“That is so cool, he makes his own alcohol,” exclaimed Tim during a family reunion trip with Tracy’s extended family. That weekend in 1999 gave birth to a new Spokane winery. The journey would still take several more years, but by the fall of 1999 Tracy and Tim acquired some Walla Walla Cabernet, hit the books, talked with winemakers and began experimenting with making wine. Over the years, one wine turned into five different wines and by 2007, Nodland Cellars became Spokane’s lucky 13th winery. Those early pre-release years were all about education and refining the process. Classes at UC Davis, Walla Walla Community College and the “school of hard knocks,” says Tracy led to their passion for “creating a small amount of the best wine we can make.”
Tim and Tracy focus on one red wine each year. If the vintage is right, they’ll also produce a Riesling (but it sells out almost as soon as it’s bottled). Their Red Blend is a traditional, pre 1870 style, Bordeaux blend. They drive across the state to source all six original Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and even Carmenere. In a time when wine making can be very corporate and driven by profits and business efficiencies, every cluster of grapes is hand harvested, hand sorted, crushed, barreled, racked and bottled by Tim and Tracy. The majority of their fruit comes from one acre each at Pepperbridge and Seven Hills vineyards. Their blocks are next to the same blocks used by Leonetti, Reininger, and Pepperbridge.
Both Tracy and Tim said that their favorite part of the process is blending. Once the grapes have gone through their two years in oak, each wine is tasted and then mixed together like brush strokes on a canvas. As they blend they share thoughts and ideas and the picture comes together as a beautiful work of art. It’s not about slapping together traditional blending percentages. It’s about marrying the fruit together so that each showcase their strengths without overbearing the other.
Tim is a lawyer by day. When I asked what type of law he practiced, he joked, “very little.” Actually, Tim is a hard working, defense lawyer with an amazing reputation for integrity. Tim’s primary focus is DUI defense. The irony is not lost that Tim owns a winery AND defends those who drink and drive. Tim is also an accomplished jazz musician. While he is very skilled at everything he does, you can tell from talking with him that jazz and wine are his passions. Tracy is always hard at work at the tasting room and their 1200 square foot wine making facility. She is a talented artist. “I make wine, I drink wine, and I paint wine,” says Tracy. Often times you can arrive in the tasting room and find Tracy painting something new while Tim jams on his guitar. Tracy even puts a little bit of Nodland wine into every painting. The residue sentiment is collected when they clean the barrels and that dark inky purple paste is added to anywhere wine is used in a painting.
Tim’s love of jazz and Tracy’s love of art is how the Nodland Cellars label was born. They had an artist line up that they wanted to use, but as the time drew near, she disappeared on a walk about in Australia. Scrambling, Tim and Tracy discovered artwork by Tim Rogerson. As luck (or fate) would have it, Mr. Rogerson agreed to paint the label and created a beautiful image of Tim on guitar, and Tracy on the microphone (with a glass of wine in her hand).
The Nodland’s produce 400 cases per year and self distribute almost 100% of the product through their mailing list, tasting room and restaurants like Latah Bistro, Melting Pot, Beverly’s, Wild Sage, Nikos and local stores like Vino, Rocket Market, Bottles, Huckleberry’s and Wine Styles. Tim and Tracy would love to keep production low but are always looking to expand if the fruit is special. They may even consider moving from their current location (11616 E. Montgomery, in the Spokane Valley) if the right opportunity presents itself. The tasting room is open Noon – 4pm, until they sell out. Call ahead 509.927.7770.
The Current Line Up:
2005 Red Blend $35 (SOLD OUT)
2006 Red Blend $35
- 38% Cab Sauv, 28% Merlot, 14% Carmenere, 12% Cab Franc, 6% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot
2006 Reserve Cab (McClellan Vineyards) $45 – only 40 cases produced – REVIEWED HERE
- 94% Cab, 5% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot