Merlot Mania and Thankfulness


I had dinner at one of the most fantastic restaurants, Saffron, sat at the table next to Dusted Valley’s founder, Chad Johnson, had dinner with Duckhorn’s winemaker and operations manager, Renee Ary and Val Blankenbiller and Canvasback’s winemaker (and my husband) Brian Rudin.  It was a blast.  Renee and Val are in town for the Celebrate Walla Walla weekend, focused on Merlot and it looks to be a fun and educational weekend.

6 stack

Both Chris and Island Ainsworth stopped by to tell us the exciting news that they are expanding Saffron into their other location next door.  The air sweated with jovial levity, artistry, delicious tastes and smells and an overall feeling that we are some of the luckiest bastards around- to be able to have landed where we did.  There are only so many artists in this world who can do just that- the talent exceeds the demand.  How we were able to sneak by and dedicate our lives to merlot, cabernet, malbec, syrah, a burgeoning valley, delicious foods created by never before seen combinations of spices and love- is still a mystery to most if not all of us.

Renee will be one of the panel speakers on Merlot this weekend and Doug and Jan will be pouring some delectable TERO Estates wines at a T. Maccarone’s dinner on Saturday night.  Tickets for that and almost everything else are sold out throughout the weekend, but if you are still looking to get in on the fun, visit the “Celebrate” website at:

dusty peeps in vines

If we missed you this weekend, be sure to stop by sometime this summer.  See you soon, Ashley