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Grapeworks Distilling

December 11, 2014

Francisca and Grapeworks

This weeks wine for the weekend is vodka made from wine grapes.   This vodka is a  distilled spirit that qualifies as a festive holiday option instead of wine.

Unique to Washington and the the world Grapeworks Distilling  is making vodka from single wine grape varietals like chenin blanc, riesling, gewürztraminer, and pinot gris.     Ciroc, made famous by brand ambassador P-Diddy,  is a vodka from France that makes vodka from wine grapes, also, but they use a blend of grapes.

Wine grapes destined for vodka follow a similar process to the grapes destined for wine.   Once harvested they go through crush and fermentation.   Grapeworks sources wine grapes from their own vineyard in Yakima.   After fermentation the juice is brought to Woodinville and distilled into vodka using a very fancy, state of the art,  Kothe Vodka Still.

Each wine grape imparts it’s own flavor profile to the vodka with flavors ranging from tart citrus and sweet pineapple, to earthy, peppery, spice.    The riesling vodka is nothing like riesling wine it is smooth with sweet citrus and floral flavors.   The gewürztraminer is not sweet at all but very smooth with notes of pepper.

Sip solo or add to your favorite cocktail or try Food 52’s horseradish bloody Mary made with Grapeworks gewürztraminer vodka for your next holiday brunch.

Grapeworks Distilling  took over Woodinville Whiskey’s old location at 16110 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE.   They are open Friday through Sunday noon-5 p.m.

Hollywood Hill Real Estate News – December 2014

December 9, 2014


‘Tis the season to buy or sell a home on the hill!    For the seller the gift of low inventory and a strong market.    And for the buyers the gift of continued low interest rates and a new home to kick start a new year.

Homes on the market: 

There are 13 homes on the market priced between $699,000 and $3,850,000

Pending Homes:

5 homes pending priced between $489,500 and $1,097,300

Sold Homes:

54 homes have sold Y-T-D. priced between $285,000 and $1,750,000.

The average market time for a home to sell on Hollywood Hill is around 28 days and sellers are getting 98.57 % of their asking price.

From our home to yours, Happy Holidays!

Maureen Nolan – 206-200-9849

Red Mountain in Woodinville

November 22, 2014

‘Tis the season to get back to the wine.   The holiday season is such a great time of year to come out to Woodinville’s wine country.

A trip to Eastern Washington and a very special introduction from Market Vineyard owners to the renowned winemaker, Charlie Hoppes,  inspired me to write about wines that you can find in Woodinville and the compelling reasons why you might want to pick up a bottle or two for your holiday festivities.   I thought a great place to start this merry wine journey would be with wines from Red Mountain featuring the wines of Fidelitas and Market Vineyards.

Acclaimed by Critics – Superior by Nature. 

Red Mountain is one of Washington’s premier AVA’s (American Viticulture Area).   Located in Eastern Washington between Benton City and West Richland.    A small region of just 4,040 acres with around 600 acres planted in world class Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,  Syrah and other varietals.  It is home to vineyards with names like Ciel Du Cheval, Klipsun, Shaw, Grand Ciel, Grand Reve, Corliss, and Col Solare.

Napa’s very own Duckhorn Vineyards acquired a vineyard and has  launched their first Washington wine endeavor on Red Mountain.  And Red Mountain received media notoriety last year not for it’s wine but for a real estate transaction after a Canadian group swooped in and bought 670 acres of Red Mountain for $8.3 million.  It can be said Red Mountain property is red hot!

Fruit from Red Mountain commands higher prices and are highly sought after by  Washington’s winemakers because of the balanced yet big, bold and tannic characteristics of the red grapes grown in the AVA.  The terroir of Red Mountain has everything going for it,  SW slopes, more heat unit days and rich soils touched by the Missoula floods.

There are a number of wineries in Woodinville that source some of their fruit from Red Mountain vineyards.     DeLille Cellars, Forgeron, Januik Winery,  JM Cellars, Long Shadows Vintners, Mark Ryan, Matthews and Sparkman to name a few.

Two new comers to Woodinville are notably Red Mountain centric.   Fidelitas and Market Vineyards.    Stop by their wineries in the Hollywood District this weekend and taste the magic.

Fidelitas Wines – 2011 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Market Vineyards – 2011 Acquisition 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Fidelitas and Market Vineyards

Market Vineyards and Fidelitas owner/winemaker – Charlie Hoppes.

