Though Washington has garnered much-deserved attention as a major player in the craft brew and winery scene, the city of Lakewood is not the first to come to mind when thinking of these culinary arts. Those who have visited know that Lakewood is primarily what one would consider a concrete jungle lined with businesses of all sorts, homes and snakelike throughways that lead in all directions. Sweeping vineyards and lush delicious grapes are not a part of the scenery, yet Lakewood does in fact host an exquisite winery in Stina's Cellars.
Since 1997, owner and winemaker Perry Preston has been making delightful boozy grape juices. He went commercial in 2005 with a University Place establishment and later moved to larger digs in Lakewood. As a small, family-owned winery, Stina's produces about 1,000 cases of wine a year, some of which are exported to as far as China. Preston informs me that at any given time, Stina's Cellars has nine to 12 varietals available in the tasting room with a price range of $15 to $65 per bottle.
On the most recent horizon, you can sip on one of its four new releases, including its Pomegranate Dessert Wine ($27 per bottle). Sourced 100 percent from the pomegranate fruit, this wine tested at 93 points and features "bright ruby color, lively aromas and flavors of pomegranate sorbet, praline, cocoa, and delicate herbal bark with a silky, bright, fruity and sweet medium body and smooth finish with shades of tomato chutney, strawberry rhubarb jam and earthy cucumber salad. An intriguing, purely flavored, well-made fruit wine suggested to try in cocktails or as an amaro of sorts," according to Preston.
With all of those lovely taster notes, I envision post-Christmas meal, dessert-y nightcaps or ugly sweater party sippings.
Currently, this varietal is available for purchase at the winery in Lakewood. It will also be available at the Proctor Farmer's Market on Dec. 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"In addition to the Pomegranate, Stina's has released a 2012 Petit Verdot that received ninety-four points, a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon that received ninety-one points and a dry Semillon that they have not gotten results on yet," Preston said. "Also coming this spring we will be releasing a dry 2013 Riesling, which has become my wife's new favorite - a 2012 Malbec and a Semillon Ice Wine."
During the month of December winos, uh, lushes, I mean wine connoisseurs and sippers can expect Stina's Cellars to be open an extra day a week. That means from Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., you can visit the tasting room and sample the wares to decide which varietals are the best stocking stuffers for your wine-loving loved ones.
Also, from Dec. 3 to 20, Stina's is celebrating its "12 Days of Stina's Christmas" events. This means special festivities and discounts throughout. The best way to stay up to date is to sign up for the newsletter or "like" them on Facebook.
Added bonus: the tasting room is available for group events and fundraisers, which makes it a perfect venue for a holiday gathering or event where you want folks to walk away with the warm and fuzzies (a side effect of both generosity during the season and a good buzz). And for those truly dedicated, Preston tells me, "We have a growing wine club that is customer's choice instead of the typical winemaker's choice," which is like the gift that keeps on giving.
STINA'S CELLARS, noon to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, also Wednesday through Dec. 20, 9316 Lakeview Ave. SW, Ste B, Lakewood, 253.227.9748 or stinascellars.com