I’ll be the first to admit it. When Treveri Cellars opened its doors in 2010, I was skeptical. A sparkling wine producer in Yakima using seemingly every grape under the sun, from Mueller Thurgau to Pinot Gris? But then I tried the wines. Then – hesitantly – I inquired about the prices. I was quickly sold on both.
Treveri Cellars was founded by Juergen and Julie Grieb. Juergen Grieb learned the tools of the wine trade by receiving a four-year degree from the Trier School of Enology in Germany. He subsequently went on to make sparkling wine at Duhr Sektkellerei in Trier before moving on to make still wine at Karthäuserhof in the Mosel.
In 1982 he moved to the United States, spending nearly 30 years in Washington making still wine. Much of that time was spent at Coventry Vale, a custom crush facility. There Juergen made a staggering 6.5 million gallons of wine per year – more than his fair share of the state’s total production.
Over the years, Grieb yearned to return to his sparkling wine roots, and he felt that Washington was the perfect place to do it. In 2010, he took the plunge, opening Treveri Cellars in downtown Yakima.
Treveri Cellars is named after Grieb’s hometown of Trier. The town, settled in 16BC, was known in the Middle Ages as Treveris, with the winery dropping the ‘s’ to assist people with the pronunciation. In a callout to town’s Roman heritage, the winery’s label has a picture of a Constantine era coin, thousands of which were found in the 1980s when work was done to repair a local bridge.
At Treveri, Grieb makes a diverse lineup of varietally labeled sparkling wines, ranging from Chardonnay to Syrah. (“A sparkling Syrah?” I thought when a friend brought this over on New Year’s eve; I braced myself for a treacly sweet, dark sparkler. The wine is comes off as bone dry). In a tribute to his German roots, Juergen even makes sparkling wines from Riesling and the seldom seen Mueller Thurgau. All of the wines are made in the traditional method used in Champagne and range in sweetness from extra brut to demi-sec (see an explanation of sweetness levels in wine here).
The diversity of the Treveri Cellars wines and their affordable prices make them perfect as everyday sparklers or as part of the increasingly popular wine cocktails – the Syrah in particular is a perfect fit here but they all work.
Since opening its doors, Treveri Cellars has made a splash, perhaps most notably having one of their wines served at the State Departments’ Diplomatic Receptions dinner last December, which earned this memorable post title from the folks at Eater Seattle.
In the last two years, the winery has grown quickly, recently leasing the old Sagelands facility in Wapato and opening a second tasting room there. While Treveri currently produces 5,000 cases of wine annually, this space provides room for considerable expansion of so desired.
Grieb’s son, Christian, who serves as assistant winemaker and marketing director, says that, while the winery is off to a great start, nothing in the industry comes easy.
“Sparkling wine takes time and ties up capital, so you have to be committed to a venture like this, know what you’re doing and have a game plan,” he says. So far, it looks like Treveri Cellars has an abundance of all three.
Treveri Cellars Extra Brut Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine Columbia Valley NV $14
(Excellent) A moderately aromatic sparkler with early aromas of tropical fruit, particularly banana and pineapple, giving way to green apple, citrus notes, and brioche. The palate is tart, crisp, and quite dry with drawn out citrus flavors. Sample provided by winery.
Treveri Cellars Brut Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine Columbia Valley NV $14
(Good) A lightly aromatic wine with abundant grapefruit and floral notes. The palate is crisp and tart with abundant citrus flavors. Sample provided by winery. Recommended.
Treveri Cellars Gewurztraminer Blanc de Blanc Demi-Sec Sparkling Wine Columbia Valley NV $18
(Good) An outrageously aromatic sparkler full of spice and floral notes. The palate is off dry with abundant spice and citrus flavors. An enjoyable, crowd pleasing wine. Sample provided by winery. Recommended.
Treveri Cellars Mueller Thurgau Blanc de Blanc Sec Sparkling Wine Columbia Valley NV $16
(Good) An appealing, off-dry wine full of tropical fruit aromas and flavors ranging from pineapple to kiwi. Sample provided by winery. Recommended.
Treveri Cellars Syrah Brut Sparkling Wine Columbia Valley NV $18
(Good) Dark ruby. A moderately aromatic wine with dark berries, pepper, and spice. The palate is dry and tart with dark fruit flavors. Sample provided by winery.
Treveri Cellars Sparkling Riesling Blanc de Blanc Demi-Sec Sparkling Wine Columbia Valley NV $17
(Good) Off dry in style, this wine displays all of the variety’s floral and citrus aromas and flavors. Sample provided by winery.
Treveri Cellars Pinot Gris Blanc de Blanc Extra Sec Sparkling Wine Columbia Valley NV $15
(Decent) A moderately aromatic sparkler with abundant green apple skin notes, pineapple rind, and brioche. The palate is off dry and medium bodied finishing quite tart with green apple flavors. 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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