For a few years now, I have been selecting a winery that I believe deserves the distinction as my winery of the year. The criteria is simple, great wines that show quality, typicity and personality. I had never heard of Longship Cellars until Ashlee from Dickerson Distributing brought them to my attention. I can still remember the day she poured me a sample of the Ginger Man Syrah, and the first thing I thought of was Cote Rotie. I was simply blown away! Of course, this meant I had to check into the rest of their line-up and every wine I’ve tried from them has been impressive.

I called winemaker and owner of Longship Cellars Kyle Welch to give him the news and ask a couple questions to round out my article. Kyle said he was in the Navy based on Whidbey Island when he started to get into wine. He would buy bottles of wine and share them with his friends on the base. He said he started off liking mostly old world wines, especially the wines of Rioja in Spain. Certainly an explanation for the style of Syrah he produces. After the Navy, he enrolled at Boise State majoring in international business. He knew he would have a business someday, he just didn’t realize it would involve wine. Realizing his love for wine needed to be satisfied, he found out about WSU’s Viticultural and Enology program. He took off to Eastern Washington and enrolled. He said he loves Boise, but he knew that the wine scene in Washington State was on fire and he needed to be part of it.

In 2013, Kyle landed a job at Alexandria Nicole where he worked for three years, learning the ropes of winemaking. It was at his tenure there that he started producing wines for Longship Cellars. In 2016 he moved to the Tri-Cities and started working for D’s Wicked Cidery where he continued production of wines for Longship Cellars while working for the cidery. He and his wife Cassie, who also happens to be the general manager of the winery have found a space in Horn Rapids, Richland and will soon be moving production there. It is a family run winery with other members of the family pitching in. Both Kyle and Cassie want to keep it that way. They produce 2,500 cases a year and their goal is to reach 5,000 cases. I asked Kyle if he would like to do more than that eventually and he laughed and said that would mean hiring help, and he just doesn’t want to go there. They produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo, two red blends a Rose` and a Riesling. They will soon be releasing a Chardonnay which will lean more towards a California style. Kyle noted that lately he has been enjoying new world wines a lot more and wanted to produce a Chardonnay that reflected a new world style.

The labels on the Longship wines are quite distinctive, reflecting the Welch’s Scandinavian heritage. On their website, they say, ” Our symbol, the Viking Longship, boldly embodies our journey to produce some of the finest wines in the Pacific Northwest.” Well, I believe they are doing just that. If you haven’t had a chance to taste them, I encourage you to seek them out. They are distributed by Dickerson Distributing in Bellingham, or you can join their wine club here. I will be reviewing their wines on my YouTube channel soon so keep your eyes open for that. I will be uploading one on Christmas day and one Friday of that same week. Their Rose` made it in my “Top Forty Wines Under Twenty Bucks” in 2018. More would have made it on that list, but they roll in at twenty dollars or more. I believe the price of their wine is more than fair for the quality of juice you get in each bottle. I hope to interview Kyle some time in January for my YouTube channel as well. I am looking forward to future releases from Longhip Cellars. I know they have a bright future and I am absolutely positive you will fall in love with their wines as I have.

Stan The Wine Man

About Stan The Wine Man

I am a blue collar wine guy who has been in the biz for over twenty years. I work at a store in a tourist destination stop. I work hard at finding the best wine for the money. I love the challenge of learning my customer's palate so I can find the best wine for them, whether it is Petrus or white zinfandel. Cheers!
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