California winery blends new variety from local grapes

Another Napa Valley winery is spreading its roots in Walla Walla.

Cakebread Cellars is the latest California winery to venture north. In a piece in Wine Enthusiast Magazine, wine columnist and Waitsburg resident Paul Gregutt reports Cakebread will launch Mullan Road, a wine made with grapes from Walla Walla’s Seven Hills vineyard.

The wine, a Bordeaux-style blend, is being made at Walla Walla custom-crush facility Artifex Wine, Gregutt reported.

Locals may recognize the “Mullan Road” name as an homage to U.S. Army Lt. John Mullan, who led soldiers, surveyors and engineers to build a wagon road from Fort Benton, Montana, to Fort Walla Walla, Gregutt detailed. It turns out, Cakebread Vice President of sales and marketing Dennis Cakebread is a bit of a history buff and wanted to honor Mullan’s contributions.

Cakebread Cellars is the latest connection between Napa Valley and Walla Walla. Foley Family Wines moved into Walla Walla several years ago with the purchase of Three Rivers Winery. Most recently, Charles Smith of Charles Smith Wines and K Vintners announced a joint venture between his Charles & Charles operation with partner Charles Bieler and Napa’s Trinchero Family Estates. Another California giant, Modesto-based E.&J. Gallo, announced last summer its purchase of Columbia Winery and Covey Run.

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