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Alexandria Nicole Cellars

Elegantly approachable

Growing grapes, making wine, owning a winery. These are things many people think it would be fun to do, and many find out just how hard it is to do it right. Jarrod and Ali Boyle seem to have the right blend-for both their wine and company.

Jarrod grew up in Prosser/Grandview, playing sports and working on farms. He and Ali met in high school. After attending Eastern Washington University, he became a viticulture scout for Hogue in 1996-97. He found land he wanted to buy for himself, but couldn't get a loan at his age. Knowing the right people made all the difference: he knew the Mercer family who owned the land and bought it from them in 1998. And he met Wade Wolfe (Thurston Wolfe Winery) who mentored him. He broke ground in October of 1998 and planted a Joseph Phelps clone Syrah. They called their vineyard Destiny Ridge since they broke ground on Jarrod's 30th birthday.

Farming was what Jarrod wanted to do and his plan was to be a grower, selling grapes to his friends who owned wineries. They have 300 acres, 263 of which are now planted. But fate intervened when the first harvest was leaving the vineyard in 2001. He decided to keep some grapes and make wine to celebrate their "destiny." The Syrah was finished in barrels in 2003 and shared with friends and neighbors. It was so popular, Jarrod decided to make wine with his grapes instead of just selling them. His wife, Alexandria Nicole, said something to the effect of "you're crazy." He promised to name it after her. By 2004, they had opened up a tasting room in downtown Prosser. In 2005, they moved the tasting room to the Port of Benton Wine & Food Park, and in 2007 opened a tasting room in Woodinville, becoming the first Eastern Washington winery to do so. And by harvest 2014, their Guest Services Center at their production facility in Paterson will be open for tours and tastings. In 2005, the Horse Heaven Hills AVA was established; Alexandria Nicole sits inside the largest "sub-AVA" (Boutique) under vine in the Horse Heaven Hills. As Winery Evangelist Kristine Bono says, "Destiny Ridge is who we are. We're an estate winery. And a large part of what we do is about food and wine pairings." She began working with ANC in 2006 when they produced approximately 2,000 cases. They now produce about 10,000 cases.

Besides making amazingly delicious wine, what they've done right is decide who they are, how they want to operate, and have created a company philosophy all employees feel part of. Jarrod and Ali take care of employees and ensure they have what they need to be successful. Vineyard Foreman Jose Yanez (photo) trained with Jarrod from the first planting and, as Jarrod says, is the backbone of Destiny Ridge. In turn, he has begun making barrel furniture, enabling him to keep vineyard staff employed during the slow times of year. "Jarrod and Ali inspire the whole team," says Kristine. And everyone has made the customer their focus. "We call it the 'power to wow.' At a team meeting, Nordstrom led a brand training. For both of our companies, it's all about how guests are treated. We want to be pioneers: proactive and thinking out of the box." With a loyal wine club base, they focus a lot of attention on members-only events and programs. For instance:

  • Three times a year, wine club members can nominate a charity to receive a three liter etched bottle (a $500 value) to be used in auctions. Winners are drawn from both Prosser and Woodinville.

  • Their veteran program gives wine club member discounts to active and inactive service members.

  • Fifteen wines are sold only to wine club members; 20% discount on wines, even those with limited release availability;

  • Seated wine and cheese parties with five wines can be booked by anyone, but wine club members get a discount. These can take place before, during or after tasting room hours.

  • Both tasting rooms have a "hidden door" members-only room where they get four complimentary tasting flights so they can bring friends with them. The rooms offer tables, chairs, couches and food.

  • Members earn loyalty points with their purchases that can be used at ANC for additional discounts, event tickets, glass pours and retail items.

  • Members can present their wine club card at multiple VIP partners such as El Gaucho, Russell's, and Barking Frog for additional incentives.

For culinary events in Prosser, they use a rotating line-up of chefs. In Woodinville, they use the Hollywood Schoolhouse (where they're located) chef. They've put together a "mini harvest boot camp" that lasts an hour and takes guests through the vineyard, production facility and gives barrel samples. "Between August and early November, people can really see 'vine country.' They can taste grapes on the vine, in the barrel and the finished product," explains Kristine.

They talk about their wines as the three A's:

  • Approachability-the ability to enjoy at release.

  • Age-ability-appropriate structure and balance.

  • Authenticity-the wines speak to Destiny Ridge.

They also have a second label called A2 (A squared), create custom crush bottlings for other brands, and craft the house red and white wine for El Gaucho restaurant. Their "Decade of Destiny" is being celebrated all year, made more special by the five Double Golds at the Seattle Wine Awards and two golds, a bronze, silver and best of class from the Sunset Magazine Wine Awards.

With Jarrod and Jose ensuring great grapes and wine, Ali marketing the brand, and a staff that thinks about guests first, Alexandria Nicole should be pleasing us all for years to come.

Alexandria Nicole Cellars

Prosser Tasting Room
2880 Lee Rd, Ste D
Prosser, WA 99350
509-786-3497

Hollywood Schoolhouse
14810 NE 145th St
Woodinville, WA 98072
425-487-9463

Destiny Ridge Vineyard & Winery
158422 W Sonova Rd
Prosser, WA 99350
509-242-9979

www.alexandrianicolecellars.com

Connie Adams/July 2014


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