has set the example for so many winemakers in the state.”  Grape grower Dr. Mark Wheeler said of Carter “the three words that best define Carter’s career are artistry, generosity and friendship.”

Brian serves on the Wine Research Advisory Committee where for over 30 years he has helped steer the research programs at WSU and is also a current board member of the Washington Wine Industry Foundation where he serves on the Sustainability Committee.

He is also a long-standing member of the Foundation Block Advisory Committee which has the essential role of keeping the states vines clean from disease.  Perhaps most significant, he has been involved in the winemaking at dozens of Washington Wineries over his long tenure in the state.

In addition to twice named Winemaker of the Year by Washington Magazine, three-time winner of the Grand Prize at the Seattle Enological Society, and Winery of the year in 2015 by Wine Press Northwest, Brian is most proud of what he feels are individual awards that center on how he has personally contributed to the industry, in addition to the Grand Vin Award:

  • 2007 Honored Vintner at the Washington State Auction of Washington Wines
  • 2004 Industry Service Award given by the Washington Wine Grape Growers
  • 1996 Alec Bayless Prize awarded by the Washington Wine Commission

“I am deeply honored to be chosen by my peers in the Washington Wine Industry for this prestigious prize. I continue to believe in giving back to an industry who has given so much to me. It has been so rewarding to see the Washington Wine Industry grow from what was once a backwater to a big player in the world of wine.”

The Washington Winegrowers Association serves as the synergistic leader and unifying voice – through advocacy and education – for growers, vintners, partners, and policymakers.

 

Time Posted: Mar 29, 2021 at 9:00 AM
Rick Montgomery
 
March 1, 2021 | Rick Montgomery

A Trip To Italy

Few places in the world capture the global imagination of travel more than the central Italian province of Tuscany.

A trip to Italy – especially if it’s a first one – is not complete without a visit to the great city of Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and the breathtaking hill towns that dot the rolling countryside all the way south to Tuscany’s other great city of Siena. 

When it comes to wine, everything is held together in Tuscany by the great indigenous grape of Sangiovese. For hundreds of years the ancient blend of Chianti was the law of the land until a powerful Tuscan count named Antinori went against the tide to import and grow French grapes. The new blend of Sangiovese with Bordeaux varietals, became known as “Super Tuscan.”

Having become a fan of Super Tuscans during my 13 years in Italy, I was both relieved and amazed to discover that Brian Carter’s Tuttorosso perfectly captures the essence of Super Tuscan wine at a price point that is unbeatable. I love that Brian, like Count Antinori before him, also broke from tradition by adding the Southern Rhone grape of Syrah to the mix! 

Brian has also made a 100% Sangiovese for his “One” series of wine. His spectacular 2015 Sangiovese transports me directly to Tuscany every time I taste it. 

Even though it might be too soon to travel, it’s never too soon to plan a trip! I recommend flying into Florence and traveling one way south to Rome. It’s just 2.5 hours on the main highway between these two great cities so what I love to do is book an Airbnb or Vrbo in the middle of it all, perhaps somewhere near Montepulciano, and then take “hub and spoke” trips all over the place. 

You can buy olive oil where Pavarotti bought it on Lake Trasimeno, climb the towers of San Gimignano and taste the way Sangiovese took to the different soils of this volcanic landscape, including the Nobile di Montepulciano or the Brunello di Montalcino.

For those of you who want to travel off the path, be sure to make your way to lesser traveled Northeast Tuscany where you can visit Saint Francis’s hallowed “La Verna” and pop into the very house where Michelangelo was born.

For more wine travel ideas, email me at rick@briancartercellars.com

Buon viaggio!

 

Rick Montgomery

General Manager at Brian Carter Cellars Tasting Room and Wine Bar

On the New Vancouver Waterfront

660 Waterfront Way

Vancouver, WA. 98660

 

Time Posted: Mar 1, 2021 at 10:35 AM
Brian Carter Cellars
 
February 3, 2021 | Brian Carter Cellars

Brian Carter Cellars Tasting Room Update

 

Dear Wine Club members and friends,

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support during these unprecedented times.

Throughout the past months we have been closely monitoring the coronavirus COVID-19 developments and following guidance from the CDC, as well as state and local officials, as we keep the well-being of our guests and staff as our top priority.

We remain committed to provide you with a safe and memorable experience when you visit Brian Carter Cellars Tasting Rooms.

Our current health and safety practices include the required use of protective masks for all staff members and guest unless they are seated.  To maximize social distancing within our patio tent, we are offering limited outdoor service at 25% capacity by reservation only. At this moment, we are unable to accommodate guests under 21 and pets.

