Walla Faces

About

Walla Faces strives to create the complete Walla Walla experience. Our distinctive wines, beautiful inns, premium vineyard, and original art all come together to create a greater whole. Just as a Bordeaux wine represents the best of its constituent varietals, we are blending the best of what Walla Walla has to offer. Our artwork, which is on display in our inns, tasting room and even on our wine labels, honors the 'faces' of the friends and family who have helped us realize our dream.

Location Description

- Walla Faces Winery at the Walla Walla Airport District - 598 Piper Ave, Walla Walla
- Walla Faces Inns at Historic Downtown - 214 E Main St, Walla Walla
- Walla Faces Inns at the Vineyard - 254 Wheat Ridge Lane, Walla Walla

Features

  • Wine. Inns. Art. It's a complete Walla Walla experience!

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

$ 35

Winemaker

Walla Faces is proud to employ the talents of Chris Camarda, our new consulting winemaker. His passion, methodological nature, and uniqueness are the perfect pairing for Walla Faces wines. With the opening of our new winery and the introduction of Camarda, Walla Faces is evolving into a new, more sophisticated vintage.

Camarda is a seasoned winemaker who built his prestige on single-varietal wines that allowed the vineyard to truly shine. By processing grapes from different locations identically, he was able to distinguish the unique characteristics of Washington vineyards. As a result, he is the perfect person to showcase the rich Cabernet and Syrah grapes at the Walla Faces Estate Vineyard. As owner of Andrew Will Winery, he has also established his ability to create beautifully balanced Bordeaux-style blends that are absolute stand-outs.

History

Walla Faces began as a pipe dream in the mind of Rick Johnson as he traveled through Europe in the summer of 1975. As he tasted European wines and experienced the rich art and architecture of the region, he dreamed about living on a vineyard, making wine, and surrounding himself with culture. When he returned to the United States, however, he put his dream on hold.

In 1999, Debbie Higgins met Rick. They fell in love, and got married on the eve of the new millennium. As they discussed their future together, Rick shared his dream of living a wine-touched life, and found the Debbie was totally on board. Together, the two of them searched for the perfect property for five years, and finally found it in Walla Walla.

When Rick and Debbie moved to Walla Walla in 2005, they bought the historic Hungate Building, now home to the downtown tasting room and hotel rooms. At the time, the Hungate Building was an apartment building, but not an exceptionally nice one, so Rick and Debbie remodeled it. One day, Rick had the inspired idea of converting it into a hotel instead of an apartment, and the Walla Walla Inns were born.

In July 2006, Rick and Debbie acquired the Walla Faces Estate Vineyard. Originally planted in 1999, it consists of seven acres of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and one and a half acres of Syrah grapes. They wasted no time in starting the winemaking process, and the first Walla Faces harvest was in fall of 2006.

Around this time, Rick and Debbie were trying to figure out how to brand their wine. Originally, a close friend from Seattle, Teri Citterman (the namesake of the 2009 Riesling), had suggested they call themselves “Faces,” but that was just too generic to be an effective brand. Rick suggested adding “Walla” to the name, and another friend, Bill Denton from Dallas (and namesake of the 2009 Syrah), had the home-run idea of using the artwork of Rick’s sister, Candice Johnson, on the bottles. It was the birth of the Walla Faces brand.

In the beginning, Faces had the grapes, but no one to process them. We worked with Forgeron Cellars for the 2006 and 2007 wines, meaning that the grapes were crushed, fermented, and aged all at Forgeron. In 2008, Faces moved production to Bergevin Lane.

During this time period, between 2006 and 2008, the Port of Walla Walla built five colorful buildings near the Walla Walla Airport to serve as functional wineries for up-and-coming local wine entrepreneurs. Known as the “Incubators,” the idea was that these buildings would give fledgling wineries the facilities they needed to grow, and after about five years, they would hopefully have enough assets to move to their own production facilities. Walla Faces continued to process at Bergevin Lane for another four years, but the Incubators were to be the next big step for Rick and Debbie’s dream.

In November 2009, after years of preparation, the first Walla Faces wines were released: a 2006 Red Blend Fusion, a 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2006 Syrah. These wines were poured and sold in the downtown tasting room. At the same time, the hotel was renamed from the Walla Walla Inns to be included in the umbrella name, Walla Faces.

The fall and winter of 2012 saw big changes for Faces. In October, Faces left Bergevin Lane and moved to our own facilities in an Incubator building. The next month, in November, we brought in the help of a talented and passionate assistant winemaker named Victor de la Luz—who turned out to be so enthusiastic and talented that he became a full-time Faces employee! In December, Walla Faces’ winemaker moved on, and the following March, the seasoned Chris Camarda, of Andrew Will Winery, came on as Faces’ consulting winemaker.

The Team

Rick Johnson grew up in Seattle, WA. He is a graduate of the University of Washington (GO DAWGS!) and completed his graduate work at Utah State University, where he earned degrees in City and Environmental Planning. He also has attended viticulture classes at the University of California, Davis and graduated from the Washington State University Viticulture program.

After college Rick worked as a city planner, urban design consultant and real estate developer. He has worked in Utah, Alaska, Nevada and Washington states. Today, Rick manages the Walla Faces vineyard, wine making and event operations.

Debbie Johnson grew up in San Diego, CA. After graduation with a degree in Business Administration, with emphasis in Health Care Administration and Accounting, she continued advanced training in Deming Management Methods and Lean-Toyota Production Systems.

Debbie’s career in finance and administration has provided her the opportunity to work in some of the most reputable medical centers along the West Coast including Scripps Clinic & Research Foundation, Providence Health Care and Virginia Mason Medical Center. Today, she far prefers her new day job of leading the hotel and tasting room operations.

Victor De La Luz, Assistant Winemaker:

Victor De La LuzVictor de la Luz serves as our full-time assistant winemaker. He comes to Walla Faces from Distefano Winery in Woodinville, WA, where he helped to create many of their award-winning wines.

In the fall of 2013, Victor will become a student at the School of Enology and Viticulture at the Walla Walla Community College.

Victor is excited about working with Walla Faces, as now he gets to see the grapes from the vineyard to the barrel. In addition, he is ecstatic to learn yet another approach to winemaking by working with Chris Camarda.

Victor has been an essential part of our transition to the new winery and he has cared for our gorgeous barrels and tanks like a loving parent. His diligence, flair for winemaking and contagious smile create the perfect storm out at the winery.

Candice Johnson, Artist:

CandiceCandice Johnson is the featured artist of Walla Faces. Trained as an interior designer, she moved from Los Angeles to Paris, France in 1992. While there to study painting, she developed her painting technique apprenticing under several well-known Parisian artists. It was during this time that Candice began creating the small portraits she calls “Têtes,” meaning “heads” in French.

Candice has since produced hundreds of these imaginary, fascinating works, many of which can be seen at Walla Faces, both in the Inns and the wine tasting room.

Candice is a listed artist with the Artists Bluebook – Worldwide Edition. Her art has been sold at the celebrated Parisian auction house of Hotel Drouot since 2001. She has had over 40 exhibitions in France. In addition, her work has been shown throughout Europe, Hong Kong, New York, Santa Fe, NM, Las Vegas, NV and Los Angeles, CA. Because of these prestigious showings, her works have been purchased by art collectors throughout the world.

Awards

Great Northwest Wine: Walla Faces 2012 Tempranillo
Rating: Excellent
Great Northwest Wine: Walla Faces 2012 Estate Syrah
Rating: Excellent

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Hours

Daily: 11:00–5:00

Address

598 Piper Ave
Walla Walla, Washington 99362
United States

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