Abeja Winery's name is pronounced 'ah-bay-ha,' ... the word is simple, lyrical, and lovely, and is Spanish for "bee". Its origin honors the immeasurable contributions of Latino workers to the NW wine industry. The bee also represents Abeja's respect for the land and their desire to work in tandem with nature.
Abeja is Ginger and Ken Harrison, Winemaker John Abbott, and marketer Molly Galt (John's partner). The winery is located on a hundred year old farm east of the town of Walla Walla, on rural Mill Creek Road. Established as a winery and Bed and Breakfast in 2000, the original estate was built between 1903 and 1907, and was restored 1997-today.
More About Abeja Winery
Abeja's wines are made from both purchased and estate-owned fruit. In early 2004, a ruinous freeze in eastern Washingon, where Abeja is located and sources its grapes, changed Abeja's plans. For the 2004 vintage, Abeja depended more on purchased fruit from other areas. No Reserve Cabernet was made in 2004. Yields were larger in 2005 and 2006, and we expect to see more wine, and more made from Abeja's estate vineyards, starting with the release of the 2005 and 2006 vintages (in 2008 and 2009).
Abeja's estate vineyards are named Heather Hill (17 acres), and Mill Creek (15 acres). John plans on Cabernet Sauvignon being 85% of production when the vineyards are fully in production, with small amounts of Chardonnay and Viognier also offered. An initial offering of 650 cases of the 2001 vintage were produced from purchased fruit. The 2002 Cab was the first made wth Heather Hill Vineyard fruit. The vineyard is only 17 acres, so John will continue to work with fruit from Sagemoor, Seven Hills, Minnick Hills, Conner Lee, Kestral View Estates, and Celilo Vineyards.
John Abbott's ten years with Canoe Ridge Vineyard and his deep knowledge of the region's vineyards result in Abeja's access to the best grapes available. John's partnership with Ken Harrison adds financial stability and business accumen to the mix.
About the Winemaker
John Abbott's interest in wine began as many Oregon State students' has- through the Sensory Lab at OSU. The lab conducts extensive experiments on wine in a state-of0the-art testing lab, and the facility uses students as volunteer test subjects. John's involvement with the lab included taking part in sensory evaluation experiments, in the course of which he discovered that he has a natural affinity for sensing flavors and aromas. Some of the experiments he was involved with included the first legal tests of cork taint in wine.
John's interest in wine led to his transfer to the Enology program at Fresno State, followed by jobs at Stags Leap and Acacia Wineries in California. Applying to the Stimson Wine Group, he moved to Washington, and after several years and jobs, was offered the winemaking position at Canoe Ridge.
During John's tenure at Canoe Ridge Vineyard, he became known for his consistently outstanding Merlots, Chardonnays, and Cabernet Sauvignons. Amongst his peers, he is appreciated for his technical expertise, infallible palate, and entertaining sense of humor.
John Abbott made a name for
himself as winemaker at Canoe Ridge Vineyard, creating
a series of vintages of rich, well-crafted wines.
After ten years of hard work for corporate owner
The Chalone Group, John was ready for many winemakers'
dream- his own small winery, where he could make
small amounts of wine driven by his personal vision
of the perfect wine.
From the winery:
to winemaking, our focus this past year and half
has been on a beautiful restoration of the winery,
once the mule barn for the old farm. It is an eclectic
mix of materials, styles and detail work. "
Fabulous iron work was made by an artisan in Portland. The production area has taken its final form and all of the special nuances that John has incorporated into our winemaking practices are resulting in wines of which we are extremely proud. We are deep in the harvest of 2005 and while it is premature to make a statement before all of the fruit is in the door, it holds great promise."