Skip to main content

3 Year Tasting of Kitzke Cellars

A Family and Friend Forward Washington Winery.

This week I had the pleasure of meeting Vickie Kitzke, Paul Kitzke and some of Kitzke Cellars closest friends. Vickie invited me to her home to sample all of Kitzke Cellars 2006 – 2008 delicious red wines. The 2008 vintages are not officially released.

Vickie Kitzke (right) and friend.
If you are not familiar with Kitzke Cellars, that’s because they are a local, boutique, family-owned winery. They have been farming in the area since the 1970s, and have gradually transformed their orchards into vineyards. With fewer than 1,000 cases produced annually, Kitzke Cellars is by definition a boutique winery. Kitzke Cellars is located on Candy Mountain, off of Dallas road and a stone’s throw from West Richland, Washington. They are about a five minute drive from my home, that’s local friends. The family is working to finish construction of the tasting room; Vickie expects to open to the public sometime in April 2011. When they open, you will be able to visit the tasting room on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

This winery is a true family effort. The oldest son is responsible for the design and construction of the tasting room, their Columbia Valley Janaina Sensacão Red is named after their daughter, and don’t fail to notice that the 2006 Upsidedown Columbia Valley Red Table wine is named in honor of their sponsored snowboarding son. Husband Paul Kitzke has grapes planted on the family property. When you visit the tasting room, you’ll be greeted by their Cabernet Franc. Also, a family friends daughter designed the label for Kitzke Cellars.
Logo designed by a friends daughter.
Note: My first exposure to Kitzke Cellars was the 2006 Upsidedown label (reviewed here). I’ve become quite fond of the colorful, fun label and of the easy to enjoy wine too (a great value at $10 recommended).

Back to the wines I tasted. 

After sampling a dozen Kitzke Cellars red wines, my favorites included: 2007 Cabernet Franc, 2008 Nebbiolo, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Janaina Sensacão Red, 2007 and 2008 Sangiovese and the 2006 Upsidedown Red Table wine. All of the wines have beautiful varietal characteristics, perfect for complimenting food and company. About that Nebbiolo…I was most intrigued by the unreleased Kitzke Cellars Nebbiolo. This was my first exposure to Washington Nebbiolo and I liked it. It put me in mind of a high quality, California Zinfandel.

What is Nebbiolo? 

Nebbiolo is a red Italian wine grape varietal, predominately associated with the Piedmont region where it makes the wines of Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara and Ghemme. Like the finicky Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo is extremely site-sensitive, difficult to grow and temperamental in the cellar. Some winemakers say it is the most difficult wine grape to work with. It prefers cooler areas with warm-to-hot daytime temperatures and a high degree of luminosity. Once again, Washington State is proving itself as the definitive wine growing region of the world. Friends, this is one wine you must seek out – contact the winery for availability of Kitzke Cellars Nebbiolo. Vickie kindly gifted me a bottle of Nebbiolo, which I intend to thoroughly assess this spring.

Thanks again Paul and Vickie, loved the wines and visiting with your friends. I look forward to enjoying sunsets with a glass Kitzke Cellars in hand.

Taste Kitzke Cellars at These Events
Where to Purchase
  • As of this posting, several Kitzke Cellars wines are available for purchase from their website at a discount. Check out their website for pricing.
  • Locally, I have found Kitzke Cellar wines at Yokes Grocery in West Richland, and the Albertsons on Gage and Leslie in South Richland.
Kitzke Cellars
72308 E 260 PRNE Richland, WA 99352 
Phone: (509)521-5369


Popular posts from this blog

Review: Sho Chiku Bai, Unfiltered Sake

Last month in Seattle, I purchased a bottle of Nigori sake at Uwajimaya. Uwajimaya is one of the largest Asian grocery retailers in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been visiting Uwajimaya for almost 40 years. When I was much younger, I’d buy model ship and plane kits, Japanese comic books (manga) and I never left without at least one steaming Humbow in hand. Today I buy the manga for my son; while I still enjoy the tasty steamed Humbows, now I never leave without at least one bottle of Sake in hand. Uwajimaya has a terrific selection of imported sake. This most recent visit, I left with a bottle of Sho Chiku Bai Nigori sake. Nigori sake is generally the sweetest of all sakes, with a fruity nose and a mild flavor, making a great drink to complement spicy foods or as a dessert wine. Typical sake is usually filtered to remove grain solids left behind after the fermentation process; however Nigori sake remains unfiltered, resulting in a cloudier beverage. Before serving, the bottle must

Spirit Review: Ole Smokey Tennessee Moonshine White Lightnin' @OleSmoky

Today I have crossed the line from wine to spirits. At 100 proof the Ole Smokey Tennessee Moonshine is definitely turning up the volume (ABV 50%). "Moonshine, white lightning, mountain dew, hooch, and Tennessee white whiskey are terms used to describe high-proof distilled spirits, generally produced illicitly...The word "moonshine" is believed to derive from the term "moonrakers" used for early English smugglers and the clandestine (i.e., by the light of the moon) nature of the operations of illegal Appalachian distillers who produced and distributed whiskey." Source Wikipedia My family is no stranger to Moonshine.  That is, my great-grandfather and grandfather were not strangers. Evidently the family occasionally produced their own spirits on their Oregon ranch. My grandfather told me about his younger brother getting into his dads stash with predictable results. Grandmother also told me stories about midnight runs and secretive deliveries d

A Special Oregon Pinot Noir with Eastern North Carolina Inspired Ribs #OTBN #winePW 10

Open That Bottle Night - A great excuse for a Wine Pairing Weekend.  February 28th was Open That Bottle Night - I selected a bottle of wine I helped blend using barrel samples of Pinot Noir from R. Stuart winery in McMinville, Oregon. I was saving this bottle for a special occasion and knew it was likely time to open and drink. I hoped it had improved. "Blending wine is no task for mere mortals."   - William Pollard Jr.  Our Wine Pairing Weekend group decided Open That Bottle Night would be an appropriate occasion to pair our selected bottle of wine with something special as well. After some consideration, I decided North Carolina ribs would likely pair well with my special bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir. For this post I'll review the wine first, then provide the recipe, and wrap up with the results of this wine + food pairing. *Note: What is Open That Bottle Night? Wife and Husband columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher invented Open That Bottle