In this episode of Will Travel for Wine, we are sipping in a little Washington wine – specifically Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla, Washington. It seems fitting since its the most planted grape in this AVA – American Viticulture Area – and a wine region I’ll be exploring in when I visit this Fall. I’ll be able to check off one more state on my list!
This little wine region is tucked down in the southeastern corner of Washington and extends into Oregon. It’s one of four AVAs in Washington that cross state lines. Here’s another fun fact for you guys – Washington state is the second largest producer of grapes in the United States, only after California. The state of California produces about 85 percent of the country’s wine. So, while the production isn’t huge in Washington, it’s growing both literally and figuratively.
Wine has been made in the Walla Walla area since the 1800’s when Italian immigrants first began settling in the area, putting their wine making expertise to use. But it wasn’t until the 1970s when Gary Figgins kick-started Walla Walla’s modern wine era by founding Leonetti Cellar, the first winery in the region. Today Walla Walla is home to 100 wineries.
So putting this into perspective, in the last 50 years, Walla Walla has gone from one to more than 100 wineries. That’s pretty fast growth for a sleepy little farming community.
In today’s podcast we’ll talk to Josh McDaniels who literally grew-up in tandem with the boom of the Walla Walla wine region. We’ll talk wine, things to see and do in Walla Walla and a little football.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the Josh McDaniels who is football coach with the New England Patriots. But, that would have been cool. Although not a good fit for this podcast. A much better fit is the winemaker, Josh McDaniels over at Doubleback winery. That’s where the football part comes into play.
When former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe retired from football he wanted to go back to his roots – aka Washington. So like everyone who retires he and his wife went and bought a vineyard… In 2008 Doubleback was born. I love the name since it’s a reference to his return back home. It’s a fun play on words. That same year Josh McDaniels – the winemaker not the football coach – entered the game at Doubleback.
You talk about someone who’s into wine, this guy is it. I mean for goodness sake he started making wine when he was a teenager and hasn’t ever stopped. But, I’ll let him tell you since this is all the stuff we talked about. So without further adieu, here is Josh McDaniels with Doubleback. Cheers!
Episode 7: Will Travel for Wine – Sipping in Walla Walla, WA
Interview with a Winemaker: Josh McDaniels, Doubleback