We were at our favorite local wine bar, Vino Bello, on Saturday to meet Steve Roberts, author of Wine Trails of Washington and taste some wines from Pepper Bridge Winery in Walla Walla. Our favorite wine from Pepper Bridge remains the 2004 Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley. But I’ll write more about the tasting later. Right now, I’d like to tell you about my chat with Steve Roberts about his book.
Steve, as I mentioned in a previous post, is the uncle of Kelly Roberts, with whom I work. So I arrived at Vino Bello prepared to like both him and his book. I was not disappointed. Steve is open, friendly and completely unassuming. His book, Wine Trails of Washington, is a guide to more than 225 wineries in the state and suggests 32 different tasting trails to visit. I know I will refer to it every time I visit the many wine-tasting areas of our state.
Steve told me that he didn’t always dream of writing a book. And he didn’t always contemplate writing about wine. With a chuckle, he said, “I’m not a writer. I’m not a wine connoisseur. I’m an outsider–I have never worked in the wine industry. But I think that was an advantage because I was not there [at the wineries] to judge their wines.”
Instead, Steve spent 18 months learning about the tales of the wineries and winemakers. “There are no adjectives about wine in the book. I found out about the stories, the history and the philosphy of the wineries,” he explained.
So I leafed through the almost 600-page book to check the listing on Woodhouse Family Cellars, one of my favorite Woodinville wineries. Sure enough, the book discusses winery owner Bjiah Shah, winemaker Tom Campbell and the history of the winery and its five labels, Kennedy Shah, Darighe, Dussek, Maghie and Hudson.
And I totally agreed with Steve’s assessment of Woodhouse Family Cellars in the book: “Just when you were beginning to think that all Woodinville-based business-park winery settings were the same, Woodhouse Family Cellars shatters that image. It offers a top-notch tasting room designed to encourage its visitors to relax and enjoy its wines. That makes it a mandatory stop along the Woodinville Wine Trail South route.”
That listing is just one of many that will help readers decide which wineries to visit. The book also lists Steve’s favorites — favorite destination wineries, favorite winery views, favorite wineries for dining, favorite winery gift shops, favorite wineries to picnic and to wed!
In summary, the book is a celebration of Washington wineries and I can’t wait to read every single page!