New Winery Planned in Walla Walla

May 19, 1999
A new winery is going up in Walla Walla, Wash., a wheat-farming region in the eastern part of the state that is also a hot wine-growing region. Walla Walla Wines LLC, co-founded by Duane Wollmuth, is developing a 16-acre site for Three Rivers Winery, which will make Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, Merlot and Syrah.

Wollmuth and his co-founders, Steve Ahler and Bud Stocking, are relatively new to the wine business. Although Wollmuth purchased Biscuit Ridge Vineyards in Washington last year, both he and Stocking worked for Cellular One until recently. Ahler, who just completed planting 10 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vineyards around his house, has been involved in independent business projects. The three hired Charles Hoppes, former winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle's Canoe Ridge Vineyard, to supervise the entire winemaking process.

"It's nice to be here from the start because I can look at basic winery developing factors and try to integrate that into producing ultra-premium wines," Hoppes said. "Walla Walla has become a center for wine in Washington because everybody stands for really high-quality wine."

Three Rivers Winery is scheduled to be fully operational for the 2000 harvest, according to Wollmuth, who anticipates that production will reach 15,000 cases by the following year.

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  • November 15, 1998
    Team Walla Walla

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