Tertulia Cellars began to produce terroir-driven wines in the Walla Walla Valley in 2005. It is located in the beautiful south side region near other local wineries such as Northstar and Pepper Bridge. This area has some of the best vistas in the valley and the winery is surrounded by Tertulia’s Whistling Hills Estate Vineyard which offers a breathtaking view of the Blue Mountains. However, in case you can’t make it to Walla Walla, they have tasting rooms in Woodinville, Washington,and Dundee, Oregon, making Tertulia a true Northwest winery.
Gather With Friends at Tertulia Cellars
The word “Tertulia” is Spanish for “a social gathering of friends” and could not be a more apt name for this warm and welcoming winery. The “circle of friends” icon also is reflective of the curvilinear design of the tasting room and bright colors scattered throughout. This is the type of winery that really pulls you in for a relaxing wine tasting experience to be shared with friends.
Tertulia Cellars Vineyards
Tertulia has several vineyards but I find the story about their Elevation Vineyard to be one of the most intriguing, and not just for the eight delicious varietals it produces. Elevation is located on the north fork of the Walla Walla River and is the most terraced planting in the Valley. Vineyard Manager Ryan Driver had to spend two years jackhammering holes 18-24 inches down into solid basalt to put the posts and vines in. Each hole took 30 minutes to blast through and refill compared to 1-2 minutes in a typical vineyard. Why would they go to this trouble? Because Tertulia believes the best wines come from difficult growing conditions. This is reflected in wines running the gammet from Cabernet Sauvignon to Roussanne.
Not to be outdone though, is Tertulia’s Riviere Galets Vineyard in the acclaimed Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, Oregon. In addition to the typical varietals found in the Walla Walla Valley, Riviere Galets also produces Cinsault, Counoise and Carignane which are very unique for this area and not even found in most wine lovers vocabularies. Their 94 point 2013 GSM is typical of the distinctive mineral, earthy flavor of wines from the Rocks District and makes me say, “Wow!”, every time I sniff or taste. Oh, and their Tempranillo Rose just screams, “Summer!”
High Praise for Tertulia Cellars Wines
Another must taste wine from Tertulia is their Carmenere from Phinny Hill Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills. This is a 95 point wine that has won numerous awards and is one of my personal favorites. Carmenere is not found as often in the Valley as Cabs, Merlots and Syrahs so if you have never had it before, I highly recommend it. And, finally, if you really want to go crazy, try a sip of their Late Harvest Semillion, also referred to as Ice Wine, which is perfect with desserts.
So if you’ve been looking for incredible New World fruit made into Old World style wine you can end your search at Tertulia Cellars. Drinking in the view and bringing your friends for a complete wine tasting experience really completes the circle.
“After years as an officer with the LAPD and a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal in Las Vegas, Jim and his wife Julia moved to the peaceful town of Walla Walla and started a new life and business venture. Walla Walla Jim, as he was dubbed by his tour guests, now runs the Eco friendly Tesla Winery Tours where he shares his passion for wine and the town he now calls home.”