Washington Wine Blog interviews Owner and Winemaker Brad Binko

Washington Wine Blog interviews Owner and Winemaker Brad Binko

Interview with Brad Binko, Owner and Head Winemaker of Drink Washington State and Eternal Wines

Brad Binko has been very busy this past year. Brad manages two labels, Drink Washington State and Eternal Wines, and chooses colorful, hip labels for his wines that are are all pretty serious values. Binko is a former certified sommelier that chose to live in Walla Walla because of the community college’s strong reputation in producing great winemakers. As a recent graduate of Walla Walla Community College’s enology and viticulture program, Brad has done a ton of work in the past year, including has opened his new tasting room in the past year (located in downtown Walla Walla) and has made some pretty impressive new bottlings. I recently had the chance to sit down with him and chat wine. Brad is an awesome guy to chat wine with and I think you will really enjoy hearing his story. Here is my interview with Brad Binko, owner and head winemaker of Drink Washington State and Eternal Wines.

WWB: How did you first decide to start Drink Washington State and Eternal Wines?

BB: When I sold my marketing and promotions company in Las Vegas I wasn’t sure what my next move would be so I moved back to Charleston SC.  While there I was able to get back into F&B and work on advancing my wine knowledge even further.  For the next 2 years I worked as a sommelier for a couple places while I continued my Masters of Sommelier education.  After passing the level 2 (certified) exam I was beginning to feel the need to do more. I had almost attended Brock University for winemaking out of high school. My step-mother was really pushing me in that direction, but of course at 18 we know everything!  I later than almost went to UC Davis when I first moved to Las Vegas, however I started my company shortly after and couldn’t leave. I spent a lot of time researching possible landing spots and after a short trip to Walla Walla I knew where I wanted to call my next home.  So finally the 3rd time was the charm as I enrolled at the WWCC Enology and Viticulture program.  I knew that I wanted to start a winery and had the means to start one.  One of the hardest parts was actually coming up with the names!

WWB: How does your experience as a sommelier and your wine education make you a better winemaker?

BB: It helps greatly, being able to recall different varietals and how they show in different areas with different winemaking techniques is huge. Its like cooking, if you don’t know what garlic salt will do to the flavor of your dish you are less likely to use it. However if you have tasted it before you can make an educated assumption of how it will affect your current dish. It also helps me describe the flavors and break down my wines with guests in the tasting room. My goal is to not only make great wines but to educate the consumer on why it tastes like this, what the history of the grape is and why I choose to make it that way.

WWB: Your 2014 Drink Washington State ‘ Enjoy Walla Walla’ Carmenere (WWB, 90) was an awesome effort that is a terrific value. Can you talk about this great varietal and what kind of aromatic and flavor profiles you notice from Washington Carmenere?

BB: Carmenere is an amazing grape. I am starting to see (in Washington) an increase in wineries labeling their wines as Carmenere rather than blending it away in a Bordeaux blend. It is also also an opportunity for a great teaching moment, most people that come into my tasting room don’t even know what it is. This allows me or my tasting room staff to explain that it is the lost Bordeaux varietal and that now its spiritual home is in Chile. Carmenere is known for its great aromatic compounds that show white and black pepper and jalapeño notes which mines has as well.  My Drink Washington State line is designed to showcase the best of our AVA’s while not making you take out a second mortgage. I’ve actually had several winemakers and winery owners come to me and ask me to raise the prices because they think Im selling them at such a good price.

WWB: Another outstanding value wine, your 2014 Drink Washington State ‘Groovin on Wahluke Slope’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 89) showed wonderful poise and richness. Can you talk about this great wine and what you are anticipating for your next releases with the 2015 vintage?

BB: This lot is my largest lot I have bottled under either label, 10 barrels or 250 cases. It is funny to me because I’ll go tasting and hear other places say this is our reserve lot we only produced 400 cases of it….To me that’s not a reserve wine that’s a huge lot!  This allows me to spend equal time with all my lots so tech. they are all reserve lots in this case.  My goal for DWS is to make wines that can age however they need to be ready to drink upon release.  That is why this isn’t a huge tannin driven wine, instead you get nice fruit on the nose and palate, dusty tannins on the long finish.  The great part about my DWS line is that there are no rules!  Being able to source from all over Washington and blend whatever I want is of great appeal to me.  I will release the next vintage when I sell out however the blends may be different and or vineyards.  DWS allows me to be completely free, unlike with Eternal Wines where my focus is single vineyard single varietal, super small lots.

