When Flint Nelson, Carolina ‘Cat’ Warwick, and Gina Adams-Royer first met in 2015 to develop a plan for a new winery, they agreed the name had to be simple and memorable.
The three business partners decided on Wit Cellars. General Manager Adams-Royer notes that the word ‘wit’ — defined as intelligent humor — was a perfect tie-in to what many of us love about social gatherings.
“You get together with your friends, you connect, you drink wine, you laugh and talk,” she says.
They also considered WIT as a great acronym for ‘We’re In (It) Together,’ she says, never imagining how appropriate the name would become in today’s environment where social distancing is the norm and glasses of wine are sipped while chatting over Zoom.
Winemakers Nelson and Warwick had years of winemaking experience at a number of Washington State wineries before working together at Kestrel Vintners in the Eastern Washington town of Prosser. Adams-Royer also worked for Kestrel, first as a sales associate and then as manager of the winery’s Woodinville tasting room.
A change in Kestrel’s ownership led to the trio’s departure and their decision to combine talents and establish Wit Cellars, which opened its doors in Prosser in 2016.
“The amazing thing about the wine industry,” recalls Adams-Royer, “is that people came out of the woodwork and said, ‘What do you need? We’re here to help you.’ It was utter community and we [were] really grateful for that.”
The current wine list at Wit reflects Nelson’s preference of making varietal-specific wines rather than blends. Chardonnay, riesling, and a sparkling pinot grigio top the white wine choices. Reds include Syrah, Malbec, petit verdot, and cabernet sauvignons from three different Yakima Valley vineyards. A small selection of other red wines is also bottled at the winery under Nelson’s Mazzacano Cellars’ label.
Wit Cellars has since expanded to include a second tasting room in Woodinville, less than a 90-minute drive south of Bellingham. The tasting room is conveniently located within walking distance of dozens of other wineries, making it an especially attractive wine-related getaway for North Sound residents.
Although indoor tastings and special events such as wine dinners have been limited due to the pandemic, Adams-Royer notes that Wit offers “super-safe, heated outdoor areas at both tasting rooms.”
Before visiting, be sure to check online at witcellars.com for current operating hours. Wines can also be ordered online and shipped for home delivery.
Wit Cellars’ award-winning wines are flavorful, thoughtfully crafted, and deserve to be on your ‘must-try’ list. Here are a couple of recommendations to get you started, with more available at danthewineguy.com:
Wit Cellars 2019 “Unleashed” Sparkling Pinot Grigio
Delicate floral aromatics, gentle lead-off fruit flavors of apricot and apple, and notes of minerality and field grasses fill the glass. The finish is highlighted with bracing acidity and crisp citrus, making it a perfect pairing partner for anything from fried chicken to sushi to caviar and sour cream on toast points. It’s a versatile sparkler that shouldn’t be limited to special occasions, and a great alternative to much pricier Champagnes.
Wit Cellars 2017 Syrah
This fruit-forward Syrah, co-fermented with a splash of Viognier, explodes with aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry, fig, and spiced black plum. The brambly fruit components melt into a finish with accents of warm baking spices that complement the wine’s luxurious, sexy mouthfeel. It’s instantly enjoyable and flat-out delicious.