Haladay family joins Walla Walla Vintners
Scott Haladay of Lake Oswego is starting a second career.
After 20 years working in the technology sector, including 10 years developing and implementing software for beverage distributors, he has entered the wine industry. Last month he and family members became part owners of Walla Walla Vintners.
Walla Wall Vintners was founded in 1995 by Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri. The duo began making wine together more than 35 years ago and over the course of these decades have made a strong impact on the Walla Walla winemaking community. Anderson founded the local community college's enology and viticulture program and served on the board that developed the Wine Alliance. He was inducted into the Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame in 2011, and awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wine Grape Growers in 2014. After this long and prestigious career, Anderson retired at the end of February, and the Haladay Family stepped in.
Halady started looking for a winery last summer.
"My family and I had been searching for a winery for a while when we were introduced to Gordy and Myles last summer, and immediately knew we had found something every special here," he said. "The opportunity to work with and learn from Gordy is especially exciting for me given his wealth of knowledge. Together we will focus our efforts on maintaining many important traditions like our pioneering history, elegant winemaking and humble approach, while enhancing our customer experience."
Haladay said they were drawn to the Walla Walla area because of the variety of wines produced, the lack of traffic, the people and the scenic beauty of the area.
"Traffic in the Willamette Valley is becoming an issue," he said. "And I really enjoy the diversity of the wines made in Walla Walla and the cooperative spirit of the winemaking community."
For tourists, Haladay says Walla Walla has it all. Getting to the region is easy, via three direct flights from Seattle each day, or an easy car drive from Portland. Gourmet dining and overnight accommodations are plentiful.
"You can have a very special experience year-round," he said. "Come in the fall, winter or spring and avoid other travelers. We have beautiful restaurants like Saffron which serves Middle Eastern foods, and great accommodations, even air b-and-bs. It's a great community. Only about 30,000 people live here and they either work at the prison, Whitman College, are wheat farmers or work in the wine industry."
And then there are the views.
"The Blue Mountains are spectacular," Haladay said. "That's what I get to view every day."
Haladay will oversee strategy, branding, marketing and sales for WWV. His initial plans include refreshing the winery's packaging, updating the iconic red barn tasting room with new interior comforts and adding outdoor entertaining spaces.
Anderson will remain an ambassador for the winery.
"After over 35 years of making, serving and promoting wine, it's time for me to focus on sharing it with friends, family and our customers," Anderson said. "I'm thankful for what Walla Walla is today and I am looking forward to enjoying the next chapter."
So is Haladay.
"I'm bringing business skills that will marry well with Gordy's winemaking skills," he said.
Haladay encourages wine enthusiasts to come east and explore the Walla Walla American Vinicultural Area (AVA), which was established in 1984. It is located within the Columbia River AVA and includes about 150 wineries and more than 1,466 vineyards. Cabernet sauvignon is the leading varietal while Merlot, Chardonnay and Syrah are other predominant varieties. Gewurztraminer, cabernet franc, Sangiovese, Grenache, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Viognier are also grown.
"We won't be talking about clones and dirt here," Haladay said. "We'll be talking about varietals, locations and blends. Be a creature of variety rather than of habit!"
Locally you can purchase Walla Walla Vintners wines at Zupan's Lake Grove market and at Wizer's Fine Wines. Haladay says the wines are "reasonably priced" - from the mid-$20 to under $50.
To learn more visit wallawallavintners.com.