WWB: When you are not drinking Washington wines, what are some of your favorite wines of the world and favorite producers.

BB: Im a sucker for Napa Valley Cab!  I love the rich and bold flavors of Heitz, Nickel and Nickel, Robert Sinskey, ect.  My first love was Pinot Noir though and still love going down to the Willamette for a couple days and tasting through great wines from Ken Wright, White Rose and Adelsheim to name a few. Now that I am actually thinking about it though there really aren’t too many wine and regions I do not like tasting.  One of the best parts about studying for my Certified Sommelier exam was diving into a foreign region.  I would eat foods that are common in that area, and taste them with local wines.  I would research history of the area, normal temperatures if and when wars happened and how they sell themselves now.  It is really amazing when you can travel to another region without even leaving your home!

Click here to see their webpage.

18 May

Drink Washington State scores 90 and 89 points!

Click here to see Washington Wine Blog webpage

2014 Drink Washington State Cabernet- The 2014 Drink Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon is a fantastic blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Carmenere from the Wahluke Slope. This wine begins with aromatics of black tea, black pepper, black cherry and anise accents. There are ripe flavors of red currant, red cherry, black raspberry with hints of coffee grounds. This has a nice combination of balance and fruit from this warm vintage. -Drink 2017-2023- 89

2014 Drink Washington State ‘Walla Walla’ Carmenere-The Carmenere bottling by Drink Washington State and head winemaker Brad Binko shines from this excellent 2014 vintage. This is composed of 97% Carmenere, 3% Cabernet Franc and begins with aromatics of smoked meats, green bell pepper, black cherry and dried sage. There are flavors reminiscent of black cherry, crushed mint, sage, coffee grounds and black tea. The herbaceousness of this Carmenere continues to show through the finish. Drink 2017-2023- 90

18 May

Drink Washington State Newsletter 5.18.17

Hello my friends,

I can’t believe how fast time is flying! Vines are already growing to 3-5 inches tall! I have continued to be on the road most weekends. Click here to view our current placements. Spring Release was a huge success and I want to thank all of you for sending people our way, talking about us and coming in to taste the newest releases. We are currently pouring 8 wines on the Eternal Wine side, 5 on the Drink Washington State side and rose sangrias! It’s pretty awesome to come in and see the current line up as it is a mixture of all 3 vintages (2014-2016).


We have a lot of great events coming up at the tasting room. Ivan Huera will be playing on Friday 5/19 from 5:30-7:30pm. The following week on Saturday, Robert Gomez will be playing 5:30-7:30pm. Just a reminder that we always offer $5 glass pours of our Drink Washington State white wines, Eternal Beauty Rose and Sangrias!

Our Drink Washington State line just received great scores from the Washington Wine Blog. Enjoy Walla Walla Carmenere scored 90 points while the Groovin on Wahluke Slope was awarded 89. I just finished an interview with them about both of my labels. Stay tuned for that.

Speaking of interviews, I have been doing a lot of them lately. I just finished an interview with Jon Wells of Walla Walla wine limos and one with Great Northwest talk radio. Click here to see these interviews and see other accolades.


I will be pouring at some really cool events this month. If you are in Spokane, Prosser, Walla Walla or Seattle stop by and say hello!


5/19/17, 5:30-7:30pm. Live Music at our tasting room by Ivan Huerta.

Saturday, May 20, 1:00PM –  4:00PM. Rising Stars at the Walter Clore Center, Owner & Winemaker Brad Binko will be pouring both labels Eternal Wines and Drink Washington State.

5/24/17 & 5/25/17. Owner and Winemaker will be pouring at Reds Wine Bar in Kent, WA.

5/26/17, 6-9pm. Owner and Winemaker Brad Binko will be pouring Snoqualmie wine walk.

