I’m going to start by saying that this is unequivocally a big deal for us, as a winery and a business. Our hope, obviously, is that it’s also a big deal to the wine drinking citizens and visitors of Seattle. 2010 marks our 30th year of making wine, so what better way to celebrate than to take part in arguably the biggest wine-tasting revolution our state has ever been witness to? I realize that is quite a lofty statement, so let me try to explain the concept.
This is a joint tasting room. It’s not going to have the Kiona name on the doorway. Urban Enoteca will feature a number of wineries from all over the state. We have partnered with the Crème de la Crème of Washington wine greatness. We’re talking wineries that, like our own, are family owned and operated, have a history of tremendous quality, and do not currently have a tasting room in Western Washington. Who are these other wineries, you ask? When we open, a total of seven will be represented (including Kiona):
- Côte Bonneville: The Shiels family started this winery in 2001, sourcing all fruit from their legendary DuBrul Vineyard near Yakima. This vineyard is commonly mentioned as one of the top grape growing spots in the state. In fact, Kiona’s very own 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon has some DuBrul fruit in the blend. Winemaker Kerry (Shiels) has continued the tradition of quality started by the vineyard. (Yakima Valley AVA)
- McCrea: McCrea is Washington’s first winery dedicated solely to Rhône varietal wines. By sourcing fruit from some of the best vineyards in the state, McCrea has built a reputation on crafting a large array of wines of exceptional quality. Look no further to see why Syrah has become one of Washington’s signature varietals. (Multiple AVAs)
- Cave B: Boasting one of the most impressive vistas in all of Washington, Cave B Estate Winery uses Estate-Grown Columbia Valley fruit and a minimalist approach to winemaking to craft wines that are true to their terroir. (Columbia Valley AVA)
- Fidelitas: Winemaker and owner Charlie Hoppes is a star in the Washington wine scene. Fidelitas has quickly risen through the ranks and is now widely considered one of the top producers of Bordeaux-style wines in the state. (Red Mountain and other AVAs)
- Fielding Hills: Third generation agriculturist Mike Wade uses grapes from the Wahluke Slope to craft wines of immense depth and complexity. The winery only employs time honored, small hand-crafted techniques to produce their premium wines. (Wahluke Slope AVA)
- Five Star Cellars: Two generations of the Huse family have come together to form Five Star Cellars, one of the go-to wineries in the fledgling Walla Walla wine scene. Five Star is committed to crafting only high-quality red wines. (Walla Walla AVA)
We feel this joint approach will offer you, the consumer, an unprecended wine-tasting experience. Want to do a cross-AVA Cabernet tour? This is your spot. Kiona (like all of the other wineries) will have our own tasting bar, staffed by a Kiona employee. We don’t stop at tasting though: You’ll also be able to purchase wine flights and wine by the glass on premise. We will have a central tasting area, complete with plush, comfortable furniture, fireplace, and an appetizer menu.
Think about that for a minute. You’ll be able to sample a number of wines from a number of wineries. Find one you really like? Order a glass and relax. It’s as much a wine bar and restaurant as it is a tasting room.
We are using a “library card” system, meant to make the experience as seamless and easy for our customers as possible. When you walk in, there will be a “concierge” desk and greeter. This person will take your payment card and hand you an Urban Enoteca swipable card. You use your card to make “purchases” throughout the course of your visit (for example, you taste three wines, have one glass, and buy two bottles, all from different wineries). At the end of your stay, you simply take your Urban Enoteca card back to the concierge desk where you will be charged a single time, and you’re on your way.
It’s not just wine. Urban Enoteca also has a full kitchen. We have a full sit-down food menu prepared lovingly by our expert culinay team, as well as small bites from DeLaurenti that can be ordered in the wine tasting area.
In addition to all of this, we have enough event space for 200+ people (or up to 400 if the entire venue is rented out). Obviously food/catering is taken care of in house, (as well as beverages).
Sounds pretty cool, huh? We certainly think so. Kiona has mulled the possibility of opening a tasting room in Western Washington for some time now, but it never felt right. We didn’t want to be “one in a crowd” in the Woodinville tasting room scene, and we didn’t want to shoulder the responsibility of running a new solo satellite venture from across the state. This unique approach to bringing wine “to the people” in a communal and social fashion was very appealing. There’s more to tasting wine than just tasting wine, if that makes sense, and we think Urban Enoteca is going to be the complete package in that regard.
We are targeting a mid-to-late November opening date. In reality, it’s going to open whenever it’s ready, so I won’t speculate as to an exact date because it won’t mean anything.
Here are some pictures that I took on November 2nd. As you can see, construction is well underway, but we have a long way to go in a short period of time.
Here is the Urban Enoteca Website.
Urban Enoteca will be located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from downtown Seattle at 4130 First Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98134.
Questions? Comments? Let me know!