130+ Years | 5 Generations | 1 Family / The search for new challenges brings our family from Rioja to the Walla Walla Valley
Open 7 Days a Week
11:30 am – 6:00 pm
An underground stone cellar, in Oyón, Spain: that's where more than 125 years of history started. Joaquín Martínez Bujanda built it to age the wines that he made from his vineyards. From day one, our family's passion has always started from the same place, the land and the vineyard itself. This has been our path, our work, what interests us, what moves us: offering something personal, different, with a unique character. Breaking the molds to find new ways to always be ourselves. We are innovative, passionate, and bold. Our wine legacy is timeless.
We have selected the beautiful Walla Walla Valley as the place to build our first winery outside Spain. Since opening at the end of April 2019, our 24,00sq.ft. wine production facility, tasting room, and restaurant, has welcomed over 30,000 guests to its Walla Walla southside location.
Born in Burgundy and raised near Paris, Marie-Eve Gilla fell in love with the pastoral lifestyle while working summers on the farm. She earned her Double Masters in Enology and Viticulture at the University of Dijon, gaining practical training in the wineries and vineyards of Burgundy.
Arriving in the United States in 1991, she worked at various wineries including Argyle, Covey Run, and Hogue. Intending to stay for just a few months, she realized the incredible potential of the Northwest wine industry. In 1999, she married her compatriot Gilles Nicault, now Director of Winemaking at Long Shadows. They moved to Walla Walla in 2001, where Marie-Eve became Forgeron Cellars’ founding winemaker. In 2018, she joined Valdemar Estates.
Believing firmly that great wines are made in the vineyard, Marie-Eve sources grapes from established vineyards in the Red Mountain and Walla Walla A.V.A to craft her wines. Working in a boutique winery allows her to focus on quality by keeping each vineyard lot separate. This gives each wine the ability to express its full potential. In the cellar, Marie-Eve primarily uses French oak, with moderate toast levels for both fermentation and aging. She has successfully adapted her Burgundian winemaking influences to the riper fruit found in Eastern Washington.
For example, while making Chardonnay, she periodically stirs the lees to increase mouth feel for a mineral, yet full-bodied and well-balanced, wine. She does not inoculate for malolactic fermentation, therefore she retains natural freshness and pure flavors. She also uses a minimal intervention approach to craft age-worthy reds of great complexity that showcase the beautiful fruit flavors of Washington state.