5/27/17, 5:30-7:30 pm. Live Music at our tasting room by Robert Gomez.

6/2/17, 6pm. Join us to say goodbye to our first employee, Trista Britton, at our tasting room.

6/9/17. Owner and Winemaker Brad Binko will be pouring at CBRC tennis in Richland, WA

6/16/17. Walla Walla Wine Alliance presents Grand Syrah Tasting. Owner and winemaker Brad Binko will be pouring.

7/23/17. Vintage Spokane Pouring at the Davenport Hotel.

9/12/17, 5pm. 5 course dinner with winemaker Brad Binko at the Point Casino.

Our tasting room at 9 S 1st Ave in downtown Walla Walla is open 7 days a week! Sundays- Wednesdays, 12-7pm, and Thursdays-Saturdays, 12-8pm.


As always thanks for reading.


-Drink Wine Be Happy

Brad Binko

24 Mar
26 Feb

Taste Washington 20 Year Anniversary!

It’s Taste Washington’s biggest year yet.

Celebrate the festival’s 20th Anniversary in Seattle – March 23-26, 2017. Bringing together nearly 300 wineries, over 70 restaurants and top national chefs, Taste Washington is a wine- and food-lover’s dream.

And this year’s expanded lineup goes beyond the much-anticipated Grand Tasting, offering four days packed with diverse wine and food events.

Kick it all off with super-exclusive wine pours at the VIP Red & White Party. Explore the Pacific Northwest’s bounty alongside farmers, chefs and winemakers at Taste Washington on the Farm. Sip with fellow party-goers in The New Vintage’s trendy Rosé Lounge. And even get early access to the iconic Pike Place Market on an all-new morning food tour.

And there’s so much more.

Psssst…if you’re planning to attend multiple Taste Washington events, you’d better grab The Connoisseur festival pass. You’ll get four days of VIP access to Taste Washington’s signature events, from the Red & White Party to the Grand Tasting and lots more in between.

26 Feb

Rising Stars 2017 @ Walter Clore Center

Drink Washington State and Eternal Wines will be pouring at this event!
Rising Stars
Saturday, May 20,  1:00PM –  4:00PM


The Clore Center, in partnership with Washington Tasting Room Magazine, is thrilled to bring you the 2nd Annual Rising Stars tasting event. This is your opportunity to discover some of Washington’s newest up-and-coming winemakers.

Sip and savor the newest labels and discover your favorites. You’ll even be able to purchase your favorite bottles!

Ticket includes all-inclusive tastings, and a personal appetizer plate.

Saturday, May 20
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Early bird ticket pricing before April 30: $50 + tax
Tickets after April 30: $55 + tax

Includes unlimited tastings, appetizers, wine glass, and program.
Tickets are transferable in advance but non-refundable.
All guests must be 21+ to attend.

Best Western Plus The Inn at Horse Heaven Special Event Rate

The Inn at Horse Heaven has put together a 15% discount for anyone attending “Rising Stars, A Tasting Experience of Washington’s Newest Wineries” at the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center on Saturday, May 20th 2017.  Our Hotel is conveniently located within 3 miles of the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center and we would be honored to have you stay at our property.

To receive your discount you must call our front desk to make your reservation, and mention you are attending “Rising Stars” at the Walter Clore Center and the front desk receptionist will apply your discount.

Book Today!

Call (800) 688-2192

Cannot be used with other discounts

Offer is subject to availability

Best Western Plus

The Inn at Horse Heaven

259 Merlot Drive

Prosser, WA 99350



find us

tasting room open daily 11-5
2140A Wine Country Road  ·  Prosser, WA

Contact Us

Debuts & Discoveries in Seattle Sat. March 18th

Debuts & Discoveries Sat. March 18th

March 18 @ 5:00 pm9:00 pm

Debuts & Discoveries
Sat. March 18th, 2017 ~ 5 pm – 9:00 pm
Hangar 30 at Magnuson Park
Seattle, WA
Join us for this 10th Annual event where enthusiasts get to discover the Newest Wineries, Newest Distilleries, Newest Cideries, & Newest Breweries! The popular “Debuts and Discoveries” is being held at the historic Sandpoint Naval Air Station “Hangar 30” in Magnuson Park. Wineries, Distilleries, Cideries, Breweries  featured need to be in their first 3-4 years of releasing products.

