Isenhower Cellars Review
Address: 3471 Pranger Rd. Walla Walla,Washington 99362.
Phone Number: 509-526-7896
Tasting Hours: Thurs-Fri, Sun 12:00-4:00, Sat 11:00-5:00 and by appt.
Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Walla Walla Valley AVA, Washington
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
Review Date: 3/10/2012
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
You dont need a degree in Oenology to start your own winery just ask Denise and Brent Isenhower, who started making wines as a hobby and have grown their business from meager beginnings to two tasting room locations in Washington State.
The Place:  The Walla Walla winery and tasting room is located on a picturesque piece of land in rural Walla Walla. The barnlike structure houses the tasting room, a bottling facility, and ample space for hosting private events and wine-related festivities.
The Experience:  The Walla Walla location has more scenic surroundings, but a smaller tasting room. The location would be well suited for an outside patio area for leisurely sipping. Note that when the three children are home, their play area in a loft overlooking the tasting bar can be distracting. Such is the life of a family winery. I was greeted by the shaggiest member of the family, Lucy, who enthusiastically encouraged me out of my car. Denise poured wines and explained how she and Brett were pharmacists in a previous life in Colorado, but fell in love with the scenic Eastern Washington valley and succumbed to the lure of winemaking. Starting their own production in 1998, they were fortunate to contract with established growers and to date, have accumulated a wine club of 1400 members.
The Wines:  A love of Robert Frost and an appreciation for the artwork of local artist Caprice Scott are celebrated in the bottling of several vintages, including such favorites as the Road Less Traveled Cabernet Franc, a tasty and well balanced nod to the noted author. Brett and Denise have also incorporated the names of several native flowers in their wines, such as the Pink Paintbrush Cabernet Franc, Wild Thyme Red, and Batchelors Button Cabernet.
Insiders Tip:  Dont look for these wines in the store. Isenhowers red and white wines are for sale only from the winery and Woodinville tasting rooms, and shipping is limited to about half of the United States. With 1400 wine club members and an annual production of 2000 cases, vintages can sell out quickly. On the bright side, kudos to the Isenhowers for an easy-to-navigate website that is updated regularly.