The multi-generational family-owned and run Claar Cellars estate graces the hillsides of the impressive Columbia River valley. Their bold red lion insignia blazons across a large water barrel outside their tasting room. Surrounded by pretty purple wildflowers and bright red roses, the vineyard sweeps across the horizon. They are known for their high-quality fruit and dedication to producing some of the finest wines in the country.
Their first vines were planted in 1980, along the southwest slopes of the rolling 120-acre property. For over a decade, the vineyard provided fruit to established local wineries such as Chateau Ste. Michelle and Washington Hills. They also supplied to other wineries across the country. They began painstakingly converting their nearly 90-acres of orchards into vineyard. In 1997, they established their own winery and began processing and bottling their own wines. In 1999, they added a large climate controlled Barrel Building, which holds hundreds of barrels stacked floor to ceiling. In 2012, they expanded again to include a separate state-of-the-art storage facility.
Claar Cellars prides themselves on their sustainable green practices and environmental certifications. They have Low-Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) and Salmon Safe certifications and use ground water to cool their buildings. While they machine harvest their newer plantings, they hand harvest the older vines.
A part of the beautiful White Bluffs region, the vineyard has some of the most ideal wine grape growing conditions in the state. It sits about 500 feet above the valley. Their premium estate grown grapes include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Sangiovese. They have recently planted four additional varieties including Viognier, Malbec, Pinot Gris, and Petite Sirah.
Their estate whites consist of a Riesling Ice Wine, Late Harvest Riesling, Riesling, Un-oaked Chardonnay, Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio. Their reds include a Sangiovese, Cabernet-Merlot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, “Fouled Anchor” Port, and platinum award-winning 2010 Syrah.
They offer a wine club for fans willing to commit to 8 bottles, shipped in pairs quarterly. Members enjoy a 15% discount on all vintages including new releases and special holiday packages. They also include a newsletter, invitation to events and an annual club member dinner, often held in mid-March.
Visitors can expect to sample the best of the best as Claar Cellars compares their newest wines in development to that of their competition in blind-tastings. This is to ensure they’re creating some of the highest quality and desirable wine on the market. Their winery overlooks the gorgeous vineyard and breathtaking desert landscape of the valley; guests can make out Red Mountain in the distance.