Purchase bottles of your favorites before you leave and save!  This is THE place to be on the cutting edge of who the rising stars are in our area! Enjoy live music! And delicious food available for purchase from the Mobile Mavens food trucks, Carolina Smoke, & Uncle Paulies Meatballs!

This special fundraising event is a collaboration between Seattle Uncorked, WBS Events, & the University Sunrise Rotary. Your participation helps University Sunrise Rotary & Teen Feed outreach backpack teams take proactive & preventative steps towards trust, nourishment, housing, health and education for homeless youth meeting their futures off the streets.

General Admission is $35 in advance at www.usrotary.org and $40 at the door if tickets still available.

New Wineries ~ New Breweries ~ New Distilleries ~ New Cideries ~ And Foodtrucks!

Confirmed 2017 Participants To Date:

2dor Wines
3 Howls Distilling
Adrice Wines
Blackfish Spirits Distillery
Bomond Vodka
Cairn Brewing
Caprio Cellars
Chatter Creek Cider
Coral Wines
Delich Distillery

Drink Washington State
Elemental Hard Cider
Elephant Seven Winery
Eternal Wines
Figurehead Brewing
Floating Bridge Brewing
Four General Brewing
Keira Cellars
Locust Cider
Love That Red Winery
Lucky Envelope Brewery
Nightside Distillery
Nine Yards Brewing
Old Stove Brewing
Orcas Island Distillery
Pear Up/Neigel Vintners
Sandstone Distillery
Scratch Distillery
Schilling Cider
Sea Bishop Spirits
Synne Cellars
Steelhead Cider
Temple Distilling
Truth Teller Winery
Upsidedown Wine
Weaver Family Winery
Wishka River Distillery
Woodinville Whiskey
Woodinville Ciderworks

See pics of the 2015 event CLICK HERE


26 Feb

Drink Washington State First Releases by Winemaker Brad Binko


There’s a new winemaker in Walla Walla, Washington, by the name of Brad Binko. Write that name down. Now go look for his wines.

“Life is about stories so let’s go make one!” Brad Binko

Brad is a big guy, with a friendly smile and warm personality. He’s quick to shake your hand and ready to talk wine. I enjoyed meeting Brad and enjoyed tasting his first releases. First releases? Yep, Brad has done a wonderful job crafting white, rose’ and red wines. I’m quite impressed at the quality, depth of flavor, maturity of style and his cool label designs. Have you written down his name yet?

Originally from Buffalo, New York, Brad Binko is a Certified Sommelier and today is making small lots of terroir driven Washington wines. He focuses on Rhone Varietals and single vineyard wines using native fermentation, extended maceration, and non-intrusive wine-making techniques. Eternal Wines only uses hand harvested fruit from premium vineyards. Production is at 400 cases.

Brad Binko studied winemaking at the Center for Enology and Viticulture on the campus of Walla Walla Community College. Formerly the assistant winemaker at Walla Faces Winery, today Brad is the owner/winemaker for his own Eternal Wines. Established in 2014, Eternal Wines is located at 1460 F Street in Walla Walla, Washington at the airport district.

Follow along with my tasting notes. I encourage you to ask for, seek out and drink Eternal Wines. If you would like to meet Mr. Binko in person, outside of Walla Walla, he will be pouring his wines on Saturday 9 July at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, Washington.

Tasting Notes – First Releases


1. Visit Columbia Valley 2015 Northern White Blend 

Color:  Straw, some effervescence at open.
Nose: Honeyed pear/melon, floral aroma blown in with fresh rain on an early morning breeze. Big like.
Palate: Weighty, tropical, salinity, orange zest, focused to the middle, pineapple, savory into the dry, crisp, slightly tart finish. Like. Ready to drink and for food.

