French Tradition

  • Raised in Paris.
  • Earned her Double Masters in Oenology and Viticulture at the University of Dijon in Burgundy.
  • Moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1991; becomes a US Citizen in 2004.
  • Started Forgeron Cellars in 2001.
  • Married to Gilles Nicault, winemaker for LongShadows Vintners.
  • Inducted into Les Dames d’Escoffier in 2013.
  • Awarded the Grade de Chevalier dans l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole from the French Ministry of Agriculture in 2016.


When Forgeron opened in 2001, as the 23rd winery in Walla Walla, Washington, two things defined us: our decision to set down roots in downtown Walla Walla; and winemaker, Marie-Eve Gilla’s French roots, and viticulture and oenology training in Burgundy.


It was serendipitous that our new home was on the site of a turn-of-the-Century blacksmith shop. Blacksmiths are serious artisans. Able to create such beauty from ferrous metal, Blacksmiths require great skill and patience, but also great passion. The name Forgeron [FOR-juh-ron] is the French term for “blacksmith”, skilled artisans who work with their hands in an age-old tradition.


25+ Years working side-by-side with Columbia Valley’s best growers, who are committed to sustainability. We blend French training with our knowledge of Eastern Washington fruit to identify terroir that is best suited for each grape variety.


Our 15+ year history of 90+ point reviews speaks to the consistency of our wines at Forgeron Cellars.


Our diverse portfolio explores the best of what Eastern Washington terroir has to offer. 


Complex, age-worthy wines that express Washington’s full potential. We are motivated by our next trip into the vineyards or finding the next, best location for a particular variety, and then putting our skills to work with restraint, to respect the fruit’s identity through winemaking.


  • Hand-picking grapes
  • Regular visits to the vineyards to monitor water levels, canopy, and cluster development
  • Keeping each vineyard lot separate
  • Gentle winemaking techniques, like using new oak sparingly and not inoculating for malolactic fermentation


  • Small-lot fermentations in contemporary cellar with temperature controlled stainless vats
  • Aging in French and American oak barrels
  • Extensive QC, like cork trials to prevent taint
It is my passion to uncover the best vineyard sites for my favorite varietals grown in the AVA’s of the Columbia Valley. Using my training in Burgundy, I gently guide the winemaking process to deliver wines that express the beauty, complexity, and age-worthiness the region has to offer.
Marie-eve Gilla
Founder, Winemaker

Meet the team

Anne Hull
Wine Club & WW Tasting Room
quote I love spending time getting to know customers and club members! Join us for an event at the winery, or book a Reserve Cellar Tasting Experience.
Cody Janett
Assistant Winemaker
quote Driving the forklift, pouring wine, climbing up towering racks of barrels to sample and test. A day in the life of making wine is pretty awesome! Oh buckets!
Jeff Peda
Sales Consultant
quote If you represent a store or restaurant looking for exceptional small-lot wine, I'm your guy. Let's talk.
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