We have also strengthened our cleanliness and hygiene practices including more frequent, longer hand washing, as well as cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and items in our tasting room.

While the State of Washington is now allowing us to open indoors at 25% capacity, we have, out of an abundance of caution, made the decision to remain open outdoors only at least through the month of February. We feel this is the best policy for the safety of our customers and staff, and we will review the situation again on March 1 to decide at that point on how to proceed.

We employ these measures to ensure you can enjoy the best wine tasting experience when visiting us while also offering a safe workplace for our staff.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.

While we have enjoyed seeing some of you on our outdoor patio during the past months, we look forward to welcoming all our members and friends for indoors service in the near future.  Meanwhile, be safe, and stay well. For daily updates please reach us at info@briancartercellars.com

Cheers!

The Brian Carter Cellars team

 

 

 

Brian Carter Cellars
 
January 15, 2021 | Brian Carter Cellars

Geez, what are Lees?

November,  and December and January, while a bit more relaxed than the previous two months of harvest, are pretty busy in the wine cellar. In particular, we perform the first racking of our red barrels.

While rack or racking is a common winemaking technique, what is it? In simple terms it is pulling the ‘clean’ or less turbid wine off the top of the barrel while leaving the lees behind. This of course begs the question: Geez, what (in the heck) are lees?

This starts me off on a longish description of the advantages and disadvantages of those murky fluids that collect on the bottom of tanks, barrels and even bottles of wine that have undergone fermentations. In general lees are the inevitable compacted ‘sludge’ that we eventually need to get rid of if we are going to give you a clear wine. We can look at lees as our best friend or our worst enemy depending on the winemaker, the style of wine he or she is trying to make and the stage of the wine. 

In fact, when I was at winemaking school in Davis, California, we were taught that lees were evil and that the sooner you could get the wine off the lees the better the wine would be. Lees were full of material that at best would take away from the fruit of the wine and at worst encourage off aromas and ultimately spoilage. While this overly cautious philosophy was not totally incorrect, most winemakers have rejected this notion. In fact, lees can be a highly effective tool in making a wine more complex both on the aroma and the palate in many types of wine.

First of all, what are these lees? They are largely spent yeast cells that have completed the alcoholic fermentation. When all the natural sugar is used up, the lees fall to the bottom of the vessel and start to break down. Most of them are dead, but not all. In addition to spent yeast there will be spent malolactic bacteria in the lees in those wines that undergo a malolactic fermentation. Similarly, to the yeast once the malic acid has all been converted to lactic acid, they will fall to the bottom of the vessel. It is unlikely that they contribute as much to the organoleptic (aroma, flavor and mouthfeel) properties of the wine but their impact should not be ignored. The third major component of the lees is finely divided particulate matter that came from the grapes themselves. The quality and quantity of this material varies considerably depending on many factors including the condition of the grapes when they came in.

For instance, if they were frozen, there will be a lot more grape material in the lees. In general winemakers want to limit the amount of grape material in white and rosé wines, and therefore will settle and rack of the juice before fermentation.  However, many winemakers will talk about the benefits of taking some of the lighter lees when racking off the clear wine and leaving the heaviest material behind. A large amount of grape material in a wine that you are leaving for extended lees contact is generally considered undesirable, resulting in more off aromas and possibly harshness on the palate.

So, what are these lees good for? The practice of leaving the wine to age on lees can be broken down into several categories. Perhaps the most common is leaving white wines, especially Chardonnay, on the lees for extended aging. In France this is called aging “sur lie” (sir-lee) or literally “on the lees”. This practice is commonly combined with “Batonnage” (bat-on-naj) which literally means stirring with a baton; I have pictured our stainless-steel baton that we use to stir our barrels.

The combination of sur lie and Batonnage  is often called Burgundian winemaking because the technique apparently originated there and is very common when making barrel fermented Chardonnay in that region.

Today it is used around the world and with other varieties as well such as barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.  At Brian Carter Cellars we use it in particular with the Array Chardonnay, stirring the lees on a monthly basis from the time it completes fermentation until just before it is bottled. Normally this is done for about 9 months between November and July but in the case of Nina’s Reserve we extend the process for another year giving us a full 20 months on the lees. I also like giving a portion of the Oriana and Abracadabra rosé some barrel fermentation in neutral barrels followed by sur lie and batonnage, although in this case it is only for about 5 months. We also get some benefit from leaving the stainless-steel fermented portion of Oriana and rosé on the lees for a similar period.

