Three Wine Drinker’s Resolutions for 2020

The year 2020 has officially arrived and with it comes resolutions. However, a wine drinker’s resolutions may differ from the normal New Year resolutions. So, we’ve put together a list of three resolutions for all of the wine drinkers out there. Enjoy!

Resolution Number 1: Forget Dry January

Dry January always sounds great in theory, but the truth of the matter is it’s a lot of work all at once to go cold turkey – especially for the serious wine enthusiasts out there. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t put your health first to start the new year, but we are saying you can prioritize your health while keeping a glass of your favorite Baer wine in your routine. We’d like to suggest a balance so you still feel like you’re making gains toward a healthier lifestyle while exploring new wines and enjoying your longtime favorites.

Just cut your wine consumption in half! This will help you avoid the misery of a dry January and help you jumpstart the new year on a healthier note. Try planning a wine tasting night with friends where you all bring a bottle and blind taste, or trying a new bottle you might’ve thought was out of your price range before with an indulgent meal. After all, you’ll be consuming half as much less often, so you can still spend the same you were spending in 2019 on wine. May we recommend our newest releases, the 2015 Arctos and the 2016 Callisto?

Resolution Number 2: Expand your Palate with Older Vintages

We are all about expanding your mindset here at Baer Winery and love when we get to talk about older vintages of our wines with patrons. If you’re a novice taster, or never thought of trying older wines, 2020 is your chance to branch out and learn about the past. Library wines are a fantastic place to start! If you’re looking for a 2020 anniversary gift or birthday present, a library wine is always a thoughtful and delicious gift for the wine lover in your life. Older vintages are also fun to take to gatherings with friends and family.

Make it an engaging night by going around the table and ask everyone what they were doing the year the wine was made. For example, if you opened our 2001 Ursa, everyone would share an impactful moment from that year! Older wines bring us together, and not only can you learn more about wine by diving into this new pool, but also become closer to your friends and family.

Resolution Number 3: Plan a Wine Trip!

Make 2020 about living and learning with a wine trip! Even the most knowledgeable wine lovers can always learn something new, and there’s no better way to do that than immersing yourself in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar wines! Whether you plan a trip to Tuscany, Bordeaux, the Napa Valley, or visit us in Woodinville, you’ll gain new experiences, meet new people, and expand your knowledge about wine! 
We hope this list of resolutions helps you jumpstart 2020 in the best way! Our 20th anniversary is this year and we look forward to celebrating 20 years of Baer Winery with the best crew in the coming months. Onward and upward in 2020!

We hope this list of resolutions helps you jumpstart 2020 in the best way! Our 20th anniversary is this year and we look forward to celebrating 20 years of Baer Winery with the best crew in the coming months. Onward and upward in 2020!

A Guide to the Holiday Season in Woodinville Wine Country

The holiday season is in full swing, and we’re looking forward to cozying up and relishing the presence of friends, family, and, of course, delicious wine. Woodinville is a great place to visit during this joyous time. We are thankful every day to be right in the heart of all the Woodinville Wine Country action. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year, so whether you’re home for the holidays, visiting for a weekend getaway, or you’re a local, we thought we’d share our favorites in a guide to the holiday season in Woodinville Wine Country.

Brunch at the Willows Lodge

Start your weekend off right in Woodinville Wine Country with a delicious, locally-sourced brunch at Willows Lodge. The Barking Frog offers a warm, cozy dining area that will have you relaxing and in the mood for a day full of holiday cheer in no time. As one of the premier dining experiences in Woodinville, the Barking Frog offers innovative seasonal menus with a wide selection of breakfast and lunch options. Don’t forget about the award-winning wine cellar full of Northwest and global wines to satisfy any palate! Full stomachs are essential for a successful holiday celebration in Woodinville. Strap on your eating pants and fuel-up for a day full of holiday spirit and activities.

