The People

The PeopleThe HistoryThe Vines
"We like nothing better than sharing the special beauty and fine wines here at Basel with others. Please come visit and experience it for yourselves. We look forward to meeting you and calling you friends."

Steve and JoMarie Hansen


After a career as a construction executive where Steve managed major bridge and highway projects throughout the country they are happy to be at Basel Cellars where they can combine their creative talents and business expertise with a passion for good wine.“Our first view of Basel Cellars was a December day when the vineyards and resort were covered in a layer of fresh white snow. We were awestruck by the beauty and then discovered that the wines were as delicious as the grounds were beautiful . We happily became partners. Fast forward to 2015 and many seasons later. We are still inspired by the beauty of the area and intrigued by the process of working together with our team to grow grapes and create exceptional wines from this rich land.“We are excited to introduce you to our terrific staff and share our delicious wines and spectacular scenery with you. Our goal is to give all of our visitors a memorable wine experience, whether they are opening a bottle of our wine in their own home, visiting for an afternoon or spending the night at the estate.”
"It’s no secret that a good glass of wine starts in the vineyard. We are constantly evaluating our growing practices in order to deliver the highest quality grapes to the winery."

Ryan Sams

Estate Vineyard Grower / General Manager

"I was raised on a family farm in the Walla Walla Valley and have tended orchard and fruit crops for as far back as I can remember. I joined Basel Cellars in the spring of 2007 and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I focus my time among the vines of our estate property, along with the blocks we manage throughout eastern Washington. I’ve spent a fair amount of time working in the winery to gain a full appreciation of the process. This gives me the vision I need in the vineyards, because I know what Dirk is looking for in the fruit. It allows me to grow the highest quality grapes in the Walla Walla Valley."
"When I drive through the front gates here at Basel I feel honored and proud to be a part of this team. It’s awesome that Steve and Jo Marie are giving us the opportunity to express our abilities and talents every day!"

Dirk Brink


"I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa and was always surrounded by vineyards and wineries from a young age. I was always very intrigued by the winemaking process. I think my dad’s love for farming and agriculture and my moms patience and attention to detail stuck with me. I studied viticulture and enology in South Africa, and during this time worked at the world renowned Vergelegen and Delheim wine estates. I did my first winemaking Internship at Ingwe Wine Estate in South Africa, and came to the states in 2004 and started internships with Chateau St. Michelle, Bookwalter and then moved on to Assistant Winemaker at Kestrel Vintners and then Winemaker at Coeur d’ Alene Cellars before I came to Basel Cellars."

"I met my beautiful wife Esther in 2005 working at Chateau St. Michelle and got married in 2012. We have one daughter named Anna Marie Lente, a true miracle and blessing from God. We also have an energetic Rhodesian Ridgeback called Cayenne that keeps us on our toes. We enjoy the outdoors, cooking, creating and living life to the fullest every day, and love the God that gave it to us!"
"After 18 Years of owning and operating restaurants on the West Side I’m now living my dream life here in wine country."

Josh Wood

Hospitality Manager
Joshua “Woody” Wood is the Hospitality Director at Basel Cellars Estate Winery & Resort in Walla Walla, WA. Prior to joining the Basel Cellars team, he spent more than 18 years as a restauranteur in the Puget Sound area.

Originally from University Place, WA, Woody now makes his home in Walla Walla with his four children and the love of his life. Woody has earned multiple awards in the restaurant business including the Golden Fork Award as well as the Ambassador of the Year for a large restaurant group in the South Puget Sound. Woody’s passion for wine was born over nearly two decades of crafting exceptional fine dining experiences for his restaurant guests, with special attention made to procuring the best wines in the world and marrying them with the gourmet creations born in his kitchens.

