The Balboa winery operates out of its own tasting room at the Beresan winery, adjacent to Pepper Bridge, and recently opened a second outlet in downtown Walla Walla. Thomas Glase makes wines for both Beresan and Balboa, and the two brands nicely complement each other.
Virginie Bourgue arrived in Walla Walla six years ago with one of the more impressive wine resumés this town has ever seen. She was raised on a farm in Bonnieux (in Luberon, north of Provence), educated first at a viticulture and enology school in Avignon, went on to earn a master’s degree in enology in Champagne, next worked a year at Louis Roederer, another at Nicolas Feuillatte, and finally moved to the U.S. to do an internship at Ste. Michelle. Which led to an offer to become the winemaker for Bergevin Lane - all by the time she was 30 years old.
Wine books fall into simple categories.
1) Books for geeks – stuffed with technical information, poorly written, and boring to most readers.
2) Silly attempts to “demythologize” or “take the snobbism out of” wine – the what-wine-to-drink- with-what-food books really dominate this category.
3) Reference works – the really good ones make up most of my own bookshelf.
4) History/Human interest – fun to read if well done, though they don’t really add to your wine tasting ability.
5) Practical guidebooks for those wishing to tour wine country. These are gold, when the writer has truly logged the miles and done his/her homework. Back in the 1980s, the chroniclers of choice for the Northwest were Ronald and Glenda Holden, whose “Touring the NW Wine Country” books – first separate for Oregon and Washington, then combined – offered a gracious mix of history, personality, practical information, and savvy wine analysis. I still use them today when researching long-forgotten wineries and vineyards.
Though I am of the print generation, the possibilities opened up by blogging hold immense appeal for me. I do not believe that it’s an us vs. them, old vs. new, establishment wine writers vs. unfettered new bloggers stituation. We all have something to say, me included, and I love the open dialogue, the instant feedback, the pure freedom of blogging.