Chelan’s Wine Industry is Growing Up.

Recently a friend invited me to enjoy a “girl’s weekend at her condo on Lake Chelan. It has been many years since I was there and I was pleasantly surprised by the evolution, especially with regards to the wine industry. As all good Girl’s Weekends should, this one included a couple of wine tastings. I especially enjoyed Tsillan Cellars (pronounced: Chelan Cellars).

The tasting bar at Tsillan Cellars - Vicky was pouring for us

The tasting bar at Tsillan Cellars – Vicky was pouring for us

One of the larger wineries in the Chelan area, Tsillan Cellars opened their tasting room in 2004. It has a Tuscan feel to the architecture and gorgeous views of the lake and mountains. Producing about 7,000 cases of wine per year, Tsillan Cellars offers many of the standard wines: Cabernet Savignon, Merlot and Malbec, but they also had some of the less standard such as Nebbiolo and Barbera.

We had a rather “interesting” experience during our tasting. I needed a palette cleanser so I purchased a package of crackers (not a bargain at $7). I was turned speaking to my friend Leslie when she exclaimed, “That woman is eating your crackers.” The woman, who I later learned was Cathy, was mortified. Since many wineries provide palette cleansers she assumed the winery had provided them. We found out she was there with her book club. A long discussion on recent books followed and we ended up opening both packages of crackers and enjoying a special wine called, “Lundee”.

The infamous crackers

My favorite wines were the Sinistra and the Reserve Syrah. Both are estate grown and between $28 and $35 per bottle.

The tasting room is gorgeous, comprised of marble and enormous open beam trusses. The gift shop area is quite large and filled with all sorts of interesting items. Beautiful Deruta pottery and delicious marinades, delicate hor’devour forks and colorful scarves can all be found side by side.

Tsillan Gellars gift shop

We made another visit to the winery later in the week to have dinner at the restaurant, Sorrentos. It is outdoor seating under a giant tent. While a bit pricey, the food was very good. Leslie had the salmon which she said was perfectly prepared. I had the Chicken Marsala, not the best I have had, but quite good.


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