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Seattle Wine Awards



One of the great things about wine is that it doesn't matter if someone is new to the industry or an industry lifer, the passion is the same. Matt and Kelly Austin lived and worked (attorney/fashion designer) in California, then chose to move to the Northwest. Matt got his Associate of Science, Viticulture and Enology at Northwest Wine Academy, and was a winemaking intern at Savage Grace Wines and Efestē. He became assistant winemaker at Darby Winery, then cellar master at Dunham Cellars.

Matt behind counter

They found a five acre vineyard on the Southside of Walla Walla and it became a place to "champion underdog grapes, sparkling wines, restrained reds and sustainable farming practices." Existing plantings were Nebbiolo and Aglianico. Grenache and Carignan were planted in 2018. In addition they have 80 acres within the SeVein vineyard development; first plantings took place in 2019. It is found on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley and is one of the higher elevation sites in the Valley.

The Old Milton Estate Vineyard five-acre site contains the tasting room, winery, and Casa Grosgrain a 4 bed/4 bath vacation rental. Newly remodeled it has a full kitchen, outdoor patios, views of vineyards, pond, and Blue Mountains. Kelly's sense of design is apparent throughout Casa Grosgrain as well as the tasting room/winery.

"We love to try new things and methods," says Matt. "Sparkling is about a quarter of our wine and has sold out. We're ramping up. We use the petillant-naturel (pet-nat) sparkling winemaking style. We're planting interesting strains at SeVein. We continue to work with others, about 20%, because it's good to get other perspectives. Our wines are light and fresh, dry and crisp, not big and powerful, even the reds. Our style is to harvest early."

Casa Grosgrain

Grosgrain produces 2,500 cases per year and wants to double that within a few years. They have 130 more acres to plant. "We're trying to keep prices low so that our wines aren't just for special occasions only," says Matt. The wines we tasted ranged from $28 to $50 per bottle.

We tasted the following:

2020 Skin Contact Semillon, 100% Semillon from Les Collines Vineyard in Walla Walla. Half is fermented with skins, giving it a red-wine treatment; the other half is treated like a standard Semillon. This gives it more depth while still being fresh and crisp. The two halves have a color difference as well - white and gold.

Matt then had us try two Grenache wines so we could compare grapes from different vineyards.

The first was a 2019 Red Heaven Grenache, 100% Grenache from Red Heaven Vineyard on Red Mountain. It received the longest amount of time in bottle prior to release.

The second was a 2020 Walla Walla Grenache, 100% Grenache from Los Rocosos Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley. Drinkable now, Matt feels that a few more months in the bottle will be worth the wait.

Next we compared two Syrahs.

2018 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah, 100% Syrah from block 36 at Les Collines. It spent 11 months in neutral oak.

2018 XL Vineyard Syrah, 100% Syrah from XL Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley. Matt loves this site in the Valley with smaller grapes on the vines.

The final wine we tasted was a 2018 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Cabernet from Seven Hills Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley. This is an old-style Walla Walla Cab, medium-bodied, moderate alcohols, restrained oak. Grapes are from one of the first vineyards established in the Valley.


2158 Half Acre Lane
Walla Walla, WA 99362

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