Va Piano Wines

Va Piano Tasting RoomVa Piano Vineyards celebrates its 20th anniversary this fall, and we’re proud to have been drinking Va Piano wines for 13 of those years. We always visit excellent winemaker/owner Justin Wiley, his dog Murphy and his winery whenever we travel to Walla Walla. And we always have a memorable tasting experience, whether outside or in the friendly tasting room. Most recently, we spent a relaxing afternoon with Justin in his scenic, beautifully landscaped outdoor area, with stunning views of the Blue Mountains and surrounding vineyards.

Va Piano Story

Winery logoWe’ve been fans of Va Piano Vineyards since we met talented winemaker-owner Justin Wiley in 2010, after the Wine Media Conference in Walla Walla.

So, of course, we stopped by Justin’s lovely estate winery on our trip in June. Murphy the winery dog welcomed us to the inviting outside tasting area, with lots of seating, fire pits, a fountain, piazza, pergola and hammocks.

Va Piano comes from an Italian proverb that means “when you go slowly, you go safely and you go far.” Likewise, the winery’s motto is “Slow down. Enjoy the journey.”

Justin is a fourth-generation native of Walla Walla. He is chill, friendly and very knowledgeable about the wine industry. He always has a hug and a smile. And his adorable dog, Murphy, and super-nice general manager Derri Reid, always add to the experience.

How can you not like a winemaker who says, “My winemaking philosophy is very simple: Grow the best grapes we can and don’t screw it up in the cellar.” Certainly, Va Piano Vineyards provides a relaxing place to kick back with a glass of outstanding wine.

Moreover, if you’re in Walla Walla on Sept. 23, stop by to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Pizza, music and standout wine – what are you waiting for? Admission tickets are $20 each and can be purchased here. (Wine club members can reserve complimentary tickets.)

Va Piano Wines

Va Piano WinesJustin crafts elegant, concentrated, balanced wines with depth. He focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, red blends, Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc. During our June visit, we tasted six of his releases. Meanwhile, Va Piano owns four vineyards: Va Piano Estate, Eritage, Octave (a joint venture with Pepper Bridge, Gramercy, Caprio and Hanatoro), and Giovanoni Estate. Justin named the newly acquired Giovanoni for his grandmother, who was born in Italy, a country he frequently visits. Subsequently, he told us, he plans to plant Sangiovese at Giovanoni Vineyard next spring, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

Wines We Tasted

Va Piano Wines2022 Sauvignon Blanc, Chelle den Millie Vineyard ($30) is exceptional. It opens with a pretty nose, leading into flavors of tropical fruit, citrus and grassy notes. Justin aged it in a concrete egg, in addition to some time in neutral French oak barrels. Year after year, we adore this Sauvignon Blanc.

2022 Rosé of Cabernet Franc, Chelle den Millie Vineyard ($25) is dry and dreamy. This is a perfect summer sipper, with aromas and refreshing flavors of strawberries, watermelons and rhubarb.

2020 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($60) features elegance and beauty. This is rich, yet silky and smooth, with 10% luscious Cabernet Franc blended into the Merlot. Aromas of cherries and stone fruit echo the palate. We enjoyed each sip and hardly wrote any notes!

2017 Syrah, Les Collines VIneyard ($75) is simply magnificent. Justin used 50% whole cluster in this 100% Syrah. Aromas of red and dark fruits, white pepper and sage mirror the palate. Yes, please.

2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rosebud Vineyard ($105) blends 10% Merlot and 5% Cab Franc with 85% Cab Sauv. Rosebud Cab is sexy and divine. We also found it complex, textured and classic. Think red and dark fruits such as black cherries and raspberries. Rosebud has the wow factor. Justin sourced some of the oldest cabernet vines in Washington, dating back to the 1970’s. We’ve loved this wine since its first 2015 vintage.


2020 Estate Uniti comprises 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 22% each of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, plus 12% Malbec. What a gorgeous, structured Bordeaux-style red wine, full of bold, black fruit aromas and flavors, along with dark chocolate, spices, mint and licorice. We’ve been fans of this lush blend for years. As a result, we still have a 2018 Uniti in our cellar, which we will pair with steak.


In conclusion, we’ve been fans of Justin and his stellar wines since we met him in 2010. As soon as you drink Va Piano wines, you will become a fan too.

Consequently, we recommend visiting the Estate Tasting Room and Winery in Walla Walla’s southside, or stopping by the Va Piano Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon.

If you haven’t tried Va Piano wines yet, what are you waiting for?

Photo credit goes to our friend Chuck Kinzer, a professional photographer.

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Margot and Dave