Washington Wine Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Including an introduction to three Washington Wineries.

Small businesses are the heartbeat of your neighborhood, the spine of your local economy and the spirit of your town.

This year the Holiday shopping season looks a lot different due to restrictions around the world because of Covid-19 and this is causing many businesses, especially small business an excruciating amount of financial hardship. So today in celebration of Small Business Saturday, I encourage you to demonstrate how during these times we lift each other up, and that starts locally. Remember these local small businesses are also working to support the area where you live, work, and play. This holiday season give back to them and all that they have done for your community by Shopping Local, Eating Local, Spending Local, Enjoying Local. Let’s continue this trend for our local communities.

Since more of us are doing almost all of our holiday shopping online this year, many small business are offering new products as well as great gift boxes and baskets that highlight their community. So, in supporting Small Business Saturday, today I want to introduce three local Washington Wineries that have some wonderful Wine Gift ideas for that special someone on your gift list.

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Gård Vintners-Wines with unique characteristics of the land in each bottle.

Lisa and Josh Lawrence owners of Gård Vintners. (Photo supplied by Gård Vintners)

Each bottle of Gård Vintners Lawrence Estate Wines is 100% estate grown sustainably in the heart of Washington’s Royal Slope AVA with wine production in Walla Walla and tasting rooms in three locations, Woodinville, Walla Walla, and Ellensburg. Gård Vintners is a family owned and operated estate winery which was founded in 2006 by Josh and Lisa Lawrence, along with Josh’s Dad John Lawrence and Uncle Sandy Lawrence, who had farmed the Royal Slope for more than 40 years. Today Gård is owned and operated by Josh who oversees the vineyard and other farm operations, and Lisa who is in charge of sales and marketing. At the helm of Gård’s winemaking since 2011 is Aryn Morell who has a wonderful talent for showcasing the terrior and unique minerality found in the Royal Slope vineyards.

Gård means “farm” or “estate” in Scandinavian languages and is a tribute to our family farm and heritage. Our family has been farming the Royal Slope, now one of Washington state’s newest AVAs, for more than 55 years.” -Lisa Lawrence (Photo supplied by Gård Vintners)

Gård Vintners produces an impressive array of wines including a nice selection of red and white blends, as well as single varietals like Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling, to name a few. They also make a lovely Grenache Rosé and a members only Skål Sparkling Wine made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

This year Gård has some new wines that owner Lisa Lawrence was excited to tell me about.
“As an estate winery, we have several new and exciting wines coming into production this year from our estate, Lawrence Vineyards, including a new Mourvedre blend called Kvasir, our first Pinot Noir, and an Albariño, all new to our line-up. Also, just in time for the holidays, we will be featuring our brand-new Cab Collection in December, which is a series of Cabernet Sauvignon wines specific to our vineyard sites. This 2016 Collection is a 3-pack from our Corfu Crossing, Scarline and Laura Lee vineyard blocks in the newly designated Royal Slope AVA, and should be at our tasting rooms the second week of December.”

(Harvest 2020 Photo Supplied by Gård Vintners)

When asked how Gård has been navigating the difficulties caused by Covid-19 in regards to closures and social distancing regulations in the tasting room, Lisa shared, “We have a nimble team of passionate wine ambassadors here at Gård who adapt to the ever-changing restrictions related to social distancing and aim to serve our customers in the safest manner possible while still continuing to create a comfortable, welcoming environment. We are grateful for our fantastic fans and club members, who have consistently been loyal supporters throughout this crazy, unpredictable year.”

This holiday season Gård Vintners welcomes guests to sit outside on their heated patios at their Walla Walla and Woodinville tasting rooms, and they also provide pick-up and delivery from both, as well as the Ellensburg tasting room. For those who prefer to imbibe at home, they have created special holiday selections– plus recipes to pair with Gård wines – that can be picked-up at their tasting rooms or shipped to 30 states across the country.

“Wine is Earth’s answer to the sun.” – Margaret Fuller (A favorite quote from Gård Vintners)

Gård Vintners Gift Ideas

Gård Vintners has taken the guesswork out of finding the right wine to pair with your holiday meals with their Perfect Holiday Pairing 4-pack. This wonderful selection of Gård wines includes their 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Chardonnay, 2017 Vaucluse and 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Holiday Pairing pack sells for $126.

Notes from Gård Vintners:

“The 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is Fermented 100% in barrel and left on the lees for its entire life to maximize richness and mouthfeel. Bordeaux blanc in style this Sauvignon Blanc the extended lees contact adds light toasty notes to the incredible tropical fruit flavors with aromatic hints of fresh herbs.”