Taste at Baer Winery

After a gorgeous brunch, it’s time to grab some last-minute gift bottles for the wine lovers in your life. Also, taste some of Washington’s best red blends for yourself in the Warehouse District of Woodinville at Baer Winery. Our tasting room is lit up and decorated for the season and will have you feeling festive in no time. Taste through our portfolio of elegant wines, including our two newest releases, the 2016 Star and the 2016 Callisto. Ask us about our library wines, for an extra special gift or treat for yourself. We’re offering complimentary gift wrapping in the tasting room so you (or your elves) don’t have to worry about it after tasting your way through Woodinville. If you’re unsure of your loved one’s favorite varietals of wine, consider purchasing an e-gift card! They can be redeemed in the tasting room for tastings and bottles or used in our online shop. We hope to see you and be a part of your holiday celebrations as we head into the New Year.

A Sustainable Cooking Class at 21 Acres

One more suggestion for your holiday itinerary in Woodinville is a sustainable cooking class at 21 Acres. 21 Acres is located under 10 minutes from Baer Winery. It’s the perfect experience to celebrate the true meaning of the season with your loved ones. The 21 Acres mission is to create experiences that teach people of all ages about local food, smart consumer choices, and green energy. Combine learning into a fun, engaging activity that the whole family can enjoy. Make a meal you all can be proud of and then break bread together for the perfect end to a perfect day in Woodinville Wine Country.

We hope this guide to the holiday season in Woodinville Wine Country has been helpful as you plan your stay with us here in Washington. We wish you a joyous holiday season and an enchanting start to 2020.

Winemaker Spotlight: Erica Orr

Erica Orr has been with us for 13 years, joining us following our founding winemaker Lance Baer’s passing. She was tasked with assisting us in carrying on Lance’s legacy through Baer wines. Erica has done an impeccable job of taking the reins in the vineyards and production facilities. In this month’s blog, we asked her to share a bit about her day-to-day and her journey to Woodinville. Learn more about Erica and how she came to be one of the best winemakers in the state of Washington!

Where are you from and where did you attend school?

I’m from California’s San Francisco Bay Area and have a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in enology from UC Davis.

What originally got you interested in winemaking?

I am interested in science, specifically chemistry and biology, but I also love cooking, restaurants, and traveling. Back in 1998, I was living in San Francisco and working in the Blackburn Lab at UCSF. While out at a bar, my friend and I randomly sat next to the winemaker, Aaron Pott. He told us all about his life working at wineries in Bordeaux and the Napa Valley. He said he had gone through the wine program at UC Davis and told me to work at a winery before applying to the UC Davis enology program. That was super valuable advice. I took all my vacation from my job at the lab to work a couple of weeks of harvest with Cathy Corison in the Napa Valley. That was my first harvest, 1998.

How long have you been with Baer Winery and what’s your favorite part about working there?

The Baer family hired me to keep the label going after Lance Baer passed away in 2007. So, 2019 was my 13th harvest at Baer. I feel like my role is clearly defined. My job is to continue to craft the Baer wines in the style that Lance originated. That includes responding to what the growing season gives us and, at the same time, striving to make the wines better every vintage. I like having those parameters spelled out.

Describe Baer wines in three words.

Honoring Lance Baer.

What is your winemaking philosophy?

I feel like I know what is delicious; I try and really pay attention when I am tasting something delicious. I’m searching for the most delicious wine on the table during my blending sessions.

What are some of the challenges for Washington winemakers right now?

Columbia Valley vineyards that were planted in the 2000s are maturing into their sweet spot. I feel like technically the Washington winemaking community is becoming more knowledgeable and capable each vintage. The grapes are improving and the winemaking is improving so, naturally, the quality of wine we are producing is increasing, which is great! The challenge is that there are more brands out in the market now so the competition is fierce. The world of wine criticism is different from 20 years ago, nice scores certainly help but they don’t make or break a brand in the way that scores used to. I feel like the biggest challenge is staying relevant while staying true to the style Lance Baer established.

Is there a Baer wine you’re most proud of? If so, what is it and why? 

I think the 2012 Ursa was really stunning and it felt great that several critics recognized this as well. The new 2016 Star Merlot that we just released is 100% Merlot for the first time ever for the winery (typically there is some Cab Franc and sometimes Cab Sauv blended in). I am learning how to craft Merlot in a way where I feel it is a complete wine, delicious on its own. It’s a lot of learning by doing.

There you have it – a look behind the scenes of Baer Winery with the person at the helm of creating Baer wines. Do you have more questions for Erica? Pay us a visit in the near future and you may be lucky enough to catch Erica in her lab, or if you’re a club member you will find her at the next club event to talk about all things wine and food!

