Avennia in Woodinville has announced plans to open a satellite tasting room in Walla Walla. The tasting room is expected to open later this summer.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for us to be a participant in that community,” says Avennia managing partner Marty Taucher. “It also allows us to introduce ourselves to new customers.”
If location is indeed key, Avennia will have it. The tasting room will be located downtown at South 1st Avenue and East Main Street by the new Walawála pedestrian plaza.
“It’s at the epicenter of what’s going on downtown,” Taucher says.
The site of a former hair salon, Avennia’s new space is in the midst of an extensive remodel. The tasting room will be 1,800-square feet and will include a nano door that will allow for opening the entire front of the tasting room. There will also be outdoor seating.
“People will be able to sit and overlook the plaza and enjoy their tastings and then wander in and out to the tasting bar,” Taucher says. “It should be should be a really nice experience.”
Avennia was founded in 2010 by Taucher, a former Microsoft executive, and Chris Peterson, former assistant winemaker at DeLille. The winery made its first wines in 2010, focusing in large part on old vine fruit and picking slightly earlier to retain non-fruit characteristics. Based on its initial wines, Avennia catapulted itself into the upper echelons of Washington wineries and has stayed there ever since.
Taucher and Peterson have been busy in recent years. In 2020, they launched Liminal. The winery focuses on fruit from WeatherEye Vineyard on top of Red Mountain. (Liminal was Northwest Wine Report’s 2020 Washington Winery of the Year.)
In 2021, Avennia purchased Tapteil Vineyard on Red Mountain. The 45 acre site, which has been renamed Avennia Estate Vineyard, includes a tasting room with sweeping views of Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, and the Horse Heaven Hills. Avennia opened the tasting room in the spring of 2022. The winery released its first wines from its estate vineyard earlier this year. (Read a review.)
Thus far, Avennia’s Red Mountain tasting room has been a success. “It’s exceeded our expectations,” Taucher says.
Overall, Avennia is part of a trend of westside wineries opening tasting rooms in Walla Walla. Mark Ryan Winery was the first, opening a tasting room in the town in 2012 and a second in 2020. Guardian Cellars opened a tasting room in Walla Walla in 2022. Patterson Cellars moved its winery to Walla Walla in 2022, while maintaining a Woodinville tasting room.
This trend is the reverse of one that started during the Great Recession, when scores of eastside wineries opened tasting rooms in Woodinville to be closer to metropolitan Seattle’s huge consumer base. That trend has continued to the present.
Most recently, L’Ecole No. 41, one of Walla Walla Valley’s and Washington’s founding wineries, opened a tasting room in Woodinville, as did Valdemar Estates. With Walla Walla Steak Co. and Crossbuck Brewing opening in the same area, it’s made for something of a Walla Walla outpost in Woodinville.
Now, an increasing number of westside wineries are opening up in Walla Walla. Their reasons for doing so are easy to understand.
“Walla Walla is the number two if not the number one tourist destination where people come from out-of-state to discover what’s going on in Washington wines,” Taucher says. “We’re thrilled to become part of the community there.”
Avennia’s winery is located in Woodinville’s Warehouse District, in an area also referred to as Artisan Hill. The winery’s primary tasting room is located a short distance away on Woodinville-Snohomish Rd. NE. In the longer term, Avennia plans to have a tasting room in Harvest Woodinville, a large, mixed-used development that will include a hotel, residences, and businesses. The project is currently under construction.
Graphics courtesy of Avennia.
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