“The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.” -Pierre Corneille

Notes from Gård Vintners:

2017 Vaucluse : “A blend of 75% Syrah and 25% Grenache, the 2017 Vaucluse has a beautiful bouquet of blueberries, lavender, herbes de Provence and ground pepper”.

Still looking for more gift ideas? Gård will customize a beautiful holiday gift for your friends, family, employees or clients with variations in pricing to meet your holiday spending budget. Making it even easier they offer gift boxes, gift bags & other specialty packaging as well as written note cards & custom messaging. Along with their wines you can chose from a selection of Gård merchandise, such as tumblers, growlers, hats, shirts, glassware, blankets and more. There are also Gourmet Foods, Glassybaby votives Wine tools & accessories and Gift Cards available. Still not sure? Nothing beats a Club Membership to Gård Vintners and they have three Wine Clubs to choose from.

Looking toward the New Year, Lisa told me about a big anniversary coming up in 2021 and some new projects that they will be working on.
“In 2021, we are excited to commemorate the 15th anniversary since founding Gård Vintners, and hope that we can host a celebration in some manner if or when social distancing restrictions loosen up next year. As farmers with an estate winery, a new year always brings the hope and optimism of a new crop, which invigorates the team as we pull out of winter in 2
Also, as winter sets in for 2020/2021, we are excited at the opportunity to harvest an ice wine yet again. Each year we leave a portion of Riesling grapes on the vine, and tend to luck out with the right conditions to harvest grapes for ice wine roughly every other year or so. We always cross our fingers for low temps at this time of year in anticipation that ice wine might come to fruition!”

WIT Cellars- Wine, WIT and Wisdom

WIT Cellars owners Gina Adams-Royer, Flint Nelson and Caroline ‘Cat’ Warwick (Photo supplied by WIT Cellars)

It was just a little over 4 years ago that Flint Nelson, Caroline ‘Cat’ Warwick, and Gina Adams-Royer took a big leap and opened their own winery in Prosser, Washington. With several decades of collective winemaking experience, their passion for wine, Washington terrior wisdom and crafting skills blend together to produce some expressive and memorable wines. Why the name WIT Cellars? They wanted to name the winery something that was fun, easy to remember, and meaningful, so three letters came to mind, “WIT”, which means intelligent humor, and is an acronym for both “Whatever it Takes” and “We’re in Together”.

WIT Cellars’ October 2020 Harvest from Boushey Vineyard in Yakima Valley (Photo supplied by WIT Cellars)

WIT Cellar wines include a diverse line of Reds, Whites and Rose from varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, and Riesling. The WIT wines offer many styles of wine with the majority being more new world in style and fruit forward. These are wines that you can easily enjoy on a week night with take out or as the perfect companion to a festive holiday meal.

WIT Cellars Gift Ideas

WIT Cellars has Wine Gift Baskets starting at $100 and include a white and a red wine, two WIT Cellars wine glasses, a wine opener, and a package of delicious Washington Chukar Cherries Chocolate. Other accessories are also available for purchase to add to the basket, making it the ideal Washington Wine Gift for the Holidays. Visit WIT Cellars to learn more.

A couple of wine suggestions for a perfect WIT Cellars gift basket:

The Double Gold award winning 2016 WIT Cellars Petit Verdot is a 100% Petit Verdot with grapes harvested from Olsen Vineyards in Yakima Valley. Often used in a blend this Petit Verdot is a wonderful example of how this varietal can stand on its own and deliver an impressive long finish that you will remember long after the bottle is gone. Dark, rich with the aromas and flavors of dark berries and ripe black cherries, this Petit Verdot also delivers lovely nuances of violet, spice and some smoky tobacco notes. Intense and delicious!

2018 WIT Cellars Chardonnay: This Chardonnay comes from the Ancient Lakes AVA and Evergreen Vineyard where WIT sources their aromatic whites for exceptional quality. The vines struggle in this vineyards high elevation amongst silt loam on fractured caliche and basalt. Fermented in stainless, then transferring to neutral oak barrels this Chardonnay is aged for six months prior to bottling. Winemaker Notes: “Our Chardonnay is nearly colorless with clean bright aromas of citrus, peach, and pear. These aromas are layered through the silky mouthfeel with light notes of butter, starfruit, and wet stones.”

Each year WIT Cellars makes ornaments from their used corks which they sell and donate the proceeds to a local charity. This year WIT is donating to LifeWire, which help adults, children, and youth who have been impacted by domestic violence to build safer, healthier homes by offering support, resources, and professional services including survivor advocacy, mental health therapy, legal advocacy, shelter, and housing. A donation like this certainly helps since in 2020, LifeWire has seen an unprecedented increase in safety concerns for survivors due to the COVID-19 epidemic and the economic downturn. Survivors are struggling to meet their basic needs, and LifeWire has been experiencing a sharp increase in emergency requests for services. This ornament is available on their website.

