Production: (1994) 7,870 cases/year; (1995) 13,032; (1996) 17,850; (1997) 24,500
The winery was originally established in a "light industrial" building located in Thrasher's Corner (north of Bothell) in 1986 producing Spire Mountain Sparkling ciders. The first production of Silver Lake wines was in 1989.
In 1991 they opened a tasting room in Bothell's Country Village (photo above), within a short drive of Woodinville. In 1995, they bought the old French Creek Cellars facility in Woodinville, and have moved the tasting room to there, closing the Country Village outlet.
Silver Lake is owned by Washington Wine and Beverage Company, which has about 1,300 shareholders. The first public stock offering was in Nov-1994.
The second label "Sentinel Peak" was used for a few years in the early nineties. They also produce the Spire Mountain Sparlking Cider line, do custom bottlings for soft drinks and flavored extracts.
In 1999(?) they opened a new facility just-around-the-corner from the Columbia Winery (and of course Chateau Ste. Michelle) in Woodinville. I believe at about this same time the sold the old French Creek facility, which has since become Woodinville Wine Company.
In 2001(?), Silver Lake purchased the old Covey Run Vintners facility from the spirits giant Canadiagua, who had sold off most all the winery resources that weren't bolted down (and many that had been); they kept only the tanks that the building was built around, and the lovely tasting room area.
Silver Lake established a seperate "Roza" label for the wines from this facility. The wines are of remarkable quality considering the split personality the company had. The wines were made almost by remote control made by the western WA winemakers, trading off an occasional weeks visit to the facility.
In late 2002, Silver Lake decided to "do the job right", and managed to pull Mike Haddox, a young, serious and energetic winemaker from an obscure position as "Reaserch Enologist" at Chateau Ste. Michelle. Cheryl will continue in a consulting role while Mike H. gets into the swing of things, but I'm sure that won't take logn. I fully expect to see a leap in quality from the "Roza" designated wines as of the 2003 vintage.
In Winter 2003, Mike H. gave me the tour around the facility and showed me the property just over the hill behind the winery that was part of the package; approx. 200 acres. In the earlier days, this vineyard was established with high-yields in mind. Many of the original reds were trained to Geneva Double Curtain (GDC) producing monster yields of more than 10 tons per acre (TPA). They've begun retraining some of these vines to lower yield systems in order to improve crop quality. Amongst other projects, they've fortunately had the sense to preserve the 20 year old Chenin Blanc vines, as Mike H. has a fondess for this underappreciated grape.
Keep an eye out for the "Roza" designated wines -- there'll be some great things happening here in the next few years.
The Wines: Current releases (Winter 1997)
Mike Haddox 2003-present (Roza)
Brian Carter 1990-1992
William Ammons (Assistant Winemaker) 1988-present
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