Three Un-Baer-ably Cozy Fall Wine Pairings

November may be the coziest month of them all. The leaves are still falling from the trees, the weather is starting to chill just enough to break out the bonfire pit, and Thanksgiving is on the horizon. November is also a fantastic month to elevate your cooking game. Rich, warm dishes are always welcome at the end of a hard day’s work. We decided to get a head start on next week’s meal prep, so without further adieu, please enjoy these three Baer wines paired with fall dishes. Bon Appetit!

2018 Shard Paired with Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

This pairing combines crispness with richness that puts a satisfying stamp on the end of a weekday. The 2018 Shard Chardonnay is 100% unoaked as we want to respect the clean purity of the fruit and not obscure the Chardonnay’s personality with malolactic fermentation or oak barrels. The result shows great intensity with hints of apple, kiwi, and nutmeg throughout the palate and finishes with a bright minerality. These notes pair perfectly with the salty and juicy qualities of the pork tenderloin. Whether you stuff your tenderloin with mushrooms, garlic, onions, and parsley, or mozzarella cheese, spinach, and tomatoes, you’ll feel nothing but pure joy finishing your meal with a sip of Shard.

2015 Ursa Paired with Cast Iron Pizza

Next on the docket is a doughy yet crispy and, of course, cheesy cast iron pizza paired with the 2015 Ursa. Classic meets classic with this combination. Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. What’s more drool-worthy than a Washington Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec blend and pizza? Nothing! Decant our 2015 Ursa and enjoy plush, velvety tannins along with flavors of ripe black fruit that finishes with a savory quality and refreshing lift that was made to be sipped with food. You can purchase pizza dough from the store, or make your own. Then layer fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, Italian sausage, green peppers, and anything else your heart desires in a cast iron. Throw it in the oven and enjoy a couple of sips of Ursa while the pizza is baking. Voilà – another un-Baer-ably cozy pairing that will satisfy the day’s cravings.

2015 Callisto Paired with a Gouda and Fig Cheese Board

Last, but never least, is a pairing that is not partial to any time of the day, but to a feeling. Pair the 2015 Callisto with a gouda and fig cheese board for an appetizer, Sunday lunch, or even dessert. Our Callisto is made with 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Syrah, 15% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot. This blend has been a long-standing fan-favorite. Aged in French oak for 22 months, it boasts a silky mouthfeel with flavors of cassis and black cherry finishing with an outstanding richness and minerality that makes a great match for the sweeter side of gouda and figs. Present this pairing as a pre-Thanksgiving dinner snack, or to your friends at the next happy hour you host. Either way, you’ll have everyone asking for more.

We hope we’ve helped with a bit of the stress that comes with fall cooking. Enjoy the cozy weather, rich dishes, and elegant Baer wines. Remember, it can never be a bad meal if it’s paired with a Baer Winery wine.

Harvest at Baer Winery

From planting to growing to pruning to harvesting, making high-quality Washington wine is a labor of love that culminates in the fall. We’re in the thick of it here at Baer Winery and are looking forward to sharing our 2019 vintage with you in the years to come.

Stillwater Creek Vineyard


A Baer Winery harvest starts in the Columbia Valley at Stillwater Creek Vineyard, a 235-acre site on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills. This vineyard was planted in 2000 on a steep, south-facing slope with one of the most diverse clone selections in Washington State. Stillwater Creek’s fractured rock and extreme southern exposure are ideal for reds, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. The Chardonnay we harvest for our Shard is planted on a mixture of fractured rock and areas of fine, sandy loam. Overall, the vineyard is a mix of 80% red grapes and 20% white grapes. This year, we took our initial trip to Stillwater Creek Vineyard at the end of August and brought in our first pick to Woodinville in early September.

Production in Woodinville at Baer Winery


We’re lucky here in Woodinville to have the office of our winemaker, Erica Orr, right next door, as well as a full production and storage facility in our backyard. And when we say backyard, we mean directly connected to our tasting room. This allows us to share our process with visitors, as well as keep it all close to home. Everything from crush and destemming to pump-overs and barrelling down is led by Erica at Baer Winery. Right now, in October, reds are starting to come in and the fun has just begun! So far, the 2019 harvest has been plentiful and we are optimistic about this vintage. We might even get creative with this fruit, so stay tuned for some exciting future releases.

