The History

The PeopleThe HistoryThe Vines

Basel Cellars Estate Winery

The Estate House, which is now Basel Cellars Estate Winery, was completed in 1997 as a private home for the original owners who named it Double River Ranch. The home’s 13,800 square foot design is reminiscent of the casual grandeur found in American Lodges such as Timberline or Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite.

Basel Cellars had its beginnings in 2002. When the opportunity presented itself, local grape grower Greg Basel purchased the Estate House and the surrounding 85 acre Double River Ranch. At this site, he saw two vital components to create an estate winery.

The first:
Nature. The rich soil and the hilltop position between Yellowhawk Creek and the Walla Walla River made for the perfect vineyard site.

The second:
A man-made, 9600sq. ft., temperature controlled, subterranean structure (now referred to as "The Batcave") which had previously housed a car collection. The underground space was as perfect for winemaking as the caves of France! Plus, the idea of using the beautiful Estate home as a tasting room added to the appeal. And so, Basel Cellars Estate Winery was born when the Basel family began producing high caliber wines and transformed the stately lodge at the top of the hill into a wine country destination and event venue for many others to enjoy.

In 2004 the Basels invited Steve and Jo Marie Hansen, acquaintances from their earlier careers, to visit and see their young operation with an eye to becoming partners. It was a good match. Steve, a long-time construction manager of major bridge and highway projects in the western US, grew up in a farming family in Yakima and brought an entrepreneurial spirit with him along with a love for the sunny side of the state. They returned home to Vancouver, WA, thought it over and decided to become 50/50 owners. In 2011, Steve and Jo Marie began transitioning to full ownership of the Ranch and the Estate. They truly enjoy meeting guests and sharing with others the Basel Cellars wines and experiences that have captivated them since their first weekend.

Kevin Steffanson

Multimedia / Woodinville Tasting Room
Manager

kevin@baselcellars.com
Kevin was born and raised in the Walla Walla Valley. Immediately after high school he worked as a welder’s apprentice in Prineville, Oregon before returning home and discovering the wine industry. He didn’t work in the cellar or the vineyard (at least, not exclusively) but was more involved in the construction of local wineries and vineyards.  Just over a year later he ended up working as a temp on the bottling line at Basel Cellars and was hired for a full time position.

Kevin has been with Basel Cellars for a decade, gaining experience in the winery, vineyard, tasting rooms, and most recently taking over operations of the website, in-house design, social media, and marketing.
"I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve learned at Basel Cellars and how many great relationships I’ve made while working here."

The Vines

Everything starts in the vineyard. Traveling between our vineyards keeps our Vineyard Manager busy, but the time spent in the field, managing the land, examining and pruning each vine and cluster, expertly timing each harvest, gives Basel Cellars fruit that is balanced in acid and sugars, and exploding with flavor.

With such variety to pick and choose from, we are always in a great position to make some phenomenal blends, as well as the put together a reserve block from one year to the next. We maintain close partnerships with our growers with the focus being on soft farming and a gentle touch on the land and all of her creatures.




Double River Vineyard ( Basel Cellars Estate )

"DRV" is a 26-acre vineyard planted on the Double River Ranch, located at the west side of Highway 125 heading south towards Oregon on the Basel Cellars Estate Winery grounds.  The site was established in the spring of 2000 and is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon, Tempranillo, Cab Franc and Syrah. It sits at an elevation of around 900 feet and has many microclimates on the property, due to differences in exposure to sun and wind as well as soil composition. This provides us with many variances in flavor profile and varietal characteristics from block to block. A six million gallon pond was installed to provide enough water for irrigating the vineyard. The trellis systems used for Double River are Geneva Double Curtain (GDC) and Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP).




Wallula Vineyard

Considered by some to be the best vineyard site in Washington state, Wallula Vineyard is a picturesque growing location nestled high above the mighty Columbia River south of Kennewick.

The vineyard is planted on south-facing slopes which vary from 2% up to 30% grade and its perimeter totals 9 miles of varied terrain.  Of this perimeter, the shore of the Columbia River provides nearly 3.5 miles of waterfront. From the river’s edge at 320 feet above sea level, the property climbs a distance of nearly 3.5 miles to its peak elevation of 1367 feet. The lower elevations of the property provide ideal growing conditions for ultra-premium reds while conditions at the upper elevations allow for high quality whites to be grown. The river is of utmost importance as the water acts as a massive insulator where during the day heat accumulates quickly and at night it provides a cooling effect once the sun goes down.Wallula’s beauty as well as its suitability to winegrapes is due in part to the huge Missoula floods that raced down the Columbia River during the last ice age. The surging waters deposited Shano silt loam soils on the site, and carved the steep, basalt-rimmed canyon walls atop which the vineyards are planted.




McKinley Springs Vineyard

Established in 2002, McKinley Springs is dedicated to the craft and production of exceptionally balanced, flavorful wines. Internationally renowned, McKinley Springs winery has grown well, wisely sourcing fruit only from the family-owned estate that lies in the heart of the highly acclaimed Horse Heaven Hills AVA in southeastern Washington.

Stemming from 73 years of farming and 39 years of wine growing excellence, McKinley Springs grows over 20 varietals focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chenin Blanc, while also proudly and consistently supplying the most prestigious winemakers in the Pacific Northwest with award-winning fruit. The family’s dedication to quality has developed a stellar reputation by patiently transforming the 2800+ acre estate into one of the largest contiguous vineyards in the state of Washington.




Double Canyon Vineyard

Double Canyon Vineyard encompasses 90 acres of estate vines located in the heart of Horse Heaven Hills, six miles from the Columbia River. Situated roughly in the footprint of the original wheat crop circles that preceded the vines, the vineyard is planted densely at about 1,850 plants per acre—double the norm in Washington— in order to crowd the space and achieve less fruit per plant. Producing less fruit increases overall quality, as all of the plant’s resources are concentrated into fewer clusters.

Long sunny days set in contrast to cool evening temperatures create optimal conditions for the diverse clonal selections of Bordeaux varietals that grow here. The vineyard is primarily planted to a range of different Cabernet Sauvignon clones that have been selected for the characteristics they have displayed from the site over the past decade of winegrowing.

One of the striking features of Double Canyon Vineyard is its pristine condition. Will Beightol, the General Manager and Winegrower, has been with the project since its inception. A native of the neighborhood, he oversaw the original planting of the vines in 2007 and continues to manage the vineyard using a meticulous feedback loop system.




Phinny Hill Vineyard

This 450-acre vineyard is a family-run business that owners, Dick and Cheryl Beightol, hope will continue throughout the generations. Phinny Hill is located only six miles away from the Columbia River amongst multiple other long-standing vineyards in the Horse Heaven region. With easy access to their main water source, Brandon Beightol, vineyard manager, makes it his mission to use as little water as possible, and instead rely on the moisture from the soil.

The mix of soils that were produced in the area, dating back to pre-historic lava flows, are what make Phinny Hill a prime location for growing award-winning wine grapes. 23 wineries across the Pacific Northwest partner with Phinny Hill to make wine out of the vineyard’s eight unique varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah. Many wineries have chosen to work with Phinny Hill for years, because of the dedication that the Beightol family puts into creating meaningful partnerships, and allowing winemakers to be as involved in the grape-growing process as possible.

Walla Walla

509-522-0200
2901 Old Milton Hwy
Walla Walla, WA 99362

Woodinville

425-497-1910
15029 Woodinville-Redmond Rd #400
Woodinville, WA 98072
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