Led by Doug Frost, Master of Wine and Master Sommelier, and Conservationist Brad Bergman, Mill Creek is situated on 341 high-elevation acres with a dedicated production facility, hospitality center and barrel room under development in the foothills of the Blue Mountains
Echolands Winery of Walla Walla plans to open their new Mill Creek facility in time for fall 2023. The 341-acre site is located in the Mill Creek area of the Walla Walla Valley AVA in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, some of the highest elevations in Washington State. First announced in 2019, Mill Creek Road is the latest venture for co-owners Doug Frost, Master of Wine and Master Sommelier, and Conservationist Brad Bergman, who also own Taggart Vineyard in the SeVein Water Project. Mill Creek Road will house a dedicated winemaking, hospitality and barrel facility, and will assume all production for Echolands wines.
“From the outset, our new home in Mill Creek has impressed us as a special place to realize our vision for Echolands,” shares Doug Frost, CEO and Owner of Echolands Winery. “We’re surrounded by inspiring neighbors like Leonetti’s Mill-Creek-Uplands Vineyard, Aluvé, Walla Walla Vintners and aMaurice, who have paved the way to make incredible wines at the higher elevations in Walla Walla. Planting in this higher, cooler site will enable us to continue in the style we’ve established, with moderate alcohols and higher acids. Our new plantings, facilities and equipment will fall in line with our commitment to balance development with a living biome.”
“We knew Mill Creek was special from day one,” says Chairman Brad Bergman. “The southeast exposure of the property is perfectly situated with sweeping views of the Blue Mountains and rolling wheat fields. It reminds me of Tuscany meets the Sound of Music. I come from a long line of environmentally conscious nursery owners with a commitment to beautifying the planet and preserving earth’s unique places. Our goal is to draw on the differences in terroir between Mill Creek, the SeVein and local growers to develop a unique range of wines that reflect this spectacular place.”
The development of Mill Creek Road is led by Soderstrom Architects and Mountain States Construction Company. As of fall 2023, production facilities will debut with a 27,000-square-foot winemaking facility and barrel room equipped with closed-top stainless steel fermentation vessels of varying sizes, as well as open-top bins and smaller fermenters with an initial production capacity of 10,000 cases. All fruit will be hand-sorted upon arrival. The principal Mill Creek development area will also feature a spectacular hospitality center centered around a public tasting room, cantilevered over the winery grounds and outfitted with glass walls that offer a breathtaking view of the Blue Mountains. Additional plans include a separate 5,000-square-foot storage facility. The opening date of the hospitality center will be announced later this year.
The unique character of the Mill Creek area was a driving factor behind the Echolands site selection. Previously planted to grains and other crops, the Mill Creek property has been owned by the same family since the early 1900s. The site extends over 341 acres from 1,400 to 1,800 feet. The soils are principally silt-loam over basaltic bedrock with depths up to 12 feet. Echolands plans to develop the first 25 acres of vineyard along ideal hillside exposures with select Bordeaux varieties. Echolands also sources grapes from their own 50-acre Taggart Vineyard in the SeVein Water Project, supplemented by purchased grapes from Les Collines Vineyard and other premier growers. As new plantings come of age, the Echolands team will balance the differences in terroir offered by Mill Creek, the SeVein Water Project and local growers.
The Mill Creek Road facility will adopt proven sustainability initiatives first practiced at the Echolands Taggart Vineyard. No more than half of Taggart’s total acreage was planted to preserve the remainder for biodiversity growth and a living biome, including owl boxes, beehives and native plants. Mill Creek’s natural assets include a high amount of rainfall that allows for dry farming without irrigation, a key element of responsible water management. Taggart was one of the first vineyards to receive the “Sustainable Washington” certification, a designation that Echolands will also strive for at Mill Creek Road.
The property is located at 3281 Mill Creek Road and is owned by Walla Squared LLC.
About Echolands Winery
Echolands Winery was founded in 2018 by renowned wine expert Doug Frost, one of only three people in the world to hold both the Master of Wine and Master Sommelier titles, in partnership with investor and conservationist Brad Bergman. Winemaker Taylor Oswald manages vineyard relations and winemaking, working with Vineyard Manager Sadie Drury and North Slope Management to operate the 50-acre Taggart Vineyard within the SeVein Water Project, located on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley. The team is currently developing a 341-acre site in the Mill Creek area of the Walla Walla Valley AVA in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, one of the highest elevations in Washington State. Scheduled to be operational by fall 2023, Mill Creek will house a dedicated winemaking, hospitality and barrel facility. Visitors to Walla Walla are currently welcome to taste the full portfolio at Echolands’ downtown tasting room (7 West Alder St.)