A Huge Loss

October 28, 2014

Vines and the Columbia River

The harvest is done and the last of vintage 2014 may just be completing fermentation .   What really draws a winemaker and vineyard owner to the vines?    It is demanding and tedious work for those who do the job of growing grapes and making wine.   For those who have volunteered to crush, bottle and label wine around the Woodinville area you have caught a glimpse of some of the work.

The pricey end product – a beautiful bottle of wine.   Some bemoan paying the high price.   If only they really knew the efforts that had gone into that bottle of wine.   Especially, the wines made by some of the small boutique wineries that dot the landscape of Woodinville and Eastern Washington’s wine growing regions.

A winery that personified everything great about Washington wines, Dunham Cellars, recently and tragically lost their young, passionate, enthusiastic, and visionary, owner/winemaker Eric Dunham.  You may have heard the news.

What you may not have heard is the undeniable impact Eric had on everybody in Washington’s wine industry.   He influenced, encouraged and supported anybody associated with the industry, big or small.

In Eric’s memory, Dunham Cellars, located in Walla Walla, will be holding a memorial this Saturday, November 1, from 1-4 p.m.

I know none of this begins to answer that question about what draws a winemaker to the vines and making wines.   So, here is the challenge.  Go out to one of the local wineries, if you can.  Talk to the winemaker, if you can.   Taste wine and buy your favorite bottle of wine.  Gather your friends and family close.  Pour the wine and celebrate life!    Make a toast to Eric and somewhere in that journey I can guarantee you will find the answer.   R.I.P. Eric Dunham.

Hollywood Hill Real Estate News – October 2014

October 2, 2014


Harvest time in the ‘hood.   Big trucks delivering freshly picked grapes from Eastern Washington can be seen on there way to drop off grapes at local wineries.   And volunteers are lining up to help busy winemakers with crush, bottling, and more.   This is a fantastic time of year to live in Woodinville’s wine country.

Here are the latest real estate statistics for Hollywood Hill.   Woodinville’s premier wine country neighborhood.

On the market:   14 homes priced from $487,000 to $3,850,000.

Pending:  7 homes priced from $324,950 to $1,150,000

Sold and Closed:   37 homes have closed in the last 6 months priced from $285,000 to $1,750,000

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in Hollywood Hill contact:


Maureen Nolan – 206-200-9849

Harvest 2014

September 29, 2014

captured_by_snapseed_222_3Many people that visit the tasting rooms around Woodinville are surprised to find out that the grapes used to make wine, in that bottle of wine they are drinking, come from Eastern Washington.    Eastern Washington is Washington’s bread basket and agricultural center.   Not only do Washington’s wine grapes grow in Eastern Washington but they grow right alongside the apples and cherries Washington is known for.

If you have never been to places like Yakima, Prosser and the Tri-Cities.  Right now is an excellent time for a road trip because  harvest is in full swing.    Here are a few highlights from a recent visit to Prosser:

Pontin Patio

Pontin Del Roza Winery:   Walk into the Pontin Del Roza tasting room and you may meet the winemaker, Scott Pontin, or one of his parents, Nesto or Delores.   This is a classic, in the middle of the vineyard, multi-generational family, farmer, operation.    A very welcoming and comfortable winery to linger and talk to the farmer/winemaker.   Enjoy your wine outdoors on their recently finished patio. It’s picture perfect and surrounded by vines.   Among their fine wines you will find Italian varietals like Sangiovese, Dolcetto and Pinot Grigio a nod to their Italian immigrant roots.   The Pontin’s also grow other varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Carmenere, Chenin Blanc and Riesling.


Apples, apples and more apples.    The farmers markets are full of local fruit picked that day.


Watch the big trucks move through the vines.   This is a grape picker used to harvest concord grapes.      Now is the time to see the farmers in action.


For more information about visiting Prosser:

Not Yet

July 23, 2014

The conversation about real estate right now centers around the term “pre-recession” price.     Are home values back to the values before the market meltdown of 2008?

There are rumors that select neighborhoods in Seattle have broken through the pre-recession barrier.     But it may take another 1.3 years for Seattle to completely shed it’s post-recession blues.   Which is not bad considering many states have a long future ahead with post recession home values.

On the spectrum of pre-post recession home values where does Woodinville’s wine country fall?    Hollywood Hill, the premier wine country neighborhood,  is behaving much like a Seattle neighborhood with limited inventory, short market time and pricey homes.   But the numbers show the true market story.   The story is a good one but the hard data shows that  Hollywood Hill has not yet reached pre-recession home values.   It is off by about 11% from the market of 2008.   Check out the graph below:HH Average % for last 10 years



**data sourced from NWMLS


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