Fall 2002

Thanksgiving in Wine Country

Hard to believe that autumn is half over and another Thanksgiving in Wine Country is just around the corner. In fact, the Tasting Room staff is busily trimming the Christmas Tree and putting up decorations for the big three-day event, which this year occurs 29 November to 1 December.

As is tradition for the Yakima Valley Winery Association, member wineries will provide complimentary food items at their Tasting Rooms, often paired with a specific wine. At Claar Cellars, we will offer our "Rich Gouda Spread" served on a lightly seasoned French baguette. This tasty little number prepared by Classy Catering in Yakima will nicely complement our 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon, which we plan to release that weekend.

The 98 Cab is brimming with ripe black cherry and currant flavors; the tight structure shows rich, firm and earthy tannins. Although only in the bottle for a short time, we think this will prove to be one of our best reds yet--it is drinking well now and will reward cellaring for years to come. We will offer a special new release price on the 98 Cabernet for Thanksgiving weekend only. Remember--wineries do not provide tasting glasses at this event. Commemorative glasses and Claar Cellars logo glasses will be available for purchase starting at five dollars (or bring one from home).


From the Owners

It was another stellar harvest at White Bluffs. We are beginning to feel like the boy crying "wolf," but each year the harvest seems to get better and better. We had another "normal year," meaning weird. Cold early, hot late and then downright frigid in the end, but we ended up with an almost perfect berry set of small berries. As all of the good stuff (technical winemaker terminology) resides in the skins, we are seeing excellent colors and deep fruit flavors. Could be another great vintage.

Mother Nature slapped us around in late October, just as a reminder not to take her for granted. We had all of our apples picked and all of the grapes in except late harvest, and we believe the weather may help the late harvest. The bar is set fairly high after earning "90 Points" in Wine Spectator this year, but we will try to match or better that one.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season and looking forward to seeing some of you at the Tasting Room for Thanksgiving in Wine Country.

--Bob and Crista Whitelatch

The "New" Nouveau

Our 2002 Nouveau, that is. According to the Washington Wine Commission, Claar Cellars is the only winery in the state making a nouveau wine. Developed in Beaujolais, France as a reason to party and to allow end-of-harvest-celebrants to taste the current year's crop, nouveau wines are light and fruity quaffers perfectly suited for holiday cuisine. Nouveau goes well with ham and turkey, and is just the ticket for those leftover turkey and cranberry sandwiches.

In Beaujolais, the new vintage is released on the third Thursday of November. Claar Cellars honors that tradition and will begin selling limited quantities of our 2002 Nouveau exclusively from the Tasting Room in Zillah on the 21st. You can also order via telephone or the internet. One dollar from each bottle sold goes to support enology and viticulture programs in Washington State.

For more on Nouveau, go to


Festival of Trees

Claar Cellars will be one of the featured wineries at Festival of Trees: A Vintage Christmas to be held at the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau on 7 December. Proceeds from this wine-tasting, gala dinner and auction ($75 per person) benefit Providence Hospital's Cardiac Care Center--the leading heart care facility in Eastern Washington. Claar Cellars has donated a twelve-case "pyramid" of wine (retail value $2,400) to the live auction and every member of the Yakima Valley Winery Association has made a significant donation to the event. The brilliant array of Christmas trees and wreaths, designed exclusively for this event, will create a joyous holiday atmosphere for what is certain to be the top wine-related event of the season. For additional information, visit the Festival of Trees website:


New Shipping Laws

Legislation recently passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on November 2nd significantly increases the number of states to which wine can be legally shipped. "The federal government now joins 24 states in recognizing that the limited interstate shipment of wine to adult consumers expands consumer choice and helps small wineries build demand for their wines. In order to have wine shipped, the consumer must be physically present at the winery, the winery must verify that the purchaser is of legal age, and the shipping container must clearly indicate that an adult signature is required upon delivery." (Quoted from a press release issued Nov 4 by the American Vintners Association.) Additional information is available at


New Distributors

Claar Cellars wines are available in a number of new locations across the country. We now have distributors in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut (Artisan Wines Inc., Norwalk, CT), Virginia (Appalachian Distributing Inc., Chesterfield, VA), Vermont (Calmont Beverage Co., Berlin, VT), Illinois (Cracovia Brands, Chicago, IL), and Ohio (Natural-State Wines Inc., Columbus, OH). If your local wine shops in those states are not carrying our wines, put them in touch with our distributors--and tell your friends!


Wine News

Our 2001 Johannisberg Riesling, which received 87 Points from Wine Spectator, and our 2000 Chardonnay, which won a Gold Medal at the Washington State Wine Competition this past summer, are both approaching extinction--only about 50 cases remaining. Call Mike at the Tasting Room (509-829-6810) or go to our website for complete pricing and ordering information. Christmas is fast approaching--shipping a case of wine to the Seattle-Tacoma area via UPS is about eighteen dollars.