Erica Orr

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.

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!