My August trip to Walla Walla included one or two unexpected surprises; right at the top was Valdemar Estates. A unique Walla Walla winery in several ways–from the full restaurant on site (their food was excellent, especially the jamon Iberico!) to the side-by-side complement of Washington and Spanish wines available, made by the same family.
My favorite of their domestic wines (the Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva was similarly outstanding) was this: Entre Nosotros Red Mountain 2018. This bottling continues a recent trend of wineries taming the tannins of Red Mountain–in fact, I think the wine world can stop the generalizations about Red Mountain’s burly tannins...but that’s another few paragraphs for another day.
Richly decadent, with expressive aromatics, it bursts with black cherry cream and cassis. Accents of warm earth, vanilla bean, and pipe tobacco round out the show. Flashy enough to drink on its own, balanced enough to enjoy with whatever you like to eat alongside your Cabernet. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot.
More about the Valdemar wineries, here and abroad: In 2019 Valdemar Estates became the first internationally owned winery to open in Washington state. It is one of the few wineries in the U.S. that has a full restaurant, as well as a tasting room. Valdemar Estates is owned by Valdemar Family, which operates in Rioja, Spain and has been making wine since 1889
In 2018, Bodegas Valdemar (in Rioja) became the first winery in Europe to offer a 100-percent inclusive wine tourism experience, an initiative that has earned numerous awards. And now, we are pleased to announce that Valdemar Estates in Walla Walla has implemented extensive measures to ensure that guests of all ages–regardless of ability–can enjoy their visit.
Efforts to be 100% inclusive and accessible include:
- Use of QR codes throughout the building, which link to web pages that relate information via American Sign Language, dictation, and text
- Braille wine and food menus
- Signs, menus, and tasting notes designed to be readable by those with low vision
- Wine tasting notes that use icons and easy-to-understand descriptions of flavors and aromas
- Availability of Braille labels for wine bottles
- Fully inclusive and accessible tours
- Shatterproof wine glasses and hands-free holders
- Wheelchair availability
- Staff member training for serving guests of all ability levels
Endeavoring to bridge Old World and New World winemaking traditions, the family has built a partnership with the Washington State University Viticulture and Enology Program. Spanish grape varieties from the family’s vineyards in Spain have been brought to WSU to be studied, with the hope that they can be made available to the public for planting. This partnership with WSU will soon foster an intern exchange program, where students from Spain will work in U.S. vineyards and wineries and vice versa. This partnership will be an incredible opportunity for both Rioja and the Walla Walla Valley for many years.
About the family: In 1889, Joaquin Martínez Bujanda began the family winemaking tradition in Oyón, a small town in Northern Spain. His son, Marcelino, and his grandson, Jesús, followed in his footsteps. Jesús' son, Don Jesús Martínez Bujanda, created Bodegas Valdemar in the 1980s.
His son, Jesús Martínez Bujanda (5th generation), is the current CEO of the family’s winemaking business, and his sister, Ana Martínez Bujanda, is the Director of Marketing for Bodegas Valdemar.
Jesús fell in love with the Walla Walla Valley while he was a student at the University of Washington. His passion for winemaking and for the valley led him to create Valdemar Estates.
Jesús lives with his wife, Conchita Sánchez Sarabia, and his two children, Teresa and Jesús (6th generation), in Walla Walla. Since then, we have created some of the finest examples of Spanish wine at Bodegas Valdemar. Today, Jesús Martínez Bujanda and his sister, Ana Martínez Bujanda, represent the fifth generation to lead the family business. Together, they opened Valdemar Estates, the first internationally owned winery in Washington state. It is here where they are making their mark on the family’s legacy of innovation while pursuing their passion for wine.