15 Minutes: Toast, pear, honey, marmalade on the nose. Pear with honeyed brioche, lightly spiced, medium body, with Braeburn apple and apple tannin into the crisp finish. Like. Would be wonderful with fried chicken, grilled trout or Halibut fish and chips.

30 Minutes: Toasty, honeyed pear, almost tropical on the nose. Fresh, juicy, apple, pear, kiwi, pineapple, party in the mouth! Would be wonderful with Tilapia, grilled shrimp, and mango salsa. Like.

1 Hour: Toasty minerality, stone fruit, lemon honey on the nose. Fresh, pear to lemon, nuttiness on the medium finish. Like. Broiled Halibut would be lovely with this wine. Or chicken wings.

Day Two: Yum, mango-peach on the attack, floral quality to the nose with banana, pleasant weight, mango-peach into the dry finish. Craved duck tacos. A perfect summer patio sipper.

Thoughts: Stylish, friendly wine, definitely a wine for summer fare and seafood. While suitable for white linen meals, Tilapia, Halibut and Trout, this wine could equally chill with finger food, fried chicken and fish and chips. Mango Salsa optional. My speed.
Recommended + Great Value.


Blend: 90% Roussanne, 8% Marsanne, 2% Viognier
Vineyards: Art Den Hoed(YV), Blue Mountain(WW), M. Anderson(WW)
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13.7%
Sample provided by winery
Production 42 Cases
SRP: $19


2. Welcome to Columbia Valley 2014 Chardonnay 

Color: Gold.
Nose: Vanilla, lemon taffy.
Palate: Vanilla, taffy, lemon, dry on the gums, crisp, dried pear, light spice, medium-light body, light stone fruit on the dry finish.

15 Minutes: Light yeast and nuttiness, vanilla with melon on the nose. Melon, spiced pear, focused to back, melon and spiced pear followed into the enjoyable medium finish.

30 Minutes: Toasty nose, savory with light melon, nutty. Focused, vanilla, melon, hint of sweet fruit, spice, pear skin, dry finish, tingle back palate.

1 Hour: Spicy, nutty, toasty nose. Lemon, bright on tongue, baked pear, focused to middle, integrated, more my speed at this point. Like.

Day Two: Fluid, spicy, peach, hazelnut shell, focused to middle, touch of melon and lime skin, crisp and dry mid-palate, quite tasty into the medium finish. Like. Sauteed lobster, bowl of steamed mussels, crusty bread and melted butter for dipping would be good companions with this wine. Like.

Thoughts: Took an hour for this wine to hit my button. I should have decanted a little. Day two this wine hit my sweet spot. Expect this wine to evolve in bottle and will only get better with a little time. The cool post card inspired label would make a wonderful memento/gift from Washington wine country.


Blend: 100% Chardonnay
AVA: Columbia Valley
Vineyard: White Bluffs
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13.9%
Sample provided by winery
Production 60 Cases
SRP: $19


3. Welcome to Yakima Valley Semi-Sweet Sparkling Riesling

Color: Pale straw to yellow.
Nose: Toasted nose with minerality and pear skin.
Palate: Slightly sweet, honeyed, crisp on the tongue, focused to mid-palate, pear juice and yeast with lemon and a savory note on the finish. Wants spicy food.

Thoughts: Too sweet for me to enjoy by itself. Best with spicy food, I had a bottle of hot sauce on hand and it matched well with savory foods. A tentative recommendation for those who like their sparkling wine sweeter than I do. I can’t do sweet bubbles.


Blend: 100% Riesling
Vineyard: Selenium Vineyard, Yakima Valley
ABV: 12%
Residual Sugar 9 g/l
Sample provided by winery
Production 88 Cases
SRP: $19


4. Eternal Beauty 2015 Rose’

Color: Pretty pale pink, orange highlights, clear and clean.
Nose: Light fruit, cherry, perfumed, minerality.
Palate: Crisp, medium weight, pow with the cherry, ripe strawberry, nice grip on gums and cheeks, almost savory, satisfying, my style of dry rose’. Not a wimpy pink wine. Big Like.

At 15 minutes: Round, less fruit, cherry to strawberry-rhubarb, spiciness, cinnamon, textured, apple cinnamon on finish with a tingle on the lips. Sexy.

