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A Taste of Walla Walla Wine at Karen LaBonte’s Trio Vintners…

April 6, 2011

The Spring Tourist season is upon us here in the Valley of the Two Wallas!  The first “official” event of the Season is “Feast Walla Walla” this Saturday, April 9 (2011).  This event features local food, art, and wine all under one big tent in Downtown WW.

However, the event that I am looking forward to is actually on Thursday, April 7th. That is the opening of the Trio Vintner’s tasting room under the new ownership of Karen LaBonte.  The tasting room is in the historic Drumheller Building, 102 South Second Street (between Poplar and Alder) in downtown WW.

Wine labels during bottling...

Back when I was growing up (in Walla Walla) Drumhellers was primarily a hardware store that eventually developed into an outdoor (hunting and fishing) store.  All of the Drumhellers eventually retired, the building was sold, and then it was developed into commercial spaces.

Karen’s tasting room is locating in the “nuts and bolts” section of the old hardware store.  Back in the day, there were bins of hardware that were stacked completely to the ceiling and it took one of those sliding ladders to get to the top.  The especially great thing (to a male pre-teen) were the multiple holes drilled in the floor that had ropes and chains of different sizes poking through them – the rope and chains were stored in the basement – how cool!  It sounded like Halloween every time they pulled the chain up from the basement.

Karen purchased Trio Vintners in January 2011 and she has been looking forward to the opening of the tasting room ever since.  Mike Locati (Locati Cellars) remarked this morning:  “Karen has been held back long enough – she is ready to go!  Just stand back or get run over!”

Karen has been passionate about wine her entire adult life and passionate about antiques as long as she can remember.  Just ask her about her antique French grape picking basket – well maybe not if you are in a big hurry. Karen loves to tell the basket story.  In fact that is just exactly what you will love about her too – her passion!

I was fortunate to be invited to Karen’s first Trio Vintners wine bottling about a month ago.  She had over a dozen friends volunteer to help her and the atmosphere was electric!  I was amazed at the passion and the love, not to mention the wine that was packaged into each bottle.

Karen during Bottling...

I highly recommend visiting Trio Vintners this weekend (or the next time that you visit WW).  Then when you get home, you can share a bottle (or two) of Trio wine with your friends while you describe your visit with Karen.  As for me, I’m going to enjoy watching Trio Vintners grow and develop under Karen’s ownership.

Trio Bottling...

Trio Vintners tasting room is open from Thursday through Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.

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