It’s hard to believe that over 20 years have already gone by since Baer Winery was founded in July of 2000. It was another year until we were able to establish a production facility in Maltby, Washington. Then in 2003 after much excitement and trepidation, we held our first wine release event for a small group of interested wine drinkers we had come to know over the first few years of production. Much to our delight and relief, the 2000 Ursa, our first red blend and the only wine featured in that first release, was very well received and sold out immediately. Baer Winery has since been a staple in Washington state, and we are grateful to have such a fantastic team, wine club members, and fans that have been with us throughout the journey. We invite you to take a little nostalgic trip with us as we celebrate 20 years of Baer Winery.
The Early Years
Shortly after our first wine release event, SkyCity Restaurant in the Space Needle became the first restaurant to add Ursa to its wine list. Now, our wines can be found in wine lists across Pacific Northwest, as well as wine shops across North America including New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Montana, Wyoming, and Canada.
After experimenting with a number of great Washington vineyards in our early years and refining the Baer winemaking style, in 2004 we made a choice to work exclusively with fruit grown at Stillwater Creek Vineyard in the Columbia Valley, which is now known as the Royal Slope AVA. We also followed up the 2000 Ursa with Arctos in 2002 and in 2004, Shard. In 2007, following the unexpected and untimely loss of our co-founder and winemaker, Lance Baer, Erica Orr joined as our Consulting Winemaker, and we moved our production facility to Woodinville’s Warehouse District. With an increase in production and demand, the following year, we opened the tasting room that we’re currently in, right next door to our production facility. In 2009, we introduced the Star and Callisto red blends, exploring further expressions of our Merlot and Cabernet
Then to Now
As we moved into the second decade of Baer Winery, in 2011, our 2008 Ursa appeared at #6 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100, putting our little winery on the map. Still in shock, we fielded calls, emails, and visitors from literally around the world. Subsequently, the 2012 vintage of Ursa made the top 30 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 at #28. We feel fortunate to continue to receive industry recognition, with our most recent being the 2016 Ursa which received 93 points from Tim Fish at Wine Spectator. Accolades are wonderful and we always appreciate them, but we still work just as hard or harder on every vintage trying to perfect it to our own standards.
In the fall of 2017, with the addition of a new Point-of-Sale system, we were able to launch our Ursa Major and Ursa Minor wine clubs. We continue to be thankful to have members with who we always look forward to catching up and sharing new wines. The year 2020 has brought a lot for the world to handle, especially in the wine industry, and we’ve been lucky enough to continue producing and releasing new wines. This year, we added our 2016 Cabernet Franc and 2019 Rosé of Cabernet Franc to our portfolio. Continuing to craft delicious, elegant Washington wines over the past 20 years has been our greatest joy, and we look forward to continuing that tradition for the next 20 years. To those who helped us celebrate our 20th birthday with our biggest one-day sale ever, thank you! If you’d like to purchase verticals and other special collections that were featured in our one-day sale, you can now find them here.