Baer Winery’s Signature Wine

The signature wine of Baer Winery is the 2004 Ursa, a velvety Bordeaux-style red that may be enjoyed now or cellared for up to 10 years. This elegant wine–a blend of 47% Merlot, 40% Cab Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec–received 91 points from Wine Spectator. The wine is luscious and rich, but not heavy, and well worth $30.

Most of Baer’s wines are sold to customers on the winery’s mailing list. You can also find them at some fine restaurants and select retail outlets. We tasted ours at our favorite local wine bar, Vino Bello.

Baer Winery made its first signature Ursa blend in 2000 out of a small apartment and rented space in another winery. Now, the small, family-owned-and-operated winery is located on six acres in Woodinville. At the beginning of 2003, Baer Winery produced 200 cases. By this year, the annual output reached 1,200 cases.

Sadly, owner-winemaker, Lance Baer, died unexpectedly in May at the young age of 39. According to The Wine Press Northwest Blog, his friends and other winemakers were stunned by the loss of their popular friend. Baer was the sole winemaker, so many Woodinville colleagues pitched in to help out at Baer Winery.

Lance Baer lives on through his fine wines. We highly recommend his signature 2004 Ursa.

What’s going on …

What’s going on in Washington wine country?

Saturday, July 7:

Tuesday July 10:

  • Januik Winery and Novelty Hill in Woodinville host author Julia Flynn Siler as she discusses her sweeping saga of America’s first family of wine, “The House of Mondavi” at 7 p.m. Cost is $25 and includes a wine and cheese tasting. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call Sarah Klapstein at 425-481-5502 or e-mail 

Friday July 13-Sunday July 15:

  •  Kirkland Uncorked: A festival of Washington wines, arts and food at Kirkland’s waterfront Marina Park. Sample five tastings from 17 Washington vineyards, souvenir tasting glasses (while supplies last) and food samples: $20 in advance; $25 at the door.
  • South Seattle Artisan Wineries wine tastings: July 14 is the second Saturday in the month, which means tastings from 1-5 p.m. at four wineries in Georgetown — including one of our favorites-Fall Line Winery. (You simply must try the cab!)
  • Winemakers Weekend at the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla features Three Rivers and Walla Walla Vintners. The weekend packages start at $899. For more information, call 509-524-5110 or 866-826-9422 or e-mail
  • Covington Cellars is having a big release party. They’ll be releasing four new wines: 2006 Klipsun Vineyard Semillon, 2006 Viognier, 2004 Rough House Red and the 2005 Sangiovese.

Monday July 16:

  • Bergevin Lane’s Winemaker Dinner at Brix 25 in Gig Harbor. For more information, call 253-858-6626.

Tuesday July 17:

Thursday July 19:

  • Taste of the Nation in Seattle. This anniversary event will bring together Seattle’s best chefs, restaurateurs and wineries for one evening. General admission ticket holders will enjoy access to the event from 6 -9 p.m., free parking, musical entertainment and a commemorative 20th anniversary wine glass. Fisher Pavilion – Seattle Center. For tickets call 877.26.TASTE.

Sunday July 22:

  • Blending seminar with Brian Carter of Brian Carter Cellars: Renowned Washington winemaker Brian Carter is holding a blending seminar at the Purple Cafe in Woodinville. Classes are from 12-2 p.m. and the $25 cost includes the seminar, a flight of wine and “a small bite” that is paired with each wine in the flight.

Saturday Aug. 11:

  • South Seattle Artisan Wineries wine tastings: Aug. 11 is the second Saturday in the month, which means tastings from 1-5 p.m. at four wineries in Georgetown — including one of our favorites-Fall Line Winery. (You simply must try the cab!)

Thursday Aug. 16-Saturday Aug. 18:

Saturday Sept. 8:

If you have any events to include in the weeks ahead, please contact

Special thanks to The Cork Board team for giving me the idea to write about upcoming events — they do a fabulous weekly post called Cork Bits on Thursdays about weekend events in Napa Valley.

Not just for locals

Located west of Sea-Tac airport, E.B. Foote has such a strong local following that its winery is booked every Saturday night through the fall. One reason is its award-winning wines and the theme of the small, family-owned winery: “Producing quality wines at an affordable price-because it’s not about what it costs, it’s about how it tastes.” Another reason is the winery’s live theater performances, accompanied by wine tastings and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $20 and go quickly.

But it’s not just the locals who enjoy E.B. Foote’s wine. Its 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon ($18) received 89 points from Wine Spectator. Its 2004 Syrah ($18) received 88 points from Wine Spectator. Its 2005 Zinfandel ($18) won the silver medal in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. And our favorite, 2004 Perfect a Trois ($24), won both a gold medal and “best Washington wine” at the Northwest Wine Summit, along with 89 points from Wine Enthusiast and 88 points from Wine Spectator.

Perfect a Trois–the perfect three–is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and it rivals several of the Meritages that we’ve tasted at other wineries in Washington state and California.

Founded in 1978, E.B. Foote is one of the oldest wineries in Washington state. Sherrill Miller and Rich Higginbotham became the owners and winemakers in 1991. Since the winery is small, tasting is done in the winery itself, not in a separate tasting room. If you’re anywhere near Sea-Tac airport–or even if you’re not–stop by and say hello and enjoy a free tasting.

Novelty Hill Januik-Worth a visit

Wow! If you’re looking for a new wine tasting experience in Woodinville, be sure to stop by the new facility jointly owned by Januik Winery and Novelty Hills Wines. The two wineries opened a beautiful tasting room (and some fabulous rooms for parties and meetings) in early June, and we finally had a chance to check it out yesterday.

The two wineries share both the building and the talents of veteran Washington winemaker, Mike Januik, who has been making wine in the Columbia Valley since 1984. Mike was pouring with a smile yesterday, and business was brisk.

You can choose from a variety of tasting experiences ranging from $5.00 to $15.00. If you love Washington cabs–and who doesn’t?–try the King Cab tasting menu. We highly recommend Januik 2004 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($30) and Januik 2004 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($40). Translated from French, Ciel du Cheval means Horse Heaven but ironically, this rich wine–loaded with sweet red fruit, blackberries, cinnamon and spice–comes from the Red Mountain wine region and not Horse Heaven Hills. Regardless, it’s spectacular. 

Along with Mike the winemaker, the tasting room team was extremely friendly, especially Dianne who gave us a tour of the four unusual rooms available for meetings and parties. Our favorite was the Cellar Room, which is lined with barrels that can be backlit in different mood colors. The centerpiece is a gorgeous long wooden table, and the room also boasts advanced audio visual technology, a kitchenette and all the amenities needed to have a great time.

The entire facility is comprised of glass, wood and concrete with a series of terraced gardens, fountains and even a bocce ball court. We know we’ll go back soon — maybe we’ll see you there.


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