Baer Winery Wines

Checking-In with Lisa Baer and Erica Orr

As public places are opening up and the country is beginning to come out of SIP, we’ve all started to venture out of our homes and reflect on what we’ve learned over the past few months. Maybe you’ve sharpened your baking skills or made a dent in your extensive reading list. We hope somewhere along the way you’ve enjoyed some Baer wines and maybe learned more about tasting descriptors and how the wines are made. We hope you’re safe and healthy as we prepare to reenter the world, we checked in with Co-owner, Lisa Baer, and winemaker, Erica Orr, to see how they spent their time in quarantine.

Lisa Baer

“I can’t believe how quickly time seems to go during this “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” period in Washington state. Each day I am fortunate to have both my day job at T-Mobile as well as the work of Baer Winery to keep me occupied. I’ve appreciated connecting virtually with friends, family, and coworkers, as well as having time to myself to reflect.

I’ve heard the phrase “silver linings” a lot over the past few months. There have been many. I’ve had more time to take a breath, finish a few books, and prepare some special meals (or just make a dinner out of cheese, crackers, wine, and chocolate). I enjoyed preparing the “Frog Box” from Woodinville’s Barking Frog and Chef Bobby. It included Halibut, fresh morels, and delicious local wines.

But, it’s also a solemn time. It’s important not to forget families touched by illness or worse, and those who don’t have the luxury of staying home and working to keep the rest of us healthy, safe, happy, and fed. I’m amazed at the creativity of the local communities and businesses to keep moving forward and make a contribution in ways we haven’t thought of before.

In addition to the many Zoom happy hours and wine club events, I’ve attended virtual fundraisers for organizations like PAWS, watched live-streamed local entertainment, and consumed more local food and wine than maybe I should have (all for a good cause). Our production team, my dad Les, and I loved connecting with some Baer Wine Club members virtually recently, and plan to have more fun events like that. Why didn’t we think of it before? We rarely, if ever, get to see our out-of-state members and this was the perfect chance. We look forward to a time when we’ll be able to open the doors of our tasting room again, but not until it’s safe and comfortable. Until then, wishing you and yours good health and peace.”

Erica Orr

“While under the SIP order, I still came out to the winery most days. In April, we assembled the 2018 Baer red blends, which are stunning! The blends will have some time to harmonize in barrel before we bottle them later this summer. The 2018 vintage as a whole has me very excited! The Bordeaux varietals from Stillwater Creek have beautiful ripeness as well as fresh approachability. It will be fun to taste these wines and see how they develop in bottle.

While at home, I walked a lot both for exercise and to socialize with some of my somm friends who have been furloughed from their restaurants in Seattle. The state parks have been reopened and the trails are more green and lush than ever before. The paths are almost overgrown with blooming wild berries and there are a lot of bald eagles flying around Lake Washington. 

I’ve also been cooking a ton trying to make some of my takeout favorites at home. The meals I’ve attempted include Thai salads, curry, and tacos. The serious eats website has some really nice step-by-step guides to Thai style fried shallots and a spicy peanut dipping sauce that I’ve been using to jazz up shaved red cabbage and chicken. I’ve also expanded my definition of a taco to anything folded into a hot corn tortilla. That includes bacon, lettuce, avocado, cheddar cheese, and apples with arugula, leftover Brussels sprouts with Lebanese garlic sauce, refried beans, and tomatillo salsa.

I had to enjoy all of these delicious wild flavors with something to drink, of course. I paired these foods with wines my friends have crafted including new 2019 Rosés, dry Columbia Valley Riesling, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc. The winemaking community is very generous. We tend to trade bottles with each other and I think we all are missing our usual tasting group immensely.”

We’d love to hear what you’ve been up to over the past three months and how you’ve incorporated Baer wines into your quarantine routine on social media! We hope our wines and the people who help make them have given you something to look forward to during these interesting and sometimes trying times. We look forward to hosting you in the tasting room in the near future.

Baer Winery Spring Release Wines

Our spring release wines have made their way to our current releases tab in our online shop and are waiting to find their new homes! Since we aren’t able to host you at the winery right now, we thought we’d introduce you to the newest members of the Baer Winery family and let you get to know them from the comfort of your home. Without further ado, meet the 2016 Cabernet Franc, 2019 Rosé of Cabernet Franc (both first vintages), 2016 Ursa, and 2016 Arctos. 

2016 Cabernet Franc

This Cabernet Franc is the first public release of this varietal. While we use Cabernet Franc as a blending grape frequently in our Ursa and Maia blends, the only time we’ve ever made a Cabernet Franc to stand alone was for our wine club. Let us tell you that it was worth the wait because this baby is ready to drink! With flavors of plum, mulberry, cigar box, and roasted herbs, the Baer 2016 Cabernet Franc is juicy, fresh, and waiting for you to uncork with your next meal. Wine Spectator’s Tim Fish gave it 90 points and dubbed it “Svelte and polished, with elegantly layered black cherry, lead pencil and violet notes that take on structure toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2026.” We’re proud of this first vintage and look forward to hearing what all of you at home think of this new kid on the block!

2019 Rosé of Cabernet Franc

Another exciting introduction for Baer Winery, our first-ever Rosé! We pride ourselves on making elegant red blends and a delicious Chardonnay but had never entered Rosé territory and we couldn’t be more excited. Our 2019 Rosé of Cabernet Franc was crafted in a very intentional way by Consulting Winemaker, Erica Orr. The fruit was harvested from the same block that the Baer Maia has traditionally been sourced from and was picked at the peak Rosé ripeness. This means lower potential alcohol and higher acidity when compared to red wine, and the result is a wine that is more delicate, lighter in color with brighter, fresher flavors. Our Rosé boasts a very beautiful translucent peach color, opening up with aromas of kumquat and blood orange with smarties candy and white gummy bears. On the palate, it is tangy, mouthwatering, and bright with a crisp finish. Open this gorgeous wine on a sunny day!

2016 Ursa

Next up is a Baer Winery classic, the 2016 Ursa. Made of equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc with Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch of Malbec, this vintage is a vision of harmony and seamlessness. Not as bold and opulent as the 2015 vintage, 2016 is a bit more subtle and refined, the hallmark of our style. With flavors of ripe plums and cherries along with a savoriness of roasted red bell peppers and bay leaf, this wine is another Baer staple that will be drinkable for years to come. 

2016 Arctos

Last of the spring release wines, but never least, is the 2016 Arctos. This blend is decadent and bold made of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot. The most savory of the spring releases, this wine has classic Cabernet Sauvignon aromas of black cherry, blackberry fruit, black olive, and herbs with plush tannins. The Petit Verdot adds complexity and nuance to the blend, as well as violet and a beautiful very dark purple color in the glass. If you’re a Cabernet fan, this wine will satisfy all of your big, bold cravings. 

All of these wines are now available for purchase and we can not wait for you to taste them and let us know what you think!. We love seeing all of you opening up Baer bottles for your virtual happy hours and are looking forward to seeing more photos that include these spring wines.

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

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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!