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Abeja Winery

This land was homesteaded by Jacob Kibler in 1863 where he created a 160 acre wheat farm. He added 160 more acres in 1870. His second son built the farmhouse that still stands and added structures; they owned the property from 1903-1896. In 1986, the Kibler family sold 42 acres to Greg and Vanessa Finch. Most of the farmstead was abandoned and buildings were not in good shape. The Finches began restoration in 1997 and rented rooms as the Mill Creek Inn through 1999.

In October of 2000, Ken and Ginger Harrison of Portland purchased the property on Mill Creek Road after staying at the Inn. They also purchased land to plant Heather Hill Vineyard. They were retired and had a goal of growing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. They changed the name to Abeja in 2002 which is Spanish for bee and was their way of respecting and being responsible for the environment. That's also when they got serious about further restoration. The Harrisons have retired (again) and live on land behind the winery.

Heather Hill Vineyard was planted in 2001 and Abeja's first Cab Sav was released from the 2001 vintage. Their first Reserve Cab Sav was released from the 2002 vintage. The vineyard next to the winery, Mill Creek Estate, was planted in 2006 with Chardonnay, Merlot, Viognier, and Syrah. A new Abeja estate vineyard of 125 acres has 45 acres planted at this time with Cab Sav, Cab Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay.

In 2016, winemakers Daniel Wampfler and Amy Alvarez-Wampfler join the winery. They are now the winemakers and general managers.

Two new investment groups purchased the winery and Inn, a total of 38 acres, in 2018 with Columbia Hospitality tapped to manage the Inn and its further progress.

A stay at the Inn includes a gourmet breakfast each day. The garden attracts bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies; herbs are used in breakfast dishes. During the summer, dinner was available and open to the public. They are currently doing a full kitchen renovation. They will also add breakfast and tasting on the patio, along with a pizza oven.

There are numerous options for accommodations:

 

  • The Bunk House cottage that used to house the farm's hired hands. Includes a kitchen, accommodates two guests.
  • Edison House, the building that distributed and stored power for the farm. Includes private patio, accommodates two guests.
  • The Chicken Coop, yes, the former chicken house. Includes a kitchenette, accommodates two guests.
  • Summer Kitchen where summer foods were preserved. Includes kitchen, second-floor veranda, accommodates two guests.
  • Locust Suite in the Carriage House. Includes kitchen, accommodates two guests.
  • Hayloft Suite has a stairway leading to living areas. Includes second-floor deck overlooking Titus Creek and gardens, accommodates four guests.
  • Carriage House Suite with three stories. Includes kitchen, semi-private first-floor patio and second-floor balcony, accommodates four guests.
  • The Garden Room on the second floor of the Farmhouse is a private bed and bath with private bath and shared kitchen, accommodates two guests.
  • The Rose Room on the second floor of the Farmhouse with private bath, accommodates two guests.
  • Syrah Room on the second floor of the Farmhouse with private bath, accommodates two guests.
  • Vineyard Room on the second floor of the Farmhouse with private bath, accommodates two guests.
  • Palouse Room, on the first floor of the Farmhouse is the largest bedroom with private bath, accommodates two guests.
  • The Farmhouse as a whole with five bedrooms can be rented for families and groups. Includes gourmet kitchen, dining room that seats 10, accommodates ten guests.

Carriage House

There are multiple venue options: The original barrel room; the Big Barn and Great Lawn; the Small Barn and Patio; the Vineyard Garden; the Carriage House foyer; the Farmhouse, Lawn, and Syrah Vineyard.

We were greeted with an Estate Viognier to sip as we toured the grounds. Our tasting consisted of library wines paired with cheeses.

  • 2014 Washington State Chardonnay aged in neutral oak barrels and time in a concrete tank. Some minerality, not oaky. It was paired with St. Andre Triple Cream.
  • 2014 Columbia Valley Merlot, grapes mostly from around the pond onsite, plus grapes from Sagemoor. 100% Merlot. Paired with Beemster Gouda XO 26 Month Aged.
  • 2014 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The Harrison's first wine was a 2001 Cab Sav and Abeja has made one ever since. This wine could be stored for 25 years. Paired with Beecher's Cheddar.
  • 2013 Heather Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Cab Sav, with earthy notes and minerality. Paired with Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper.

Abeja produces 10,000 cases of wine per year.

Connie Adams/January 2022

Abeja Winery
2014 Mill Creek Road
Walla Walla, WA 99362
509-526-7400

www.abeja.net


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