When Woody’s not working you can find him at the golf course, preparing gourmet meals at home, exploring the Walla Walla wine scene, cheering on the Seahawks, or playing any one of his favorite lawn games (namely bocce ball and corn hole) for cash! Woody is well known in the Walla Walla valley for his fun­loving demeanor and passion for creating a world­class hospitality experience for all the guests who pass through the winery at Basel Cellars, whether it’s organizing private chef tasting dinners, scheduling hot air balloon rides, or booking tee times.
"If you have a favorite restaurant or wine shop where you would like to purchase Basel Cellars wines, send me an email and we will do our best to make that happen."

Leo Kirk

Director of Sales
"I am a native of the Napa Valley where I grew up a sports fanatic. I learned fractions and percentages at an early age by studying batting averages on baseball cards. I soon learned that it was a good thing I didn’t need Algebra to figure out batting averages.I attended U.C. Berkeley where I earned a degree in English Literature, graduating 'Magna Cum Barely.'  While I hoped to become a famous 'man of letters' and write a great American novel, I have become infamous for crafting humorous family Christmas letters.

Growing up in Napa I was practically bottle fed Cab, so after a career as a sports marketing executive, I have worked in the Washington wine industry for fifteen years. Our winemaker, Dirk, and I have collaborated in the past, and I feel very fortunate to market and sell the wines he creates. Steve and JoMarie Hansen, Ryan, Dirk and the entire staff at Basel have built a fantastic culture and I feel blessed to be part of the team.

I met the love of my life, Linda, in 1979 in Spokane and we have been creating our own love story for thirty seven years, although I am certain I haven’t aged like a fine wine."
"I truly believe that Basel Cellars offers world-class wine accompanied by unprecedented customer service. I love working at Basel Cellars because of the fun and friendly customers I get to meet and the fantastic team of people I get to work with that bring our vision to life every day!"


Walla Walla Tasting Room Manager/
Wine Club Manager
"I was born and raised in Walla Walla, Washington and attended Washington State University, where I graduated with a degree in Social Sciences.

Growing up in the heart of Washington wine country, I learned to appreciate the magic of good food and wine at a young age. I was fortunate to work at Basel Cellars as a Tasting Room Associate during college, but then left to finish my degree in Pullman. When I returned to Walla Walla and decided to pursue a career in the wine industry, I was overjoyed at the opportunity to return to Basel Cellars as the Tasting Room and Wine Club Manager. I truly believe that we have the very best team of people, from the vineyard and winery, to the Tasting Room and Estate House; there is absolutely no place I would rather work! My husband and I have a beautiful and energetic five year-old daughter. She keeps us laughing and busy every single day. When I’m not working at Basel Cellars you can find me relaxing with family and friends, sharing laughs and good wine.

I look forward to sharing my knowledge and passion for wine with you!"
"I love showing up to work every morning, there’s a great vibe, incredible people, and I enjoy seeing the fruit of our work every day on the estate grounds and in the vineyard."

Mariano Diaz

Vineyard Foreman

"I was born in Michoacán, Mexico and raised in Walla Walla, where my family moved when I was 2 years old. Not long after graduating from Mac-Hi I began working at Basel Cellars.

I grew up in the valley and spent a lot of time in the orchards as a young man. Prior to Basel I worked for Appellation Management Group, it was a great experience getting to know the technical and scientific aspects of plant growth and management, particularly fruit. With the continued growth of the wine industry, I chose to set my sights on vineyard management, and began pursuing a career taking care of vineyards. I struck gold in 2010 when I was hired by Basel Cellars to assist in the vineyard.Since that time I’ve learned a great deal about wines, and how it truly does begin on the vine. We take great care to ensure the winery receives the best possible fruit, and are very hands-on throughout the process. I’m always thrilled to see the entire sequence unfold, and find myself continually impressed with the people that guide a process that I’m so fortunate to be a part of."

Kevin Steffanson

Multimedia / Woodinville Tasting Room
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."

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.

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

2901 Old Milton Hwy
Walla Walla, WA 99362


15029 Woodinville-Redmond Rd #400
Woodinville, WA 98072
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