Toast Burien’s E.B. Foote Winery As It Celebrates 30 Years March 27-30
Burien’s own E.B. Foote Winery is celebrating 30 years in business this year with new releases and old favorites at its Anniversary Celebration, March 27-30.
Boeing engineer Gene Foote started the winery in South Seattle in 1978, at a time when Washington state had only six other wineries.Â Foote carved out a reputation for interesting and careful wines, but decided to retire from the business and sold it to Sherrill Miller and Rich Higginbotham in 1991.
Washington still only had 35 wineries at this time.
â€œIt was a big deal when Washington had 50 wineries, and it was not thought that we would have many more than 100 wineries.Â What a difference 30 years makes,â€ Miller says.
The couple mortgaged their house and came up with the money to buy the winery, which was then in a warehouse in South Park.Â Neither had ever made wine before.Â Gene Foote worked with them the first year, and after that, they were on their own.Â Having been serious wine drinkers, they knew how they wanted the wine to taste but had to learn what to do–things like contracting with top-quality grape growers, what flavors oak barrels impart to a wine, and sales and marketing.Â While learning the ins and outs of winemaking and the wine business, they began to develop the distinctive character of their product that has since earned so many awards and high ratings from wine festivals and publications around the country.
Miller and Higginbotham moved the winery to Burien in 1999.
â€œWe needed a bigger location and one that was a little easier to find,â€ Miller says of the Burien site.
Tucked away in a warehouse underneath a strip mall, for some years, as news of the winery leaked out, people were often heard to remark â€œThereâ€™s a winery in Burien?â€
Increasingly, however, people know about E.B. Footeâ€™s offerings, from its distinctive Sweet Sherrill dessert wine to its full line of remarkable reds.Â The reds in particular continue to bring home awards and honors from wine festivals across the country.Â Â It is featured at a number of local restaurants and wine shops.
The walls of the winery are covered with awards, including a Platinum Award for their 2000 Syrah from Wine Press Northwest magazineâ€™s Best of the Best judging; 91 points from Wine Spectator for their 1998 Cabernet Reserve; and Gold Medal and Best Washington Wine award for their 2004 Perfect Ã Trois.
But the wine that most often piques customersâ€™ interest is the Sweet Sherrill.Â Sweet Sherrill started out as a Chardonnay, but Sherrill made a couple of mistakes.
â€œBacchus intervened to transform my unfortunate accident into a crowning achievement,â€ Miller says.Â â€œSince it was my mistake, we decided to name the wine Sweet Sherrill.Â I like to say â€˜The wine reflects the winemaker herself – a bit sweet but with plenty of complexity.â€™â€
Making wines that suit consumersâ€™ palates can be a challenge, Miller says.Â And most wine drinkers donâ€™t have the patience or the place to cellar wines for any length of time.
â€œAs a winemaker, I want my wines to be drinkable at release.Â Our reds will improve with a bit of age, but I donâ€™t want to wait 10 years for a wine, only to be disappointed,â€ she says.Â As a result, E. B. Foote wines are a balance of fruit, oak, tannins and acidity.
E.B. Foote Winery is rolling out new labels for its wines, and a new wine to celebrate the anniversary, Founderâ€™s Red.
â€œIt is a Cabernet Franc, a new varietal for us, and the label has Gene Foote’s picture on it,â€ Miller says.Â Mr. Foote will be on hand for part of the celebration.
The Spring Anniversary Celebration will include commemorative wine glasses for sale and anniversary cake, as well as tasting of E.B. Foote wines.
While developing the brand and the business, Miller and Higginbotham have attempted to make the winery a destination.Â The winery has hosted a variety of events, from fund-raisers to live theater to musical performances.Â They host private tastings for a variety of groups.Â The winery gift shop offers a variety of items, from wine glasses and bottle openers to clothing to decorative wine bottle bags.
Recently they also added a wine club, in which members get generous discounts and receive regular shipments of wine throughout the year.
E.B. Foote is open for tasting Tuesday and Thursday from 7-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Â The winery is located at 127-B SW 153rd St., Burien.
Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Winery
$5 tasting fee, applied toward wine purchase
Thursday, March 27, 5 pm – 9 pm
Friday, March 28, 11 am – 9 pm
Saturday, March 29, 11 am – 7 pm
Sunday, March 30, Noon – 6 pm
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the winery with the release of our limited release Founders Red. Our Founder, Gene Foote, will join us for most of the weekend.Â Kerry Smith, our Artist-in-Residence, will have paintings, prints and cards available for purchase.Â Truffles from Chocolate Serenade will also be for sale.Â Enjoy wine tasting, snacks and anniversary cake.Â Get a friend or two and drop in during these hours, no reservations needed!Â The winery will be chilly so dress warmly and casually.
Scheduled for release:Â Limited release Founder’s Red (a Cabernet Franc)
E. B. Foote Winery
(206) 242-3852 – winery
(206) 715-3114 – direct