CrushBrew Talks with Patty Lynch of Amavi Cellars

Patty Lynch Amavi Cellars

Ideal climate and terrain, paired with a great tradition for making wine, make Washington state a prime location for wineries. Amavi Cellars is no exception. Run by a third-generation grape grower and winemaker, Amavi is committed to producing wines that are 100 % certified sustainable and 100 % estate (meaning the winery grows, produces and bottles their wines all within the state of Washington).

We talked to Patty Lynch, manager of Amavi Cellars, to find out about their choice to become a sustainable winery and what makes them different.

QUESTION: Can you tell us a bit about how Amavi got started?

Patty Lynch: Amavi Cellars is a sister winery to Pepper Bridge Winery. Our first vintage was in 2001, making us one of the oldest wineries in Walla Walla, Washington. The partners started Amavi Cellars to give our winemaker the opportunity to express Syrah [a dark grape variety that grows especially well in the Washington area]. Jean-Francois Pellet is the winemaker here, and at our sister winery, Pepper Bridge Winery. Being a third generation grape grower-winemaker from Switzerland, he was anxious to make a world-renowned Syrah. And he does!

QUESTION: Can you tell us a bit about your winemaking philosophy?

PL: Our winemaking philosophy is making the best wine possible, from our estate vineyards. These vineyards include (but are not limited to): Les Collines Vineyard, Pepper Bridge Vineyard, and Seven Hills Vineyard, which is part of our SeVein Vineyard project.

QUESTION: Can you tell us a bit about your flagship wine (the Syrah)?

PL: I can tell you everything about our Syrah! From the supple-dark color, the rich earthy flavor components, to the velvet finish, it’s a very special wine. I proudly encourage all wine drinkers, from the beginner to the most experienced to pour a glass and experience it for yourself. I know you’ll find our Syrah to stand alone!

QUESTION: Why did you choose to go with 100% sustainability (and what does that mean)?

PL: Going back to Jean-Francois roots, recycling is a must! Leaving the soil in better condition than when we came to it is also a must. We will never say we are organic, as we want to reserve the right to take care of any infestation that may occur, but we are ‘sustainable’, meaning we will only use farming practices that will be as gentle on mother earth as possible.

QUESTION: What does 100% estate grown mean and why did you choose to go that way? And is that part of what makes Washington-grown wines so different?

PL: 100% estate grown, means we have complete control over the vineyards. Farming, water, crop management are all within our control. And Washington grown wines are different simply due to the mechanics of our soil, and weather patterns. We have more heat units per season than California for example.

QUESTION: You make a nice variety of wines, from Cabernet to rose to blends, but you’ve also tried your hand at some unique choices, such as your ice wine. What made you decide to expand in so many different directions?

PL: I would say the #1 reason is our talented winemaker. When you have someone at the helm that is limitless, you simply know no limits. You try things that others may steer away from.

QUESTION: Is this world welcoming to new wineries and change?

PL: I feel it is. Wine is a very individual experience. Where it was rarely seen on the family dinner table 40 years ago, it is now a staple. More demand creates more opportunity.

Diana Bocco is a writer and author who writes for Yahoo!, the Discovery Channel website, Marie Claire, Poplar Mechanics, and more. You can find more about her work on her website dianabocco.com.

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