Balboa Winery

About

Working hand-in-hand with the grape grower, we strive to create exceptional wines that are true to the varietal, terroir and vintage. We believe that great wines are created in the vineyard where our winemaking begins.

Location Description

Located in the idyllic south end of the Walla Walla Valley, near the Oregon border.

Features

  • Producing the finest wines in the world.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Average Bottle Price

$ 34

Winemaker

In 1998, Tom began his winemaking career by working harvest for Marty Clubb at L’Ecole no. 41 Winery, the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley. He spent four years honing his craft at L’Ecole and building relationships with some of the state’s greatest winemakers and grape growers. Out of that foundation came winemaking opportunities at Corliss Estate and Ash Hollow Vineyards, as well as vineyard management responsibilities for Ash Hollow. During his time managing the Ash Hollow Vineyard, he consulted with Tom Waliser regarding farming practices. In 2001, Tom became the Winemaker for esteemed grower Tom Waliser’s Beresan Winery. Balboa Winery came to life in 2005 with the release of 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2004 Sauvignon Blanc. As the founder of Balboa, Tom has dedicated himself to making wines that are true to the varietal, terroir, and vintage.

History

Balboa was founded in 2005 with the belief that the Walla Walla Valley is capable of producing the finest wines in the world. In 2014, we bottled 4,370 cases of wine sourced from premier vineyard sites throughout the Valley. With our small production, joining our Ringside Club is the best way to ensure access to our finest wines. We encourage you to visit our tasting room, where we strive to provide an exceptional wine tasting experience for our guests.

The Team

Tom Waliser, Vineyard Manager:

Named Wine & Spirits magazine’s Washington State Viticulturist of the Year and Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers’ Grower of the Year in 2008, Tom has farming in his blood. The Waliser family has grown apples and other types of tree fruit in the Walla Walla area since the early 1930s. In 1992, he expanded his farming interests to wine grapes by farming Pepper Bridge Vineyards, followed by Seven Hills West Vineyards in 1994. Currently Tom manages 550 acres of vineyards for Premier Partners and LeFore Vineyard as well as his own vineyards – Yellow Jacket and Waliser. Tom firmly believes in sustainable viticulture, and he focuses his efforts on soil health as a means to healthier, stronger vines and higher-quality fruit. That attention to quality shows up in each and every bottle

Amy Glase, Managing Partner:

Because Amy’s background is in art and fashion, she serves as a daily inspiration at the winery. Having been involved in retail and visual arts for 25 years, she is the driving force behind the scenes with logos, wine labels, office management, and some added muscle for early morning harvest punchdowns. Amy’s focus is doing all the “other” stuff, so her husband, Tom, can focus 100% on making Balboa’s delicious vintages. Amy’s artwork can be seen hanging in the tasting room.

Becca O’Connor, Tasting Room Manager:

Becca is a transplant from New Hampshire and a Whitman College graduate. She provides wine-tasters with excellent customer service and knowledge of Balboa’s wines. She also provides business, website and wine-club support along with marketing.

Tyler Grennan, Assistant Winemaker:

A native of Washington State, Tyler relocated to Walla Walla after attending the University of Washington to study winemaking at the Institute of Enology and Viticulture. While in school, Tyler worked at L’Ecole No. 41 under Marty Clubb and Mike Sharon. Upon graduating from the Institute of Enology and viticulture in 2012 Tyler started at Balboa Winery as a part time cellar rat and was promoted to Assistant Winemaker in Sept. 2012.

Practices & Techniques

Working hand-in-hand with the grape grower, we strive to create exceptional, food-friendly wines that are true to the terrior, varietal and vintage. Wines that have a sense of time and place, and are a product of our core values. We believe that great wines are created in the vineyard where our winemaking begins. Sustainable growing practices are coupled with exacting hand labor to keep our vines in balance. Less is more summarizes our non-interventionist, minimalist wine making approach. All of our wines are fermented in small, open-top, stainless steel fermenters. Each vineyard block is fermented separately to fully capture the total sensory experience. During primary fermentation, the grapes are punched down by hand two to three times per day, depending on the varietal, to ensure that the skins maintain contact with the juice. Once the wines have gone through primary fermentation, we gently press off the juice and transfer it to French oak barrels. We carefully balance the use of new and older French oak so that the consumer can taste the varietal, terroir and vintage characteristics rather than the wood in which the wine was stored. Our wines typically mature for 16 to 22 months in barrel and are only released when ready for consumption.
All of our grapes are hand-picked, then hand-sorted before gravity sends them through the de-stemer/crusher and into 1 ton stainless steel fermentation bins. All of the lots are kept separate and each bin is tracked throughout primary fermentation twice a day. The bins are punched down 2 to 3 times a day for optimal extraction, giving us only what the grapes have to offer and nothing more. When primary fermentation is complete, the wines get pressed. We keep the free run separate and press to 1.4 bar. The press wine then gets tasted and added back as needed for balance. Secondary fermentation takes place in barrel and when completed the wines are racked off the gross lees and returned to barrel for aging. We use 20% new oak on a select few wines for structure. The blending takes place after 12 months to ensure the accuracy of our blends, then back to barrel to marry until bottling. The wines then age in bottle for up to a year and are released only when we feel they are ready for you to enjoy.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

Planted in 1999, our 18-acre estate vineyard is located in the southeast corner of the Walla Walla Valley, in the revered cobblestones region. This ancient river bed is covered with massive basalt cobblestones, similar to the profile of vineyards in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region of Southern France. The cobblestones penetrate deep into the soil profile, retaining heat during the day which they radiate back to the vines during the cooler evening hours.

We are dedicated to raising high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec and Petit Verdot through environmentally sound farming practices. Vineyard Manager Tom Waliser, who played a key role in forming VINEA, the Walla Walla Valley’s Sustainable Trust, brings vast experience and a firm belief in sustainable farming practices. He ensures that great care is taken when caring for the vineyard. Every grape is tended by hand, including crop thinning, leaf pulling and harvesting.

Sitting at a slightly higher elevation than the majority of the plots in the cobblestones protects the vineyard from freezing temperatures that could potentially wipe out an entire crop or the entire vineyard. It’s been nearly 20 years since this prized farming plot has had a documented freeze.

The cobblestones in this part of the valley provide an ideal environment for low-vigor vines that produce concentrated flavors, making Eidolon Vineyard an appealing source to draw fruit from. Charles Smith Wines has sourced Syrah for their Guido, and the Cabernet Sauvignon is a part of Drew Bledsoe’s Doubleback wine. In addition, Caleb Foster harvested Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon for Buty’s Redivia of the Stones while his own vineyard, located next to Eidolon, came online.

Awards

Winners at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Balboa won two Double Golds at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition – largest judging of American wines in the world!

Double Golds
*2012 Estate Eidolon Malbec, Walla Walla Valley
*2010 Estate Eidolon, Walla Walla Valley

Silvers
*Balboa Winery 2012 Pandemonium, Walla Walla Valley
*Balboa Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
*Balboa Winery 2011 Mith, Walla Walla Valley

AWARD: Best of the Best, Winery of the Year, Walla Walla Valley
The Walla Walla Valley community voted Balboa Winery the best Washington winery in the Valley! Walla Walla Union Bulletin.

Reviews

1 Review
Cynthia  Black Cynthia Black
Walla Walla, Washington
Superb!

we will definitely be visiting this winery again!

April 2015

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Hours

Mon - Sun: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Address

4169 PEPPERS BRIDGE ROAD
Walla Walla, Washington 99362
United States

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