Update from Winemaker Erica Orr


Erica Orr is our consulting winemaker who takes the lead on choosing when to pick the fruit. Everything matters from how early in the harvest season the fruit is picked to the time of day it’s taken off the vine. Erica strives to make those decisions based on her final vision for what she wants Baer wines to smell and taste like while also respecting the quality of the fruit.

“At this point in the season, we have all the Chardonnay for Shard picked and happily fermenting in the drum,” says Orr. “We have also picked all of our Merlot with two of the lots already pressed off and in barrels about to be inoculated for malolactic fermentation next week.” This year, Orr is very content with the Merlot. “The third Merlot lot is still fermenting on skins right now. So far, I am happy with both the flavors and the juice chemistry, which doesn’t happen every year.” 


We were the first to pick Merlot out of Stillwater Creek Vineyard this year. We can’t wait to see what this means for the 2019 vintage, and are excited about the wines that will be produced from this beautiful fruit! Our Malbec and the first of the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignons have been destemmed and we are officially at the halfway point in the heart of October. We still have more Cabernet Sauvignon and the fan-favorite Cabernet Franc hanging on the vine and are looking forward to picking those when they are ready later this month. 

There’s still time to see the Baer Winery production team in action! Visit us on Saturdays or Sundays throughout harvest and you might catch a glimpse of what goes into making your Baer favorites. Cheers to 2019 wines!

Baer Winery: Our Story & Our Wines

By Baer Winery Comments Off on Baer Winery: Our Story & Our Wines

Our story starts with our beloved, late Lance Baer. A man with an impeccable palate that understood wine, Lance started his career as a “cellar rat” and soon found himself as the assistant winemaker at a premium local winery, DeLille Cellars. Lance had a dream of going out on his own and the type of wine he would create, so he founded Baer Winery in 2000. He worked first out of an apartment with shared space in Woodinville and then eventually out of a converted garage for the first seven years of production. His initial creation was our signature wine, Ursa, first released in 2003. Once Baer Winery outgrew Lance’s garage, we moved to the Woodinville Warehouse District and have been here ever since 2007.

Lance passed at age 39, shortly before we moved to our current location. Baer Winery is his legacy and is now run by his father, Les Baer, his sister, Lisa Baer, along with our small but mighty production and tasting room team. Our winemaker, Erica Orr, evolved the wines that Lance first created while adding her own expertise and finesse. 
Our original three wines produced were Ursa, Arctos, and Shard. We have since added Star, Callisto, and the ever-exclusive, Maia, to the Baer Winery lineup. We source all of the fruit for our wines from Stillwater Creek Vineyard in Washington’s Columbia Valley AVA. The seven varietals we harvest from Stillwater Creek are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Chardonnay. All are grown in a pristine environment protected by the Cascade Mountains that see just six to eight inches of rain per year.


Baer Winery’s signature wine is named Ursa for a reason, as it means “bear” in Latin. Ursa is a right-bank style Bordeaux blend primarily made from Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This well-rounded and complex blend is aged in French oak for 20 months before it’s released. It opens with aromas of black cherry, vanilla, wood smoke, roasted herbs, and sweet oak followed by hints of violet and spice black pepper. This bear pairs well with food or sips well on its own.


Arctos follows suit as it means “bear” in Greek. Our Arctos wine was first produced in 2002 and is a left-bank style Bordeaux wine made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Aged in French oak, this rich blend has notes of blueberry, black currant, black cherry, and plum. It boasts savory flavors of black olive, bay leaf, roasted coffee, and sweet oak, tempered by fine-grained tannins that are persistent through the smooth finish.


Shard is the only white wine we make at Baer Winery. Made from 100% Chardonnay, this wine is made in stainless steel barrels rather than oak and does not undergo malolactic fermentation. This process results in a bright and beautifully balanced Chardonnay with aromas of white flowers, lemon rind, and lush tropical fruit. Light and crisp with just enough acidity, the Shard is still creamy on the palate and perfect to pair with a brunch dish.

Our story is forever evolving, and we look forward to sharing more with you. We could not be more proud to be the stars in your cellar. Visit us on weekends from 1-5 p.m. in Woodinville to try these wines and more for yourself. We would love to host you!