I had heard that Alta Cellars was going to open a tasting room up in the warehouse district and I managed to get myself up there on Saturday to taste some wine and get the story on Alta Cellars. First, the name, Alta Cellars come from Alta Lake just north of Chelan where Karen Wagner and Jay Pedersen like to spend a lot of their time and hope to relocate to permanently in the future. They had been located in the Vintner’s Annex in Ballard, which closed last month.
Jay spends his time as commercial fisherman of pollack. He is the captain of The Ocean Leader in the Bering Sea. He fishes two months in the summer and two months in the winter. He began volunteering for Cuillin Hills about five years ago and learned about wine making.
Karen’s brothers are Derek and Darren Des Voignes, of Cuillin Hills Winery and Des Voignes Cellars respectively, so she does have know something about wine and she is the public part of Alta. You will probably see her up front in the tasting room.
Alta Cellars makes Bordeaux style wines and currently has three red wines. Escape is their red blend which was my favorite, a Cab Franc which has dark fruits flavors and is 98% Cab Franc and 2% Cab Sauv, and their Cabernet Sauvignon which is a big flavored Cab. Jay told me that they do plan to add a white wine probably a Viognier or a Dry Riesling next. The prices range from $24-$29 for some nice wines. They currently make about 500 cases a year.
They are in the front building on the right when you turn into the main warehouse district. They are currently open on Saturdays from noon until 4pm. You may also find them open Friday 4-7 or Sunday noon-4pm. Jay may even tell you some fish stories. Look for their Grand Opening in April.