Tunnel Hill Winery

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The hot summer heat is always the hottest right before cresting Bear Mountain and heading into Chelan. Once over the hill it is clear why people settled here at all. It’s all about the lake.

Not soon after this experience do you come to a fork in the road, one up lake toward the end of the road by 25-mile creek and one into the town of Chelan. It seems that this intersection was designed for these two complimentary perspectives on Chelan. Pat and Mike’s Market and Tunnel Hill Winery, both essential resources for recreation and both building off an essential identity of Chelan–it’s all about family.

Tunnel Hill Winery stands firm with an old aesthetic that promises to be the future of wine in Chelan. The Evans’s are going right to the heart of great wine, longevity. And one of the most solid ways to do that, not just building your tasting room out of rocks from the center of the Knapps Hill Tunnel, is through the cultivation of family and the way a winery can present that to a community, fermented down to the taste of Lake Chelan’s crossroads with wine. Do we plant grapes for love or for economy?

My girlfriend and I stopped here last summer still damp from a swim in the lake and I ended up in a long conversation with the family after helping an RV traveler jump start their RV with my little Toyota pickup. A slightly dream-like synchronicity started to permeate my experience as I sipped on the wine. Which is often the case as my own family has lived in the area for a long time and I’m only really ever one-degree of separation from a local. I felt at home here. The wine’s flinty-ness played off their fruit easily, reminding me of eating raspberries in my grandmothers wild patch up lake.

The viogneir stood out, but it was also 105 degrees that day, so the more subtle sweetness and clarity of the wine offered much needed cool relaxation.