Eric Tognetti, a California native, moved to Walla Walla on his eighteenth birthday, when Washington wine was a nascent enterprise. He’d go on to work in several wineries but grape juice never struck his fancy the way the hard stuff—especially limoncello—did.
Tognetti (he goes by Skip) has dedicated years to perfecting his recipe for the lemon liqueur. Soon you’ll be able to try it when Tognetti opens SoDo-based Letterpress Distilling this spring.
Tognetti and his realtor trudged around to 40 some sites before settling on the space at 85 South Atlantic Street—funnily enough, an erstwhile winery. "We gave one of those silent looks to each other, like Oh my god, this is the one."
The facility will house a tasting room and production of the limoncello as well as a "subtly complex" vodka and then a gin. Tognetti, who comes from an Italian family, talks of one day doing some Italian liqueurs like amaro or a walnut spirit. (Side note: His blog post about his grandfather’s liquor store in Rome is quite warming.) Eventually he hopes to barrel bourbon.
But in his first year Tognetti will be all about the Washington-centric limoncello, vodka, and gin, between 1,000 and 1,200 cases of which he’ll put out. He "wants to build the brand locally" before going regional, but the fact that Tognetti is producing limoncello bodes well for bigger business—domestic producers of the liqueur are somewhat hard to come by.
The distillery is in the final stages of construction, and there are still permits to acquire and those pesky inspections to pass. Keep tabs on Letterpress via Facebook, and of course check back here for updates.