Although WIT Cellars’ “We’re In-It Together” wine is only available to club members I wanted to share it with you. Here’s how WIT describes this wonderful Washington Red Blend.

“The feast of reason and flow of soul moved us to create this Red Blend with love in a historic time. The Wit’s End Red Blend is full bodied, with hints of sweet cherries, blueberries and brambles. These subtle fruit flavors integrate with flavors of dried herbs and cola in the mid-palate. It has a long pleasing finish, that will leave you at your Wit’s End, when the bottle has been enjoyed.”

Don’t forget that a WIT Cellars Wine Club Membership also makes a wonderful gift.

“When you’re at the end of your wits, there is no better way to end your day, than with a bottle of Wit’s End.” -Lisa Jellison, WIT Cellars Club Member

Orenda Winery-Small Town Winery Producing Big Washington Wines

“And what is it to work with love?… It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit… It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit… work is love made visible” – Kalil Gibran, The Prophet (A favorite quote from Samantha at Orenda Winery)

In October the Owners of Orenda Winery Samantha and Xander Kent shared the exciting news that they are expecting their first child. (Photo supplied by Orenda Winery).

In March of 2019 I shared the story of how Samantha and Xander pursued their dream of starting a winery here in the Snoqualmie Valley and at the time their wines were still resting in barrels waiting to be bottled. Since then Orenda has released 6 wines including a 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot and a red blend called Balance, also in the line up is a 2018 Syrah and a 2019 Fume Blanc. They also sell their own line of honey, which comes straight from hives behind the winery on the Orenda property. Along with producing some wonderfully unique wines, Orenda has created an inviting and relaxing environment for wine tasting on their beautiful property just outside of Carnation, WA.

Navigating their way through the pandemic this year has delivered some challenges for Orenda but they have a great deal of outdoor space and this summer it was filled with people tasting wine and social distancing in their gardens. Now that new restrictions are back in place and winter weather is unpredictable in the Snoqualmie Valley, service has switched from indoor tasting to more online promotions and sales along with local curbside pick-up.

Orenda has many new projects in the works including adding Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Malbec to their repertoire, (they are unsure if all of these 2018 wines will be released in 2021…) Also, in 2021 they will be bringing back their Riesling and adding a Pinot Grigio and off-dry Rose to the mix.

Photo supplied by Orenda Winery

When asked how Orenda Winery will be celebrating the holidays this year, Samantha shared, “We will be quiet these holidays, 2020 has brought a lot of change and we, like many in the community, are reflective of all that is going on.”

Orenda Winery Gift Ideas

Single Bottle Gift Basket ($60): These baskets are a lovely gift for holidays and includes a bottle of Orenda wine, engraved Orenda corkscrew, gourmet, gourmet shortbread scones, an amazing assortment of cookies and a 4oz. jar of delicious Orenda honey! You can also get a two bottle gift basket that includes similar items and sells for $100.

Visit Orenda’s Website to learn more about how to order the winelover on you shopping list this basket full of wine and treats.

A great wine selection for an Orenda Gift Basket would be their 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. For this Cabernet Sauvignon, Samantha and Xander teamed up with Woodinville winemaker Mark Bosso. This joint effort earned this wine a double gold medal at the Great Northwest Wine Competition in the Fall of 2019. Fruit for the 2017 vintage was harvested from the Royal Slope AVA in the Stillwater Creek Vineyard, and the wine spent 24 months in French oak. This Washington Cabernet is a rich and full bodied wine with bold tannins and displays an expressive textural layer of flavors . With flavors and aromas of ripe crushed blackberries, cassis, and dried mint this Cabernet is a wonderful winter sipping wine with the addition of a lovely note of chocolate on the palate.

Raw Orenda Honey in an old fashioned glass muth jar with cork stopper is also available to purchase online from Orenda Winery and is sold in 4 0z and 8 Oz jars.

Wine Club Memberships with Orenda are available in 6 and 12 bottle subscriptions and can be customized to mixed wines or red wines only. Memberships include 25% off all wine, First Choice of limited wines and access to exclusive events. Joining is free and you can cancel at anytime.

“You can’t buy happiness but you can buy local and that is kind of the same”. -Unknown

Finding the right gift for that special someone on your holiday shopping list can sometimes be difficult, but I hope that I have given you a few ideas with these Washington Wine Gift Ideas for the Holidays. Let’s continue to support small businesses any way that we can during this difficult time. Cheers Everyone and Happy Holidays!

Photos and all rights reserved ©Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.

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