Watch out Walla Walla, there’s a new sheriff in town. Woodinville stalwart Guardian Cellars is opening a tasting room in the valley.
“It’s always been kind of a desire to have something [in Walla Walla] if just the right spot came up,” says Guardian founder and winemaker Jerry Reiner, who works by day as a police officer. “It was just waiting and waiting and waiting and, fortunately, finally the planets aligned, and it fell into our lap.”
The new tasting room will be located at 202 East Main Street, across the street from Walla Walla Bread Company. Long-time fans of Guardian, which was founded in 2004, can expect to see themes familiar to the winery’s existing spaces.
“It will kind of stay in the Guardian theme of some blacks, whites, blues, and silver,” Reiner says. “We’ll have the kinds of cool modern furniture that we like, and very rich feel behind it.” At present, however, the space is still a work in progress.
“With the current situation and getting supplies and everything, we can’t do exactly what we want to the place yet,” Reiner says.
The tasting room will have a soft opening on Friday May 6th, the beginning of Spring Release Weekend. No reservations will be required for opening weekend, but they will begin to be accepted Monday, May 9th. Tastings will be offered Thursday through Monday, and will currently be indoors-only as the winery applies for a permit for outdoor seating.
This will be Guardian’s third tasting room and its largest space at 2100 square feet, with 1700 of that dedicated to the tasting area. The winery will continue to maintain its Woodinville and Maltby tasting rooms. Production will remain at the Maltby site.
Guardian is the fourth Woodinville winery to open a tasting room in Walla Walla Valley. Mark Ryan Winery opened a tasting room there in 2012. The winery opened a second tasting room, The Annex, in 2020. Mark Ryan’s production also now takes place in the valley, though it maintains a strong Woodinville presence with multiple tasting rooms. Barons Winery relocated its production to the valley in 2016 and opened a tasting room 2017. Finally Patterson Cellars announced earlier this year that it was opening a tasting room in Walla Walla and also moving production to the valley.