Quench your thirst at the Beer & Wine Garden
with products from Washington Wine & Beverage Company
This year the festival committee traveled the world to fine a great wine and a few well-crafted micro brews to enjoy during the event. Well, maybe not the whole world, but they did make it to Woodinville Wine Country and the tasting room at Silver Lake Winery.
Owned by Washington Wine and Beverage Company, Silver Lake Winery was founded by Herbert Selipsky, William Ammons Sr. and Sal Leone, all members of an impromptu wine club. It was Leone who pushed his passion for making wine in his garage with his friends to the purchase of a company that was up for auction, Spire Mountain Draft Cider. They bought the company for its bottling line.
While looking for a place to set up, Leone met Ragnar Pettersson who owned the Per Business Park on the Bothell-Everett Hwy. Pettersson decided to help finance the start up. The year was 1987, and for two UW professors, a graduate student and a business park owner, the rest is history. Now distributed all over the U.S. and abroad, it still feels like family and friends at their home offices, located in Woodinville since 2000.
Mike Leone, son of one of the founders, could not have imagined that his dad and his friends would turn their hobby into the company it is today. “I left my job as an educator to become director of direct sales,” he said. “Who would have thought that what started as a hobby would end up being the largest consumer-owned winery in the state.”
Mike joined his sister, Karen Ward, who has worked for the company for 12 years making it truly a family endeavor. When asked about what she thought of their success, she said, “My dad always says, ‘you plan your life, but accidents control them.’”
Washington Wine & Beverage, can boast more than 1,200 shareholders. It produces more than 40,000 cases a year. Silver Lake’s tasting rooms can be found in Woodinville and Zillah.
Today, its wine maker, Bill Ammon serves as general manager and head wine maker at Silver Lake Winery, where his skills have been recognized within the industry. Many Silver Lake wines have become award winners. Like Mike and Karen, Bill’s dad was also a founding partner.
Washington Wine & Beverage also distributes Girly Girl Wines, Glen Fiona, Brown Bag and Brown Box Wines, and Orca Wines. In addition, they produce beers through a company where they own the majority interest headquartered in Olympia. Along with the labels pictured, it produces a high end ale, Double IPA Hodgy, which is available at its brew pubs in Olympia and the Fish Tale Brewpub in Everett. The Everett location was opened last August and is across from Comcast Arena, on the corner of Hewitt and Broadway.
Washington Wine & Beverage believes in giving back to the community where the founders raised their families. They have been very generous with their support of the Mill Creek Festival Beer & Wine Garden, the proceeds of which go to benefit the Mill Creek Business Association’s scholarship program. Visitors not only enjoy the cool pleasures of delicious wine or a stout beer, they also are supporting education in the community.
Featured beverages include the following.
2011 Roza Riesling
The newest vintage to be released and a great sipping wine on a summer afternoon, Silver Lake Winery describes this vintage as having creamy scents of clover and honey. “On the palate sweet honey and candied pineapple flavors are forward and lush, while accents of orange marmalade add a touch of spice, lending complexity to the sweet and almost sugary core.”
Roza Hills Vineyards, where the grapes are grown for this wine is one of the oldest and largest vineyards in the Rattlesnake Hills. Roza Hills has 705 acres located adjacent to the Silver Lake Winery in Zillah.
2008 Roza Red Blend
This is Silver Lake Winery’s best-selling Cabernet-Merlot. Considered a very approachable wine, the wine maker describes it as “easy to drink with the juicy flavors of pomegranate, blackberries and a hint of vanilla.”
Fish Tale Beers
All beers are handcrafted from a 40-barrel brew house, and all are award winning. Fish Tale Organic Ales spring purely from certified organic malted barley and hops. The folks at Washington Beverage describe them as “robustly delightful ales that salute organic farming and all of the benefits it brings to our table.”
Leavenworth Premium Lager
Considered a flagship product for the company, Leavenworth Lager achieves balance with the influence of malt and hops with a slightly softer side. The beer has been crafted to combine the traditional Bavarian pilsner flavors with the bolder Northwest craft beer. A special step-infusion method allows for the retention of maximum flavor. The beer makers describe the flavor as having “plenty of noble hops, but without the bitterness of most lagers.”
Born in head brewer Tony Powell’s home brewery, the West Coast Style Imperial Red Ale is a hearty celebration of the brewing art. Four hops impart floral, citrus and sprucy Northwest notes. This beer has won two silver medals at the 2010 North American Brewers Association in the Double Imperial Irish Red Ale Category.
Spire Mountain Draft Cider
Crafted in America’s oldest continuously operated craft cider maker, Spire Mountain is a combination of famed Washington apples and pears.
The pear cider is light, made with Bosc and Anjou pears. The apple cider is a bit more tart and dry. Both are gluten free, and both are award winners.
Spires apple cider took the gold medal at the 2009 North American Brewer’s Association and its pear cider was awarded the same in 2010.
Leone feels the biggest achievement for Silver Lake Winery and its sister companies has been maintaining quality while growing so rapidly.
“You don’t become one of the largest wineries in the state without having a real passion for it,” he said. “Everyone loves wine and beer.”