Quilceda Creek Winery's Mach One Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA

Image: David Sproul

Making wine is an intricate process that takes patience and finesse. Much like life, it follows nature’s cycles. At Quilceda Creek Winery in Snohomish, WA, a dedicated vineyard and cellar team led by second-generation Paul Golitzin monitors the cyclical nature of the vine with meticulous attention to detail, from bud break to bottle. With an all-encompassing sense of dedication, Quilceda Creek and the Golitzin family have amassed a 40-year legacy of carefully crafted Cabernet Sauvignons.

“It’s easy to get lost in it,” says President and Director of Winemaking Paul Golitzin. “The circular nature of winemaking provides an opportunity to refine every detail. Time passes quickly when you work with a single-minded focus on producing the greatest possible bottling.”

Pick one thing, and do it perfectly

That single-minded focus on winemaking is a trait Paul shares with his late great-uncle, famed Napa Valley winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff. When Alex and Jeanette Golitzin were just starting out in Washington winemaking in 1978, it was advice from Tchelistcheff that started them on this path.

“Pick one thing, and do it perfectly,” said Tchelistcheff. The advice stuck, and the Golitzin family has been making world-class Cabernet Sauvignon at Quilceda Creek since their first vintage in 1979, one of the oldest family-owned and -controlled wineries in the state of Washington.

Champoux grapes from a Quilceda Creek vineyard

Image: David Sproul

Paul Golitzin joined his father as winemaker in 1992. With a gifted palate and a no-compromises commitment to quality, Paul focused the winery’s attention on its greatest assets: four estate vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills and Red Mountain AVAs. Each is farmed to strict low-yield standards, and every aspect from vine spacing to custom cooperage selection for each vineyard block is handled with the utmost care.

“Everything we do is vineyard, vineyard, vineyard,” says Paul. “We try to grow the perfect fruit and pick at the perfect time. We sort very gently and then hope to have some epic barrels.”

Quilceda Creek's acclaimed Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Image: Jason Tinacci

And make some epic barrels they did. It wasn’t long before Quilceda Creek rose to the pinnacle of premium American winemaking. In 2011, the 2005 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was served at the White House. In 2006, Quilceda Creek became the first domestic winery outside of California to receive a 100-point score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. The winery went on to earn five more 100-point scores in the following years. Today, the Quilceda Creek team is gearing up to release the 40th vintage of the Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, perhaps one of the most highly anticipated wine releases of 2021.

Food and wine go hand in hand

The Quilceda Creek wines are lauded by critics, consumers, and members of the trade alike. It is their close connection with the restaurant industry that led them to dig into their private cellar and offer highly sought-after library wines for the first time this past May, in order to raise funds for restaurant workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, the Golitzins were able to donate $365,000 to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF). Later, they donated large-format bottles to the United Sommeliers Foundation Wine Auction with Acker Wines.

The Quilceda Creek team has been humbled to be able to help the local restaurant industry during the pandemic slowdown.

Image: John Kaplan

“The restaurant industry is imperative, not just to Quilceda Creek but to the entire wine community. Through restaurant wine lists, customers are exposed to bottles they would never know of if it weren’t for sommeliers sharing their passion for wine with diners,” says Paul. “Restaurants and their employees are our biggest supporters, and we are heartbroken with how they are being impacted by the current pandemic. We are humbled to have been able to make this donation and to help.”

The best is yet to come

Paul and his team at Quilceda Creek continue their never-ending pursuit of perfection in their cellar and in their vineyards each day. In early 2021, Quilceda Creek will release its 40th vintage of Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to its private mailing list. To be among the first to hear about the release, visit quilcedacreek.com/signup.html.

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