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Production: (1995) 4,000 cases
Vineyards: 47 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Chardonnay
Paul Portteus first started making beer at age 19 in his home on Mercer Island, having been exposed to an uncle who was a home winemaker/brewer. While majoring in philosophy at University of Washington, he took an extended tour of Europe by motorcycle, discovering the Bordeaux region.
After his college graduation and marriage to Marilyn, Paul started discussing the winery business with family friend Enrique Rafanelli in the Sonoma Valley. He originally considered starting a winery in Sonoma, but after seeing some information on the fledgling Washington wine industry (this was in 1978) he decided to relocate to Eastern Washington. He came to the Yakima Valley in mid-1980, and after months of searching for a proper vineyard site he came upon his current location in March of 1981.
Paul and a friend purchased 30 acres of land outside of Zillah, planting the first 8 acres in grapes in 1982. Eventually, his family purchased the friend's stake in the property, bringing it back into the Portteus family. He originally planted some Semillon, but eventually pulled that out (as well as reducing the acreage of Chardonnay) to expand his plantings of red grapes.
Paul began producing wines at Blackwood Canyon Vintners facilities in 1984, but a fire in that facility in 1985 destroyed his first two vintages. He made his 1986 vintage in his garage, finally building the current winery in 1987. In 1999, Paul brought in Paul Vendenberg as winemaker, allowing Paul P. to focus on the all-important grape growing.
Currently, Portteus Vineyards has the only Zinfandel plantings in
Washington, as well as rare Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Paul sells
about 75% of his harvest to other wineries, keeping choice grapes to
produce his powerful wines.
As Portteus Vineyards has an official website with detailed wine notes, I'll leave this section to them. Please visit the link (above) for current wine info.
Previous releases: Fall 1996
Paul Portteus 1984 - present
Paul Vandenberg 1999 - present
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