While Wilridge Winery is best known for its award-winning wines, such as Estate Melange Noir, Estate Nebbiolo, and Pinot Grigio, the Seattle-headquartered vineyard and winery also has an orchard and distillery that produces fine spirits such as brandy and grappa, catering to the increasingly diverse tastes of American consumers.
The Wilridge Estate Vineyard and Orchard, located on Naches Heights near Yakima, Washington, is certified organic and Biodynamic and it grows 25 varieties of grapes and five varieties of apples, as well as pears, plums, apricots, and other fruits. According to Wilridge founder, chief vintner, and master distiller Paul Beveridge, establishing the distillery fulfills one of his lifelong dreams, which is to make some of the best brandy and grappa in the world. While Washington state is world-renowned for its high-quality grapes, apples, pears, and other fruit, brandy production in the state has yet to reach its full potential, which Beveridge aims to help grow. In fact, when he purchased the estate to grow grapevines, there were abandoned fruit orchards on the land. He decided to keep these orchards and rehabilitate them rather than tear them out.
All of Wilridge’s spirits are made using fruit that is naturally ripened, harvested, and fermented with no additives whatsoever, they are 100% pure fruit, not even yeast is added. These are then distilled through a Portuguese hand-hammered copper alembic potstill made by one of only two artisans in the world who are still using this traditional still-making method. The spirits are distilled in a single pass which ensures that the fruit's aroma remains within the spirit. It's the opposite of making vodka, where the distiller seeks to strip flavor away.
Wilridge’s top spirit is fruit brandy, made from 100% fruit, with no other ingredients. It takes one whole box of fruit to create one bottle of brandy, locking in all that flavor. Wilridge produces five different varieties of apple brandy – Gala, Granny Smith, Yellow Delicious, Honey Crisp, and Crab Apple – each with a distinct flavor. Other fruit brandies include Bartlett Pear, Danjou Pear, Rival Apricot, and Mirabelle Plum.
Aside from wine, the grapes grown on Wilridge Estate are also used to create grappa and Marc. After the wines are pressed, the grape skins or pomace is saved and distilled. The varieties used for grappa are Italian Moscatto (Muscat Blanc), Nebbiolo, and Sangiovese, while Viognier is used for marc. According to Beveridge, the production of these spirits also helps Wilridge pursue its mission as the "Greenest Winery" in Washington. Prior to launching its distillery, Wilridge turned the grape skins and seeds left over from wine fermentation into compost, and the significant amount of alcohol still contained in the grape skin pomace was being wasted.
While his wines are well known across Washington state and beyond, Beveridge says that most people are not aware that he also produces spirits unless they visit Wilridge’s three tasting rooms and farmers market stall. Despite that, his Estate Nebbiolo Grappa, Estate Honeycrisp Apple Brandy, and Apricot Brandy have won double gold medals at international competitions.
“Young drinkers today don’t want to drink what their dads or granddads drank. They want something new,” Beveridge says. “This is why the cocktail scene is cycling through various spirits, each having their time in the limelight. We've gone through Bourbon, tequila, and premium gins. Brandy is more expensive to make so it’s not as well known as those other spirits. However, I believe that brandy is going to be the next big thing, due to the exquisite and wide varieties of fruit flavors available. Our grappa and marc, which are also classified as brandies, can be used as a substitute for any white spirit in cocktails. By expanding our lineup with these spirits, we aim to spread the enjoyment of fruit brandy to a wider audience.”
Name: Kim Aldridge
Source: The Newsdesk
Release ID: 782419