AWG Correspondent

Denise Gangnes

Sleight of Hand Cellars Photos

Sleight of Hand Cellars Review

Regions: Columbia Valley AVA, Walla Walla Valley AVA, Washington

Reviewed: April 10, 2012 by Denise Gangnes
Published: May 19, 2012

Do you consider yourself a hip wine drinker with the inside scoop on the latest up and coming wineries? Maybe you’re a closet Pearl Jam or rock and roll album collector? Or perhaps you have a fascination with magic. If any of these are true, you’re about to meet your new best friend. Trey Busch is the heart and soul of this “funkadelic” winery – and the mystery might be just how Trey makes wines that consistently score highly in the national wine “rags”.

The Place:  Formerly located across from the famous Marcus Whitman hotel in downtown Walla Walla, the winery recently opened a new facility a few miles outside of town. The tasting room is modest but colorful; I liked the custom- made cracked concrete bar featuring unique, built-in dump drains. Trey’s obsession with Pearl Jam and other classic artists is evident from prominent tour posters that adorn the bright red walls, collectable LPS and turntable tucked in a corner

The Experience:  Sleight of Hand Cellars has been named as one of the "The Next Generation" of up and coming wineries in Washington State, as well as one of "The Next Cult Wineries". Trey shoulders a great deal of the responsibility for the popularity of the winery, with an effusive personality that has gathered admirers from far and wide. He’s just as happy sharing his LP collection as he is talking about his wines. After a long day of tasting, Sleight of Hand will definitely levitate your senses. A patio area encourages tasters to enjoy the balmy valley weather rolling hills and windmills on warm days.

The Wines:  The numbers don’t lie. Trey may or not be able to pull “a rabbit out of a hat” but he certainly is capable of putting grapes into a barrel and pouring out highly rated wines. His Columbia Valley 2008 vintages (The “Illusionist” and “Archimage” Cabernets being among the highest rated) consistently received 90+ points from Wine Spectator and the Wine Advocate. With 2008 offerings sold out, 2009 bottles are disappearing quickly. Levitation and Funkadelic Syrahs also score highly. Trey will explain that the nose reflects a Cote-Rotie-like perfume. If you know what that means, snatch some up, as cases are limited. Felix, the winery’s graphics designer, has done a lively job creating mystical and colorful images for all wines, posters and clothing items; the Archimage is evidently a self-portrait of the artist. The “Wine Illusionist Society” wine club is advertised as ‘the first and only wine club exclusively for screw-offs and cork-pullers’.

Insider’s Tip:  On Saturdays and other scheduled event days, Andre’s Kitchen graces the winery with their portable Food Truck. The amiable and competent staff serves reasonably priced smaller portion foods: mini burgers with corn salad, fish tacos and halal. We had the two latter offerings and were very satisfied with both the taste and portions. Andre also caters Sleight of Hand’s club dinners, which are touted to be delicious.

Address & Contact Information: 1959 JB George Rd Walla Walla, Washington 99362. Telephone: 509-525-3661, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Apr-Dec 5: Thurs-Sun 11:00-5:00 and by appt..

Overall Rating:  

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