The tale of Mosquito Fleet Winery is one of friendship, wine country inspiration, and a love of history.
Our story begins in the year 2000 when two couples, Dr. Brian and Jacquie Petersen and Scott and Jacy Griffin, met at a birthing class. The Petersens and Griffins soon developed close friendships. With a mutual interest in wine, the couples began taking trips together to Napa, Sonoma, Walla Walla and the like. One such trip proved fateful.
Brian Petersen, a practicing chiropractor, recalls, “On a trip to Napa we were simply reminiscing about how much fun it was and my wife says, ‘We could do this.’ We all looked at each other and about a year after that we took the plunge!”
To learn about winemaking, Petersen read as many books as he could and took classes at UC Davis. “The more I learned, the hungrier I became to continue learning and growing,” he says. Along the way, Petersen also tapped into Washington’s close-knit group of winemakers.
“I was calling everyone who would take my call,” he says of getting started. “It’s been tremendous to see how helpful and supportive fellow winemakers and wineries have been.”
Mosquito Fleet Winery is named after a group of steamboats owned by early settlers of the Puget Sound. The boats moved so quickly that they were referred to as ‘the Mosquito Fleet.’ The individually owned and operated boats provided services between the Sound’s various waterfront communities.
Explaining the name Petersen says of the winery founders, “We all have a passion for history, and we all grew up around the Puget Sound. We thought the name was very fitting to pay homage to the local history of the Mosquito Fleet.”
Alas, though pilings from a number of the Mosquito Fleet docks are still visible around the Sound, by the 1950s the fleet was no more as roads, bridges, and ferries took their place. But the stories of the fleet live on. Each of the Mosquito Fleet wines has a different ship featured on its front label. QR codes on the back label bring consumers to a detailed description of each boat.
Mosquito Fleet’s inaugural wine is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Pepper Bridge Vineyard, and it’s an attention getter absolutely loaded with cherry flavors. The wine is named after the ill-fated SS Dix. “Would you be bold enough to name your first wine after the biggest maritime disaster in Northwest history?” the winery’s website asks. For the 2010 vintage, the lineup will expand to include a Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, a Bordeaux-style blend, a Syrah-based blend, and a Port-style wine.
For its wines, the winery has lined up an impressive list of vineyard sources including Pepper Bridge, Kiona, Olsen, and Double Canyon. The winery is currently producing 1,000 cases annually with the goal of growing to 2,000.
With Mosquito Fleet Winery born out of the friendships between the Petersens and the Griffins, adorning the Mosquito Fleet bottles is a tag that reads, “There are tall ships and small ships that sail the sea. But no ships like friendships and may that always be.”
Mosquito Fleet Winery ‘SS Dix’ Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2009 $38
(Good/Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with dusty spices, vanilla, earth, and cherry. The palate is absolutely loaded with dark cherry flavors accented by oak along with a well-integrated scaffolding of tannins. A beautiful expression of Cabernet and an impressive first release from this winery. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Pepper Bridge Vineyard. Aged 22 months in French (87%) and American oak (100% new). 13.9% alcohol. 118 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Please note, my rating system was revised at the beginning of 2012 as follows. Read additional details here.
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