Peter Osvaldik of Dynasty Cellars grew up in the Slovak Republic. Although his home was physically near Vienna, he says, “We were on the wrong side of the border.” He laughs. It’s the laugh from a man who has a sense of humor that can only come from having lived a much harder life.

Osvaldik and his wife Olga escaped the communist regime of what was then Czechoslovakia and came to the United States in 1983. After spending a few years in Los Angeles – “LA was a madhouse” he says – they moved to Washington a little over twenty years ago.

When Osvaldik first came to the U.S., he started out working as a general contractor. However, after moving to Washington, he began looking for indoor work. “In the Northwest, outdoor work wasn’t too appealing,” he says with a chuckle. Osvaldik settled into making custom cabinets and working with granite, which he has continued to do ever since.

The Osvaldik family made wine for generations in the Check Republic. “We had wine stacked up everywhere growing up,” he says. Osvaldik had been a home winemaker for about six years when he said to himself, “I’m going for it!”

However, as a budding winemaker from a former communist country, there were barriers. Osvaldik had to have an FBI interview and had to fill out an Interpol questionnaire. As you may know, there is a vast conspiracy of foreign-born winemakers working to corrupt our precious bodily fluids. Osvaldik simply says of his experience starting the winery, “There was quite an interesting road to it.”

Dynasty Cellars had its first commercial release with the 2006 vintage. The winery makes 800 cases annually with plans to grow to 1,200 in the coming years. Fruit for Dynasty Cellars’ wines comes exclusively from three of Walla Walla Valley’s finest vineyards – Les Collines, Seven Hills, and Pepper Bridge.

Dynasty Cellars’ wines have thus far received limited distribution, mainly to retailers and restaurants located in the Bellingham area. However, the Osvaldiks opened a tasting room at their waterfront home in December. The tasting room is now open Friday through Sunday 1-6pm.

While production is growing, the Osvaldiks plan to keep the winery small. “I don’t want to have any employees!” Osvaldik says. Rather than hiring, he has his three adult children assist at the winery. “We volunteered them all!” he says, again with a laugh.

Dynasty Cellars DCC Cabernet Sauvignon Pepper Bridge Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2007 $33
Rating: */** (Excellent/Exceptional) Dark in color with a purple tinge. Abundant dark berry aromas along with light spices, char, and licorice. The palate is big and brawny, rich and concentrated, packed tightly full of fruit and chalky tannins. The finish glides along. An impressive effort with the tannic structure to go the distance. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot. Aged in French oak (25% new). 14.5% alcohol. 155 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Dynasty Cellars DC3 Meritage Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2007 $25
Rating: * (Excellent) Leaps from the glass with licorice, chocolate, cough syrup, black pepper, sweet spices, and black fruit. The palate is rich, thick, and fruit filled. 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec, and 5% Petit Verdot. Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills, and Les Collines vineyards. Aged in French and American oak (30% news). 14.6% alcohol. 350 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.