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Wilridge Winery

We find the best vineyard sites in Washington State and hand-make the wines to bring out the unique characteristics of each terroir.

Seattle's "Micro" Winery

Founded in 1988 by husband and wife duo, Paul Beveridge and Lysle Wilhelmi, Wilridge Winery specializes in hand-crafted wines made from select single vineyard sites in Washington State.

This family-owned winery is located in the historic Madrona neighborhood of Seattle. The company's goal is to find the best vineyard sites in Washington State and hand-make wines to bring out the unique characteristic of each vineyard's terroir.

Grapes are picked in the Yakima, Red Mountain, and Walla Walla appellations and are crushed, pressed and aged in new French oak barrels at the Seattle neighborhood winery.

In 2007, Wilridge planted a new biodynamic vineyard in Yakima, WA - just 2.5 hours from Seattle.  Over 20 grape varieties are planted from the famous wine regions of Europe including France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.  

Wine making at Wilridge is a family and neighborhood affair, with relatives and friends pitching in. Paul is winemaker, Lysle is in charge of sales, Mack and Liam handle barrel washing and Grampa provides "quality control sampling."

The plan is to stay small and focused on quality, like many of the small wineries in Europe. There are no employees and volunteers that want to "get their feet wet" are welcome to help during harvest and bottling. If you would like to volunteer for harvest or bottling, simply e-mail us and type "Add me to the volunteer list" in the subject line.

History


Wilridge Winery was founded in 1988 by Paul Beveridge and Jim Wilhelmi (Lysle's Father and the "Wil" in Wilridge). The wines were made in the cellar of Madrona Bistro, a restaurant run by Lysle. Initially, the wines were available only at the restaurant, but with the closure of the Bistro in 1995, Paul and Lysle decided to expand the winery. They lifted the building and excavated a 1,500 square foot cellar. New equipment was purchased from Italy, where there is a long tradition of small, family-scale wine making. The first vintage from the new facility was produced in 1996. Lysle, Paul, Mack and Liam lived above the winery until they moved to a nearby house in 2003. Paul's parents now live above the winery and take care of the winery's black cat, Pinot Noir.

Annual events at Wilridge Winery focus around harvest, bottling, and release of the new vintage.

Wilridge's harvest parties are infamous in the Madrona neighborhood. The grapes arrive early in the morning via refrigerated trucks direct from the vineyards. Volunteers carefully sort the grapes into a small Italian stemmer/crusher. The grapes are fermented in small, open top containers and the cap of fermenting "must" is punched down manually at least twice a day. When Paul determines that the time is right, the wine is pressed from the skins in a gentle basket press and transferred to new French-oak barrels for aging. The spent pressings are given away as compost to neighborhood gardeners or returned to the vineyard. Volunteers join in the fun and each day of work ends with an anti-pasto buffet made by Lysle. If you would like to experience harvest or crush at Wilridge Winery, please send us an e-mail or give us a call. Depending on Mother Nature, we usually start crushing in early September and finish pressing by late October.

Bottling typically occurs in the Spring about twenty months after the vintage is harvested. The first step is determining the final blends for the wines after they have spent the right amount of time in the French-oak barrels. An entire vintage is bottled in one day by bringing in a mobile bottling line in the back of a semi-truck. Paul usually goes crazy on bottling day, but everybody else has a good time. Everyone who helps takes home a few bottles of the new Wilridge vintage.

The culmination of all the effort is the annual vintage release party, usually held in the Fall two years after the harvest. At the party, all of the Wilridge wines from the vintage are available for tasting and purchase. This is often the only opportunity to buy some of the wines before they sell out. If you would like to receive an invitation to the party, please provide us with your e-mail or mailing address and we will add you to our announcement list.

W: www.wilridgewinery.com

E: wilridgewinery@msn.com