A brief history
Meet The Winemakers
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.View More
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 uses a minimal intervention approach to craft age-worthy reds of great complexity that showcase the beautiful fruit flavors of Washington state.
Devyani grew up in Portland, Oregon, with two parents who were fantastic cooks and avid wine appreciators. Her interest in wine began at the dinner table, when her father would share wines from around the world and challenge her to identify the characteristics found in the glass.View More
Devyani moved to Walla Walla to attend Whitman College and discovered her calling for wine while working for Amavi Cellars. After graduating with honors and degrees in psychology and Spanish, she moved to Seattle to become a research project coordinator for the UW READi Lab, where she studied childhood autism. Although Devyani was conducting meaningful research, she realized that wine had become her true passion, and she knew the cellar was her home.
In 2016, Devyani eagerly moved back to Walla Walla and enrolled in the local Enology & Viticulture program. As a student, she worked for L’Ecole no. 41, Seven Hills Vineyard, and Figgins Family Wine Estates to immerse herself in all aspects of the wine industry. Upon completing her degree, she became the Viticulture Technician for North Slope Management and Harvest Enologist for FIGGINS.
Devyani loves the warmth of the Walla Walla community, and has found her home here. As our Assistant Winemaker, Devyani oversees cellar operations and lab analyses. When not in the cellar, you can find her barbecuing for friends, hiking, kayaking, and walking vineyards.
Valdemar Estates Wines
Aromas of violets, black cherry, graphite, earth, and sage. In the mouth, the entry is focused on the front palate, opening up to flavors of black tea, baking chocolate and cassis, ending with a full, long finish. It has nice acidity and depth.
A luscious Syrah with aromas of raspberry, red cherry, and rhubarb. Flavors include blackberry jam, wet stones, and cocoa powder. Stoney Vine Vineyard is located south of Walla Walla in rocky terroir. We use a traditional head-training method for vines, intensifying flavors and allowing for a remarkably true presentation of fruit.
The terroir of this Walla Walla vineyard shines through. Aromas of blackberry, lilac, and chocolate. Flavors of cranberry, pomegranate, dried herbs, and ground pepper. Crisp with a distinct, savory fruit character. Our vines growing on a slope high in the Blue Mountain Vineyard experience moderate summer temperatures, creating graceful and dynamic fruit.
Pure and racy, our barrel-fermented Chardonnay displays vibrant aromas of ripe pear, apple blossoms, honeysuckle and crème brûlée. Full-bodied and creamy, yet with a crisp assertive impression on the palate and a long stony finish. The steep south-facing hillside in DuBrul Vineyard yields grapes with unique flavors and structure. Our Chardonnay block straddles the rocky, South-facing hillside and alluvial soils on the western edge. Less vigorous soils lie on top of basalt and ancient Columbia River deposits of granitic rock.
Dense and complex, this gorgeous wine from intensely rocky terroir is expressive yet structured. Superb aromatics of black licorice, mulberry compote, mocha, and earth. Brimming with energy, this Syrah is dense with harmonious fruit on the palate. The 16.7-acre Stoney Vine Vineyard was planted in 2007 in the Rocks District. First made famous in the late 1990s by Christophe Baron of Cayuse, the area has become one of the most fascinating viticultural areas of the New World. With fewer than 350 total acres planted on this extraordinary geological feature, the fruit is scarce and highly valued.
Well-established vines in Stone Valley Vineyard root deep into basalt cobblestones, lending this wine a natural concentration, sleek tannins, and Old-World character.