Freddy Arrendondo, Winemaker of Cave B Estate Winery, loves working in what he considers the sweet spot of Washington state. The Cave B vineyards are in the Ancient Lakes AVA near the Columbia Valley, right in the middle of the state, and Arrendondo says it’s a location that was initially overlooked. “It was thought to be too far north, but with our change in climate, we’re able to easily ripen fruit,” says Arrendondo.
Cave B was born from a vision of Carol and Vince Bryan, who, in the late 1970s, purchased hundreds of acres on the cliffs above the Columbia River. The Bryans planted vines and opened Champs de Brionne Winery in 1980, establishing the first vineyard in the area. To draw visitors to their winery, the Bryans created an outdoor concert venue on the property and built what soon became know as The Gorge Ampitheater. They eventually sold The Gorge and closed Champs de Brionne, but the Bryans wisely kept hold of the vineyards.
Fast forward to 2000 and the launch of Cave B. Those vineyards on breathtaking cliffs are now producing 17 varieties of grapes that Arrendondo uses to make more than 20 different wines. “I am focused on quality, trying to give the fruit its due.”
Arrendondo’s background as a chef has been indispensable in making wines that lend themselves to food. “Our wines are higher in acidity, lower in alcohol. To me, wine is a food. It’s not something that you drink for the effect. It’s something that you drink for the flavor and for the experience, for the times with friends and family.”