“It’s been a long time coming but well worth the wait,” said Marcus and Trie Smith talking about the Grand Opening of their tasting room in downtown Manson that took place on July 22. “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 and wine art appreciation. Many items from local artists are on display and for sale. On the drawing board is food (the chef we hire will determine what we serve) and an opportunity to watch us make cider on site. We will have a movie screen and projector that can be used for many different events. We are a work in progress,” Marcus went on.
Marcus and Trie are a very interesting couple that have lived a full and rewarding life. 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, she is very happy about that.
I was very curious as to how this couple living in Woodinville could end up with a winery in Manson. Trie said, “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 they put their first wine into barrels with their first commercial sale 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 was a group of 12, very talented musicians that entertained the crowd. They played several different instrument 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, we were the lucky ones!
Summer hours are Thursday – Monday 3:00 to 8:00. Cheval Cellars is a welcome addition to Manson and we look forward to watching their business evolve into something special.
By Norm Manly