The passion for winemaking at the Reininger Winery shines through in their wine and in their story. Blendings at The Preserve can’t wait to introduce Northern Colorado to the winery and Walla Walla!
The Reininger story begins with Chuck’s early exposure to the great outdoors, sparking a deep connection to the natural world and a passion for adventuring among the elements of Earth. He loved the journey to the summit, the camaraderie, the thrill of discovery... the underlying connection always being the land itself. After spending years as a mountaineering guide on Mt. Rainer, Chuck developed a unique intuition about the environment that made him thirsty to find a new way to “bring the outside in.”
After deciding a brewery wasn’t the right avenue, Chuck began experimenting with home winemaking and advancing his wine education with courses at UC Davis. He officially caught the “wine bug” when he literally got his feet wet crushing grapes for long-time friends at renowned Waterbrook Winery. Sharing the bounty of nature and the excitement of crush solidified a desire to become a part of the winemaking world, in a place where Chuck recognized amazing potential.
Chuck and his wife, Tracy, moved to Walla Walla in 1997 to launch their dream of owning a premier winery in a promising AVA. Reininger was the tenth winery in Walla Walla and when they told the other nine wineries that they were going to source fruit just from Walla Walla, they told him he was crazy due to potential weather damage that can happen in the area. Luckily for us, he ignored them and was on the forefront of the beautiful tastes that Walla Walla fruit can produce.
Tracy & Chuck ran Reininger Winery together for five years, successfully growing the business as team of two before joining forces with Tracy’s brothers and parents, fourth and fifth generation wheat farmers in Washington and Oregon. Together in 2002, they launched their sister brand, Helix, which allows them to extend their geographical reach and produce wines using Columbia Valley fruits to produce wines that are stylistically different from Reininger.
Sophisticated yet restrained, Reininger wines are lovely upon release and age well for many years. Using fruit exclusively from Walla Walla, each bottle is a genuine representation of people and place. Chuck does not use heavy oak he wants people to be able to taste the grape, not the technique.
There are currently 25 wines between three labels available from Reininger and Blending at The Preserve is lucky enough to have the last of their 2014 Columbia Valley Merlot and the
Here’s a description straight from the mouth of Chuck Reininger:
“Though 2014 at the time was the warmest vintage on record, this Merlot was harvested at its normal time due to the vines attempt to conserve moisture by shutting down photosynthesis during periods of excessive heat. Such an ardent growing season blessed this Merlot with a nice garnet color and scents of dark red fruits, turmeric spice, cocoa, loamy earth and a touch of graphite. The soft structured, balanced palate has fine grained tannins and exhibits sturdy flavors of dark cherry, currant, and black plum with a pinch of spice and loam shadowed by lightly toasted oak. This wine is great with big, roasted tomato dishes."
And about that Chardonnay…
“The vines fired up early in 2016 thanks to an unusually hot, dry spring, eventually leading to an early harvest. July provided a respite with cooler, wet weather that remained through the end with intermittent bursts of heat. This clear straw, colored Chardonnay presents orchard and tropical aromas laced with minerality and notes of baking spice. Aged in a used French oak puncheon for nearly three years, its pleasing palate weight, accompanied with generous acidity, carries flavors of golden delicious apples, white pear, guava, a slice of pineapple, mineral notes of loam and basalt, and hints of wild flower honey.”
To learn more about Reininger or shop online, visit www.reiningerwinery.com.