“It’s been a long time coming but well worth the wait,” said Owners Marcus and Trie Smith talking about the Grand Opening of Cheval Cellars Tasting Room in downtown Manson that took place on Saturday, July 22, 2017.
“We plan to make this a fun place for the entire family. We will offer bocce ball (pétanque if you know French), board games, yoga, wine, and art appreciation,” Marcus Smith said. “Many items from local artists are on display and for sale. On the drawing board is the food menu (the chef will determine what we serve), and there will be an opportunity to watch us make cider on site. We plan to have a movie screen and projector that can be used for many different events. We are a work in progress.”
Marcus was an architect, specializing in educational businesses. In the mid-90’s, he retired as an architect and switched careers working as a computer design consultant. Trie was the founder, co-owner and program director of Countryside Montessori School in Kirkland. When she retired, her son Evan and his wife took ownership of the school.
Trie explained how she and Marcus, who were both living in Woodinville, ended up owning a winery in Manson. “It all started with a trip we took to France in 2001. We loved everything about the wineries, and when we returned home we started an exhausting search for the perfect place for a winery. We looked everywhere! We were attending the Bellevue Home Show and met a Realtor from the Chelan area, and the rest is history. We purchased our property on Kinsey Road in Manson in 2003.”
Their property measures 120 acres with five acres in grapes that were planted in 2004. In 2010, the Smiths put their first wine into barrels with their first commercial sale in July 2017. Cheval Cellars offers estate produced wine, hard cider and apple cider from fruit they grow, tend, harvest and bottle by hand.
Currently, they bottle six different red wines, with “Barrel 14” their best seller, a Syrah-dominant blend with small additions of other varietals aged over 24 months in neutral French oak barrels. On average they produce 600 cases of wine a year.
Highlighting the Grand Opening of Cheval Cellars was a group of 12 talented musicians called A Sack of Hammers that entertained the crowd. They played several different instruments and sang a variety of music including blues, country and folk. Several of the musicians play professionally, but the entire group of 12 only gets together once a year, making the guests at Cheval Cellars on Saturday the lucky ones.
Summer hours at the new Cheval Cellars Tasting Room are Thursday through Monday 3- 8 p.m. They are located at 14 Wapato Way in downtown Manson.
(By Norm Manly)