Winemaker: Marie-Eve Gilla
Although she is now a citizen of the United States, Marie-Eve was born in Paris, and grew up in the food and wine culture of France. She earned her Diplome National d'Oenologie (Masters) at the University of Dijon, and gained practical experience and training in the wineries and vineyards of Burgundy. Arriving in the United States in 1991, she worked at Argyle, Covey Run, Hogue and Gordon Brothers. She brought her extensive experience and knowledge to Walla Walla in 2001 where she is Forgeron Cellars' Founding Winemaker and Managing Partner. Marie-Eve Gilla is married to Gilles Nicault, Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Long Shadows where he works alongside some of the world's greatest winemakers.
In 2013 Marie-Eve was inducted into Les Dames d'Escoffier International, an invitational organization of women leaders in food, beverage, & hospitality whose mission is supporting women through education, advocacy, & philanthropy.
"During the past twenty years, I have devoted my time researching and establishing relationships with the best growers from Washington State. My training in Burgundy has prepared me to deal with adverse growing conditions such as cool and wet ripening season but fortunately it is much easier to grow grapes in Eastern Washington, where little precipitation (6 - 8 inches per year), and warm long days in summer, allow for full ripening of the grapes. Being a firm believer in the philosophy that great wines are made in the vineyard, I craft my wines by sourcing grapes from unique sites located in warm locations such as the Walhuke Slope and Red Mountain for intensity and ripeness, as well as cooler sites, like the Columbia Gorge and Yakima Valley for complexity and freshness."
Forgeron Cellars contracts with vineyards strategically located throughout the large Columbia Valley appellation and smaller appellations within including Walla Walla, Yakima, Horse Heaven Hills & Wahluke Slope. Our focus: reflect the quality of grapes from the best sites to reveal the full potential of Washington State vineyards.
Underwood Mountain Vineyard
The vineyard is located in Underwood WA, 3 miles north of Hood River, OR. The elevation is around 1100 feet with a southeast exposure. The soil is a deep, well drained, reddish volcanic sandy, clay loam. The climate is reminiscent of Alsace and yields great cooler climate grapes.
Alder Ridge Vineyard
A warm site on the north side of the Columbia River, the vines grow on a south facing slope. The low vigor soil, remnants of the flood events and volcanic activity along the Columbia River basin, is great for vine balance and modest canopy.
This vineyard sits on the south slope of Saddle Mountain, just west of the saddle, four miles east of the town of Mattawa. Looking down onto the plateau to the southwest, you can just make out the Columbia River six miles away. Several of the best vineyards on the Wahluke Slope lie on the lower elevations between the Columbia and Stonetree Vineyard.
Derived from the Chinook for "clipped sun", Klipsun Vineyard is located on the western edge of Red Mountain on southwestern facing slopes overlooking the Yakima River.
Walla Walla Valley
Located in the foothills of the Blue Mountains at the 1200 foot level, Norm and Shane McKibben started planting in 2001. The soil produces unique flavor characteristics, even in young fruit.
Pepper Bridge Vineyard combines cutting edge technology and sustainable agricultural to produce some of the most sought after grapes in Washington. This vineyard produces supple, elegant fruit which melds perfectly with our winemaking style.