Another common way that lees are used is in extended aging of sparkling wine in the bottle. An important part of the complex process of producing wines using the méthode champenoise is the aging of the wine on the lees prior to riddling and disgorgement. In Champagne, this aging is required to be at least 12 months for a non-vintage and 36 months for a vintage champagne. Some houses will age their wines for over a decade giving them the greatest impact of lees aging. During the aging process the bottles are typically shaken every 6 months to help in the breakdown process and to minimize the compaction of the lees.

The third way that lees can be used is in the production of red wines where, instead of racking the wine off the lees after malolactic fermentation, the wine is simply topped up with the addition of some sulfur dioxide. It could be left this way for months to years and either stirred or left unstirred. This practice is a bit more controversial amongst winemakers. While I have tried this technique, and have seen some benefits especially in mouth feel, it has also led to some less attractive wines. In particular the production of hydrogen sulfide is a significant risk.

So why bother? What do lees contribute to the wine? Here is where I need to be careful not to get into too much complex chemistry!  As the lees breakdown they contribute a variety of soluble compounds to the wine. The compounds are mostly derived from the cell walls of the yeast and can be broken down into the categories of polysaccharides (long chain sugars), amino acids (proteins) and mannoproteins which are a complex combination of both.

These compounds add weight to the palate of the wine as well as a complex array of aromas and flavors including yeasty (similar to bready), cheesy, toasty, nutty and floral.  In addition to the direct organoleptic influence of lees they can have other benefits including protecting the wine from oxidation, softening the harsher effects of oak or red wine tannins and reducing the need for fining agents such as bentonite due to increased stability in the wine.  One significant advantage often cited in the production of sparkling wine is the effect of the lees aging on the quality of the bubbles in the wine, making the mousse finer and more persistent.

Hopefully you learned something in the never-ending wine education. Something else to contemplate as you open that next bottle, smell, taste and enjoy!

Brian Carter, Winemaker, Brian Carter Cellars

Brian Carter Cellars
 
January 8, 2021 | Brian Carter Cellars

Brian Carter Cellars’ new Dedication Series Wine celebrates WA state with a different twist!


After successfully releasing 3 previous dedication wines celebrating a person that has had a significant impact on Brian’s life, Brian Carter Cellars presents the newest dedication wine: the 2017 Big Daddy, a Douro River-style blend from Yakima Valley. 

Big Daddy is a tribute to both Brian’s winemaking success over 40 vintages as well as the outstanding performance of Washington State during the past decades. During Brian’s expansive career, Washington state has grown from an almost unheard wine growing area, to an internationally recognized region with 16 AVAs and 60,000 acres planted.

The key grape varieties of the Duoro Valley are Touriga Nacional, Souzao, Tinta Cão & Tinta Roriz.  Fermenting these varieties to dryness with no fortification, Brian has  created a deeply satisfying Portuguese style wine, Big Daddy.

The Columbia Valley AVA lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains where irrigation with river water is a necessity. This region perfectly resembles the rugged area of Cima Corgo in the Duoro Valley where hot summers, cold winters and less rain are the norm. Brian chose Upland Vineyard from Yakima Valley to source all the grapes for Big Daddy.

On the nose, the wine presents itself with a generous floral bouquet and notes of ripe fruit, leading with abundant complex dark fruit on the palate. We recommend pairing it with marinated, grilled meats from chicken to pork and beef with some spice. Big Daddy also goes perfectly with deep chocolate brownies to end your entire feast.

Wondering about Big Daddy’s irreverent label? Per tradition, we trusted our venerable label designer, Stephen Black, to present us with a unique design that could depict the inspiration behind this wine, and he delivered as always. Although originally presented as a prank, the image of Brian as Big Daddy was agreed upon by our entire team.

Visit our tasting rooms located in Woodinville and Vancouver, or our website to get your bottle of Big Daddy today!

Brian Carter Cellars
 
December 9, 2020 | Brian Carter Cellars

Brian Carter shares the highlights of our 2020 Harvest

Time to take a deep breath (hard to do with this mask on), relax a bit and assess the harvest 2020. Harvest time is inspirational and exhausting all in one big two-month mind and body expanding package. 

Actually, it is hard to separate out exactly what harvest means; it always seems like the rest of the year is either a big lead up to harvest or dealing with the results of the harvest.

