"I spend a lot of time in the vineyard during pruning season, flowering and the ripening period for the grapes, in order to assess the quality, pinpoint difficult areas and address them before they become a problem. If you know what's going on in the vineyard, you will know what to expect at harvest." - Marie-Eve Gilla, Winemaker
MUSIC: I typically like loud, rhythmic, often French music -- Zebda, Blonde, Mano Negra
COOKING: Fresh, Fresh, Fresh. We are starting to get the kids into cooking which is fun.
ACTIVITIES: I love to swim but it can be tough to do in Walla Walla; my FAVORITE pasttime is riding horses.
OUTDOORS: I love to be outside to appreciate the smells and sights of the outdoors.
SOMEDAY: I used to write poems, I will again...someday!
As a teenager I spent my summers chasing goats and geese while working on my grandparents' farm in the countryside of France. Having grown up as a "city kid" in Paris, I fell in love with farming and decided to pursue an education in viticulture.
I earned my Diplome National D'Oenologie (Masters Degree) in Oenologie & Viticulture at the University of Dijon, then trained with local Burgundian wineries and vineyards. In France, because of the laws and the history, it is very difficult to enter the wine industry from the outside, even with great passion and training--there is no expansion and rights to land are passed down for generations. So, in 1991, I came to the United States to further my winemaking experience. I only intended to stay for a few months, but there were so many incredible opportunities available in the wine industry in the US. I always wanted to be in Walla Walla; now it's hard to believe I've been making wine here for more than 20 years!
I love the land we have under vine here in Washington and, as a viticulturist, I see the potential and can truly appreciate and be excited by what is yet to come from this area.
My goal is to develop red wines that upon your first taste will make you forget everything else in anticipation of getting another sip--full, rich, and leaving you wanting more. For our whites, we work for precision, purity, and expression--something in between France and Washington State.
We primarily craft varietal wines by blending grapes from different sites in order to achieve the unique and lasting flavors we have come to enjoy so much in Washington wines. We have developed many long-standing relationships with growers throughout the region and we seek out the older vineyards, which are not very common. Washington is still developing and there are wonderful things to come from this area.
Sometimes, in exceptional years, single vineyards will be featured in one wine--in these cases we will work to release the elegance and outstanding character of the vineyard. We also produce a Bordeaux blend worthy of extensive aging by integrating complex layers, well-structured to maintain exceptional balance. Our style is influenced by my French heritage, and my interest and education about the land and viticulture.
I always wanted to live in Walla Walla, WA but it took 10 years to find the right opportunity. I love the culture here; it has elements of a European lifestyle. I also love the trees! Interestingly, I am married to another French winemaker, Gilles Nicault, of Long Shadows--but we met here in the US! We are fortunate to be able to do what we love and raise our family in such a wonderful place as Walla Walla.