Review: Kontos Cellars Winery
To see firsthand that starting a winery can be a full time family affair, all one needs to do is walk into a tasting room and see kids hanging out. Such was the case when I arrived at Kontos Cellars, where I had the privilege of meeting Chris Kontos and his young daughter working one Sunday afternoon in late March.
Kontos Cellars is one of several incubator wineries built in an identical group of buildings on the northeastern edge of the Walla Walla Regional Airport industrial park. Kontos and its neighbors each have a six year lease on their space, eventually giving it up to another upstart when they move on to a permanent location. It's a great idea and a wonderful way to showcase a group of wineries in one setting.
Kontos was offering several samples of wine, all at no charge, which included a chardonnay and viognier blend, a syrah, and a cab sauv, merlot, cab franc blend. While tasting the wines, Chris shared stories about how he and his brother, Cameron, the winemaker, started Kontos Cellars and their history in the Walla Walla Valley. I came to learn that the brother's father is Cilff Kontos, founder of Fort Walla Walla Cellars, a producer I have grown fond of these last couple of years.
Chris and Cameron Kontos are fifth generation residents of Walla Walla and second generation winemakers. I really enjoyed meeting Chris and tasting their wines, especially the Gossamer white blend, a bottle I purchased as a result of my visit. I also appreciated how Chris helped connect me to the people and places behind their wines, going beyond the bottle with each pour.