From inspecting the vineyards and working with growers to trying to make the best grapes possible, to cleaning the grape bins and tanks, to running analysis on the wines, racking, topping and finally bottling, it is one continuous cycle of winemaking that never seems to stop. Indeed, since we now have wines in the barrel from both 2019 and 2020 vintages (and even some 2018 Solesce and 2014 Opulento), multiple vintages are pulling the winemakers in many directions at a given time. OK, OK, let’s focus on what happened this year the grapes were coming in the door. 

We had a good one, no major hic-ups, no one was injured, no serious breakdowns in equipment, the crew was excellent and overall things went smoothly.  And, by the way, we made some really good wine!  Harvest started a little ahead of schedule with Syrah and Tempranillo from the warm site of Stone Tree coming off on the 3rd of September. That was well before Labor Day which was late this year on the 7th, so no extended summer vacations for the harvest team.

From there, grapes came in steadily until October 24th when the last of the Sangiovese was plucked from Solstice Vineyard, just as a big freeze was arriving in the state, pushing all the winemakers to finish up. Overall quantity was down, partly because we cut back a bit this year but also because the crop was smaller than normal.  In the end, we brought in 106 tons of grapes, just over half of which was for Brian Carter Cellars and the balance was used for our custom-crush clients.

Reducing the harvest down turned out to be a good policy, in part because we were not able to crush as large a quantity of grapes per day as we normally do. This is because we had to ‘social distance’ on the ‘JACK’ picking line. We used plastic screens to separate the crew which meant there just was not enough space to have as many personnel and, as a result we had to run more slowly and crush less tons per day.

Fortunately, there never seemed to be a big rush, things got ripe in an orderly fashion and I was able to keep on top of my trips to the vineyard, walking the rows, tasting the grapes, bringing back samples for analysis and making keen decisions on when to harvest. Overall conditions in the vineyard were pretty optimal this year, with very few really high temperatures that could have caused much sunburn or burned up acidity, but with plenty of heat units for the size of the crop, allowing everything to ripen up on schedule.

These more moderate temperatures optimized both fruit character in all the grapes and color in the red grapes. The resulting wines have plenty to offer. Some really good varietal characters, excellent balance, and dark colors in the reds. Of course, we are still assessing the quality, but the whites and the rosé wines are particularly exciting along with Tempranillo.

We started the first post-malolactic rackings at the begining of December, and we were done by the end of the year which it was a great head-start. Now will be time to start getting Oriana and Abracadabra Rosé ready for bottling. Then there is my favorite time of the year when I get to start blending the 2020 wines. The cycle continues…

Drink some great wines this season. Stay Safe.  Hope to see you soon.

Brian Carter Cellars
 
August 8, 2020 | Brian Carter Cellars

Don't Underestimate Blending, by Cameron Cohn

Now that I’ve been eased into the weekly routine and introduced to ins and outs of the wine industry, it was time for me to learn about blending. Brian Carter Cellars is the first winery in Washington fully dedicated to making blends. Luckily for me over the past few weeks, I got to both witness and partake in the blending process that has brought them so much success. Just a warning – a fair amount of what I’ve seen so far from Brian and Robert makes almost no sense at all, so bear with me.

First, I got to visually learn and begin to understand what exactly blending is. This past weekend, Brian and staff set up a blending seminar for their exclusive Club Savant. For this, I was only tech support, but that meant that I had a front row view of Brian presenting his blending techniques. For this seminar, he was demonstrating how to blend the wines Tuttorosso, Solesce, and Byzance. Prior to the call, he sent out samples of Cabernet, Sangiovese, and Syrah to each of the club members. Listening to him explain the process of blending and how to make a successful blend was in a way poetic. The topic of blending just rolls of his tongue, and it shows that Brian really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to this difficult artform.

Then, he would experiment with pouring different proportions of each grape into a glass. For example, Brian would combine three tablespoons of Sangiovese with 2 tablespoons and Cabernet and taste test. He wanted to see how much Cabernet could be used in the blend without overwhelming the fruity Sangiovese flavor. By comparing his sample with an all Sangiovese glass, he was able to achieve an accurate balance of the two grapes in order to create the right taste. When most would stop there, Brian went a step further and compared his sample to previous vintages to assess how close he is to recreating the beauty of an older wine, while at the same time creating a better version of it.

At the end, he opened a bottle of 2005 Tuttorosso to share with the staff and to show off the final product of a great blend. Now…I’m new to wine; my palate is not as experienced or knowledgeable as a regular wine enthusiast. But I can confidently say that is the first time I have truly been amazed by a bottle of wine. The smell of fresh fruit and the many different notes that grace your lips was beautiful, a perfect example of a brilliantly aged wine, and a testament to Brian’s knowledge of blending. The ceiling is endless for blends, but the process is very scientific and takes a lot of practice.

