We visited three outstanding Whatcom Wineries on the first day of our two-day tour. Read all about it here. We finished with two more that perfectly represent the quality of winemaking–and the passion of winemakers–you’ll find here.
Day Two: Dynasty Cellars Winery and Masquerade Wines
Dynasty Cellars Winery was founded in 2006 by Peter and Olga Osvaldik, who emigrated (or rather, escaped) from Czechoslovakia. Winemaking was a family pastime there, and the couple remained passionate about wine. After settling in Bellingham, they began making it again at home. Their desire to produce different varietals led to establishing a commercial winery, and now, Dynasty Cellars is producing about 1,000 cases of wine per year. Based on the popularity of their wines, that number will likely increase soon.
Taking full advantage of Whatcom County’s proximity to Walla Walla—one of the best grape-growing regions in the country—the winery sources all of its grapes from Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills and Les Collines vineyards.
Peter and Olga’s knowledgeable and friendly son Eric was our host at the winery’s new tasting room, located on East Bakerview Road in Bellingham.
Eric started with a tasting room-exclusive white, available only by the glass—a nice combination of Sauvignon Blanc, a little Chardonnay and Roussanne. Dynasty will soon be releasing its first white wines: a dry and a sweet Riesling.
Next, we tried the DC3 Meritage, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Bordeaux-style blend was packed with rich fruit flavors, well-balanced acid and a smooth finish. It was delicious.
Our third taste was the DCQ Red, a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Zinfandel, 10% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot. The Zinfandel brings the berry flavor forward, and it finishes smoothly. Dynasty’s Zins are popular, and usually sell out. An increase in production should fix that problem next year.
The 2008 Les Collines Syrah came next. It’s 100% Syrah, and spent almost four years in the barrel. Only 60 cases were produced—and most were delivered straight to club members. Luckily, this nicely smooth Syrah, with layers of flavor, is available at the winery.
The Osvaldik family’s passion for wine is evident in Eric’s enthusiastic telling of their story, the inviting tasting room and of course, in every sip of their wonderful wines. The family loves to have folks stop by the tasting room and hang out with a glass of wine. There’s live music every Saturday and they host private parties and events, as well.
The wine business is fun for this family. As Eric said, “People always come here in a good mood. And if not, they’ll be happy when they leave.”
Dynasty Cellars Winery, 2169 E. Bakerview Rd., Bellingham WA 98226
Tasting Room Open: Thursday – Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
360-756-6700 Facebook Page
Next Stop: Masquerade Wines
Bill and Jennifer Kimmerly are the winemakers behind Masquerade Wines, which opened in Bellingham in July 2011. The production facility and tasting room are located on Iowa Street—also known as “Auto Row.” While the winery may be located in a nondescript commercial building, their tasting room is warm and inviting.
Masquerade Wines was launched in Prosser, in Eastern Washington, but the Kimmerlys decided to move the operation to Bellingham for its small, but enthusiastic and supportive wine community.
Bill’s background is in chemistry and home brewing, but once he and Jennifer started enjoying wine together, the couple found a new passion—along with a dream of operating their own winery. They became home winemakers in 2001, and by 2007, had realized their dream in Prosser.
Most of Masquerade’s grapes are sourced from the Red Mountain and Yakima Valley AVAs (which stands for American Viticultural Area) in Washington, and the Columbia Gorge AVA, which spans both Washington and Oregon. Their Pinot Noir grapes are grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Current offerings include Sparkling Wine, Chardonnay, Viognier, Gewürztraminer, Dry Rosé of Cabernet Franc, Syrah and two vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon: a 2007 Columbia Valley and a 2009 Red Mountain. They also produce a Red Mountain Merlot and Barbera, served primarily at events and in-home home tastings.
Bill started the wine tasting with Effervescing Elephant 2, a Champagne-style sparkling wine of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The label features original art of a pair of elephants—and was actually painted by an elephant. Making and selling Effervescing Elephant 2 is Bill and Jennifer’s way to support the work of the Asian Elephant Art and Conservation Project; a portion of the proceeds from each bottle go to the organization. Effervescing Elephant 2 was a delightful sparkling wine that would start any special dinner or celebration off right.
Next up was the 2011 Columbia Valley Gewürztraminer. Spicy aromas and a hint of lavender were followed by rich flavor and complexity. This was followed by the 2011 Columbia Valley Viognier, which was crisp and bright with subtle citrus flavors.
We moved onto the reds with the 2011 Columbia Valley Rosé of Cabernet Franc, which smelled of fennel, but tasted like summer berries. I can’t wait to enjoy this one on a hot summer day! Then we tried the 2007 Cabernet Troika, a Cabernet Sauvignon from three Washington vineyards.
Bill poured the 2007 Columbia Valley Syrah to finish the wine tasting. This single-vineyard Syrah was full and jammy, with a smooth finish.
Bill and Jennifer love to host events in their space for their wine club and guests. They also do private in-home wine tasting parties for up to 16 people, featuring five Masquerade wines and Quel Fromage cheeses.
Masquerade Wine Company, 2001 Iowa St, Suite F, Bellingham WA 98229
Tasting Room Open: Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
360-220-7072 Facebook Page
Whatcom County winemakers are proving that great wine isn’t always made where the grapes are grown! Stop by any—or all—of these outstanding wineries and I’m certain you’ll agree.
Wine Tasting Tips:
- Be safe! Designate a driver. It’s perfectly acceptable to spit after tasting, or to dump out what you don’t want. Also, try sharing a tasting between two of you.
- Find a map to Whatcom County Wineries on Whatcom Wineries Association’s website. All member wineries will be hosting a Valentine’s Wine and Chocolates Weekend in February 9 – 10. Spring Release Celebration will be Mother’s Day weekend in May. Check winery websites and Facebook pages for updates and more details.
- Pick up a Whatcom Wineries Wine Passport at any member winery. Visit all eight and collect your passport stamps to receive a loyalty card that entitles you to a 20% discount on any purchase.
- When you’re in Seattle, stop by Pike Place Market, where you’ll find the brand-new Market Cellars Tasting Room, featuring Masquerade Wine Company and Mount Baker Vineyards. It’s open Fridays through Sundays.