Friday, June 30, 2006

Winemaker Comes Out Of The Closet

Don Redman, of Mannina Cellars, had been making wine in his closet for several years. Just recently he decided to "come out of the closet" and open his own winery.

Don, with a background in chemistry, moved to the Walla Walla Valley to work as an Environmental Engineer with Boise Cascade. Through church, Don met Chris Figgins of Leonetti Cellars and the two men became friends. After an introduction to the valley's wine by Chris, Don, using his chemistry background, started his new hobby -- making wine in his closet.

Last month, during Spring Release weekend, Don finally came out of the closet and released his first wines. Mannina Cellars is a small family run winery. Don's goal is to specialize in small lots of premium red wines. Recently released is a Merlot and Sangiovese - 2004. Next year, Don is looking towards releasing his 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon and eventually a small lot of red table wine will be released.

Don has many goals for his winery. Mannina was named after his maternal grandmother who emigrated to the United States from Italy. Keeping the winery in the family, Don hopes that eventually his twin brother will join him in the family wine business. Another goal, that Don shared with me, is that sometime this summer he is hoping to open a tasting room in the downtown Walla Walla area.

I like Don's approach to winemaking. He believes in a hands off approach and to let the fruit show him the way. After tasting the Mannina wines, I am grateful to the grapes who showed Don the way out of the closet, so everyone will be able to enjoy these fruit forward and elegant wines.

Don and Nicole with their family of future winemakers.

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