In 1982, Mike and Ellena Conway established Latah Creek Wine Cellars with a goal to bring affordable, award-winning wines to the Inland Northwest. Thirty-seven harvests and 36 years later, they, along with their winemaker daughter Natalie Barnes, continue that mission. As Natalie says, “We continue to strive for that same goal, which allows people to drink award-winning wine every day, not just on special occasions. To us, every day is special.”
When Latah Creek first opened, it was only the 35th winery in Washington state; today there are more than 900!
“I love being part of a longstanding family winery. When I actually take the time to reflect on this, I am deeply honored that I get to carry on my parents’ legacy,” says Natalie.
At Latah Creek, Natalie, Ellena and Mike never compromise their standards. Three-plus decades later, they continue to make remarkable wines. What Natalie finds most rewarding is “to know that I have created something that not only makes people smile, but it is also something they can enjoy for years to come.”
Over the years, the winery has continually been acknowledged through various prestigious awards; Natalie’s most exciting? When Wine Enthusiast rated their 2004 Riesling at 90 points, which was Natalie’s first year as winemaker. Another unforgettable recognition was more recent, when Latah Creek’s current moscato was awarded Best of Class and the Chairman’s Award at an international competition, competing with hundreds of wines from all across the world!
Natalie’s favorite wines currently at the winery are their Reserve Tempranillo and Rosé of Malbec. “I have loved every moment of making our Reserve Red wines because it has allowed me to work with varieties that aren’t well-known to most people; tempranillo being one of these. This wine tastes ancient, like it is from Old-World Europe, and I just love it,” she says. “Our Rosé of Malbec was new for us last year; something I’ve wanted to do for some time. I love the intensity of the fruit and flavors in our malbec, but I wanted something to enjoy on a hot summer day on my back deck. I looked in the market and found only a few rosés that use malbec, so my dad and I decided to devote part of our 2016 vintage malbec grapes to rosé. The result is a marvelously refreshing wine that is unique, which is something I very much enjoy.”
Each year, Latah Creek participates in ValenWine Weekend (February), Spring Release Weekend (May) and Holiday Wine Fest (November). In addition, they hold four annual events exclusive to the winery: February Case Sale, Anniversary Celebration in July, Harvest Open House in October and 12 Days of Gifting in December.
Natalie, Mike and Ellena are not slowing down anytime soon. Grab a glass and be ready to enjoy more affordable, award-winning wines, with additional unique varietals, from Latah Creek for years to come.
Latah Creek Wine Cellars
13030 E. Indiana Ave.