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Review: Zerba Cellars Tasting Room


Just south of Walla Walla across the WA-OR border on highway 11 is the Zerba Cellars tasting room. It is located inside a modern log cabin next door to one of their estate vineyards. On the Sunday I visited, Marilyn Zerba was pouring a broad flight of wines for about half a dozen folks, with everyone clearly having a good time.

I really enjoyed meeting Marilyn and hearing her story about how she and Cecil, her husband, were long standing nursery owners in the area who decided to go into the wine business about ten years ago. She did a great job not only describing each wine, but more importantly going beyond the bottle to connect me to the people and places behind each pour.

Be it with one of the three whites (viognier, semillon, blend) or five reds (syrah, cab sauv, cab franc, barbera, merlot) poured that day, Marilyn was eager to offer insights into where the grapes were grown, how they were cultivated, and what went into the winemaking.

At one point, she apologized for running out of crackers, which was no big deal. Overall, it was fun hearing the Zerba story told by one its founders. And Marilyn's sense of humor went a long way toward making folks feel welcome and relaxed.

Although the site off the main highway may not be the quintessential setting for a wine tasting experience, the log cabin offered a cozy and intimate ambience. I also liked the variety of stories, maps, and other features enabling visitors to learn more about Zerba without depending on whomever is pouring. However, the plethora of medals and other accolades were a bit much, as these never influence my opinion.

As a result of my visit, I ended up purchasing an '07 semillon, '06 syrah, and '06 cab franc. I look forward to opening these and sharing my experiences with each in the months ahead. In the meantime, check out the Zerba tasting room on your next visit to the Walla Walla Valley.


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