My second exposure to blending was a much more hands-on experience when I helped blend wine in the winery with Brian and Robert. For the majority of the time I was working, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. There were so many different types of grapes in various barrels, it made it difficult to keep track of what they were doing. On this day, we were racking and filling barrels of Solesce, Trentenaire and Le Coursier. Each barrel had a label with the type of  grape and the vineyard it was sourced from. The barrels would be racked into various tanks, then filled back up again.

In both a funny and frightening way, Brian told me that “for filling a barrel, all interns get one screw up.” Not surprisingly, I spilled three times, which honestly made me more mad than it did Brian. Initially, it seemed impossible to time the shut off exactly so no wine spilled over, even when I was giving 100% effort. Of course, then I look over at Robert filling the barrel perfectly every time while half asleep and talking about what’s for lunch. Things got even more complicated, we began racking some barrels for an exact amount of time, and some until they were empty. Partially racked barrels were used to achieve the exact ratio that Brian needs in his blend. I could go on and on, but the point is blending is such a complex process, and it's so crucial to be organized and understand the grapes and the measurements needed for each.

Let’s not forget about cleaning the barrels!! Given that this was my third time around, one would think that the splashing of hoses would dim down just a little bit. No, quite the opposite actually. I was splashed twice as much and came home soaked and feeling like a soggy prune.

Of the many lessons I’ve learned since my blending education began, the most prevalent is to not underestimate how intricate the process is, or how difficult it is to create an amazing final product. Blending takes practice, patience, and precision and takes a lot of time to master. Brian and Robert have been doing this for years and they have absolutely perfected their craft. They know the exact science behind combining grapes together in different proportions, and continue to set the bar for wine blends.

Brian Carter Cellars
 
July 14, 2020 | Brian Carter Cellars

At Long Last, Our Vancouver Location is OPEN!

VANCOUVER, WA - The Vancouver Waterfront added a new attraction on June 24th, when Brian Carter Cellars Tasting Room & Wine Bar opened its doors to the public. Currently in its soft opening phase, due largely to COVID-19 related restrictions, the Tasting Room has already garnered a following, including current and new wine club members.

 

With up-close views of the Columbia River, Brian Carter Cellars’ new venue joins fellow Washington wineries Airfield Estates, Maryhill, and others in their mission to reach folks where they live, work, and play.

Asked why Brian chose to expand, he said, “We are always looking for new ways to make our great wines more accessible to the public; opening a second tasting room is a great way to make that happen.” But why Vancouver specifically? “I looked at several possible locations in both Oregon and Washington. When I heard about the Waterfront project in Vancouver, I drove down there and immediately fell in love with the whole place. Beautiful river park, a nice collection of restaurants and wine tasting locations”

Originally slated to open in November 2019, the Brian Carter Cellars team, including a cadre of designers, architects, marketers, and Brian himself, ran into the typical challenges and delays that come with the territory of opening a new space, especially around the holidays. Then, enter a global pandemic and all of the confusion and shutdowns that came along with it. For nearly four months, the team was in a state of limbo. “Do we order tables and chairs now, or should we wait? Is it too early to create our menu? When should we start trying to create some hype?” These were but a few things that kept everyone on their toes.

Soon after Clark County entered Safe Start Phase 1, it became clearer that the Tasting Room would be able to open in some form or another. Exactly when was another story. But the team used that time to put in all of the finishing touches, including the “Brian Wall,” a familiar sight for those who have frequented Brian Carter Cellar’s flagship location in Woodinville.

At full capacity, the space can seat about 35 people inside, with outdoor seating available in the warmer months. Their wine list includes a rotating selection of Brian Carter Cellars classics. Their menu will feature house made soups, salads, flatbreads, and other small plates. In addition, Wine Club benefits will extend to the Vancouver tasting room, including special offers and the always popular release parties (when they’re allowed again). And just like Woodinville, you may see Brian floating around from time to time. “Sit and enjoy a glass of my wine, eat some fantastic food pairings, and look out at the evermoving Columbia River; we guarantee a good time at the new Waterfront location in Vancouver.”

Brian Carter Cellars Tasting Room & Wine Bar is open Tuesday – Sunday, 11:30-8:00pm, and is located at 660 Waterfront Way, Vancouver, WA 98660. Visit www.briancartercellars.com for more info, or contact us at vancouver@briancartercellars.com or (360) 216-1444.