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September 28, 2021
Area: Downtown Spokane

The vibrant Spokane Cork District is about to get even better with the grand opening of Two Winey Bitches on Friday, October 1.

Like their name, there’s nothing conventional about this new downtown tasting room, located at 107 South Madison St.

All of their wine is made from 100% organic fruit that owners Steve and Margaret Walser grow on their 630-acre family farm near Ford, WA. There are no grapes whatsoever!

General Manager Eleacia Walser, Steve and Margaret’s daughter, said it’s important to leave your preconceived notions about wine at the door.

“Usually the preconception with a fruit wine is that it’s going to be very sweet, that it’s going to be sort of a summer wine, something that’s made and then designed to be enjoyed within a few months. That’s very untrue of what we have.”

They ferment everything to no sugar left at all, so it’s completely dry. Then they taste all the wine, decide how they want to best showcase the fruit, and manipulate it as needed. The wine then ages for about a year in the cask and a minimum of one full year in the bottle.

“It’s amazing how much difference the aging makes,” said Steve. “Most fruit wines are pretty fresh. This is not that. This is all aged and it just changes completely over time. It matures like grapes.”

“Even if you open it, it just gets better the longer you let it sit there,” Eleacia shared. “That part is different than a grape wine. You open that and two days later, it’s going to be vinegar. That just doesn’t happen with our wines. We’ve asked every professor, every sommelier we’ve ever met, and nobody really knows why, because there just isn’t the research for fruit wines.”

Margaret discovered this “blooming in the bottle” phenomenon as one of the happy accidents along their wine-making journey.

After she and her (now retired) wine-making friend submitted a bottle of blueberry wine to the Spokane County Fair, Margaret kept the one-third-full bottle with its winning ribbon on her sunny kitchen windowsill. A year later, out of curiosity, she opened the cork and smelled the wine, and to her astonishment, it smelled amazing. Even more astonishing, it tasted INCREDIBLE.

“99% of our wines do this beautiful blooming thing,” Margaret said. “You don’t put it in a refrigerator; it just sits at room temperature and it doesn’t go bad.”

Margaret was a “wild one” from Detroit who moved to the Springdale area at the age of 18 to quiet her heart and escape the craziness of the city. A few years later, she met Steve when they were both working at a natural foods distribution warehouse. They fell in love and decided, “OK, we’re going to farm.”

Organic before organic was even a thing (Steve actually worked a bit with the certification in Washington state), they started farming Willow Wind Organic Farms in 1981 and ventured into wine making in 2013.

The Walsers credit their artesian water as a secret to growing such tasty fruit, which includes apricot, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, peach, raspberry and elderberry.

“We don’t use anything dangerous in the soils that could leech down and bother the water because we love our water. It’s delicious,” said Margaret.

Two Winey Bitches is one of only a handful of wineries in the entire country to make true fruit wines. Interestingly, most European wines were fruit wines until grape wine exploded onto the scene. The Walsers are reviving the old-world tradition of really fruit-forward, yet very complex, very “winey” types of wine that you just don’t see anymore.

Wanting to give a face not only to their winery but also to their farm and all the wonderful things they’re doing with their fruit, the Walsers decided to open up a tasting room in downtown Spokane.

It was love at first sight when they discovered the space at 107 S. Madison. Even though the empty office space was all drywall, they could see its potential. They brought in beautiful reclaimed wood from a barn they took down on the farm, tin from an old shed, and even the bar itself was crafted from Eleacia’s old treehouse tree.

Adorning the walls is artwork from several local artists, and they’ll be participating in First Friday, starting the day of their grand opening. “We want to be part of the community; we want to share with the community; we want to give to the community. If everybody does that, I really think Spokane is on its way up,” said Margaret.

Two Winey Bitches will sell bottles, serve wine by the glass, and offer “Flight and a Bite,” featuring three 1-ounce tasters and an elevated, well-planned bite to complement each wine. Three tasting sets will be available: dry, sweet and a “mixed bag.”

Steve does offer this warning: “The biggest problem with this wine is it’s dangerously delicious.”

It’s so drinkable because there’s no astringency – it’s a completely different kind of wine experience than most people are used to.

“There’s no ‘wine mouth,’” Eleacia explained. “None of that red heavy feeling of, ‘Oh, I just drank a bunch of wine.’ You’re ready for the next sip of whatever’s coming because it’s so light and so fresh.”

You also don’t get a hangover from any of the wines, so you can wake up feeling fabulous. They are extremely light on the sulfites, only using it as a very basic cleaning agent.

Eleacia’s favorite compliment from their wine tasters is: “I’ll be back and I’ll bring friends.”

“That, to me, says they not only liked it now, but they’re going to like it later, and they’re going to come back and they’re going to bring more people with them so we can spread the word. That makes me happy.”

Join Two Winey Bitches for their grand opening celebration on Friday, October 1, from 11 a.m. to close. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held by the Downtown Spokane Partnership at 4 p.m.

For more information on TWB Winery, visit their site here.