At 30 minutes: Big hit of minerality, strawberry, rhubarb, spiciness, textured, acid zip, focused down the palate, apple into the zesty finish. This wine danced on the palate. Big like.

At One Hour: Minerality on the nose, toasted, strawberry, watermelon, spicy, dry, tannic, crisp.

Day Two: Strawberry, brioche, light creaminess, dusting of grated orange, vanilla custard, fresh, satisfying medium finish. Big like, my speed.

Thoughts: Serve cold and watch the bottle disappear. Not a wimpy pink wine. Sexy. Good luck tracking down this first vintage. Sold out at the winery. Some bottles still available at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, Washington at time of posting.
Strongly Recommended

Blend: 75% Syrah, 10% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Roussanne
AVA: Walla Walla
Vineyards: Morrison Lane(WW), Gamache(CV), Blue Mountain(WW)
Winemaker, Brad Binko
Closure, natural cork
ABV: 12%
Sample provided by winery
Production 30 Cases
SRP: $19


5. Eternal Wine Rocket Man Red 2014 Columbia Valley

“Warning: drinking this will not make you fly!”

Color: Red plum with dark plum core.
Nose: Smoky cherry, mineral, mint.
Palate: Broad, soft cherry, spike of acid mid-palate, cherry, mint and chocolate, light tannin, bright note on medium-light finish. Enjoyable at open.

15 Minutes: Dark cherry, apple skin, soft spice, white pepper, milk chocolate, mint on nose. Fine tannin, friendly greeting, cherry, chocolate, mint, integrated and tasty on palate, almost restrained, focused to middle of palate, pleasant chocolate and mint on the medium-light finish. Balanced and tasty, medium body right in the sweet spot. Ready for food or just to drink.

30 Minutes: Cherry cola, light spice, mint to rose petal, almost candied vanilla on the nose. Cherry, cola, chocolate, focused to front, fine tannin, medium body, grip on lower gums, medium-light finish.

1 Hour: Cherry cola, candy, light spice with perfume on nose. Yum on palate, nice texture, fine tannin, dark cherry, chocolate, medium-light body, chocolate mint with apple tannin and that texture followed through into the medium finish. Big like.

Decanted 1 Hour: Nice dark color. Earthiness with cherry/plum, slate and cola on the nose. Touch creamy, candied cherry cola, smooth medium body, freshness, light grip on the gums and tongue, focus to mid palate, medium finish with mint. Like.

Day Two: Juicy dark fruit, smooth, edged with violets, tar and cola, light tannin and blueberry into the medium finish.

Day Three: Juicy cherry, blueberry, with coffee, bright and round mid-palate, modest tannin on the medium cherry finish. Like.

Thoughts: I like that this is not a “huge” wine. It is approachable, medium-light bodied, tasty and delivered satisfaction at open and until the bottle was empty. Well done. Ready to drink alone or with food. Should continue to evolve in bottle over the next few years. Pretty darn good, plus that cool label closes the deal.


Aged 1 year in barrel, then 1 year in bottle before release.
Blend: 45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc.
Closure: Natural Cork.
ABV: 14.5%
Sample provided by winery
Production 42 Cases
SRP: $25

* 11/18/16 Update – Eternal wines has moved out of the Incubators and is now located in downtown Walla Walla. That was fast. All the best Brad.
Eternal Wines
Open for tastings Thurs-Sun 12-8pm and by appointment Mon-Weds
 9 S. 1st Ave (New location downtown)
1460 F Street
Walla Walla, Washington 99362

Well done Mr. Brad Binko. Excellent showing for a first release. I look forward to your future releases and continued success. Write that name down. Now go look for his wines.


Full article and others from Wild 4 Washington Wine here

11 Dec

Eternal Wines, Drink Washington State to open downtown tasting room

With two brands from one new winery, it didn’t take long for Brad Binko to outgrow his space at the Airport District.

Just in time for Fall Release, he’s launching his new tasting room downtown.

Eternal Wines and Drink Washington State have moved to 9 S. First Ave., the former spot for Palencia Winery’s tasting room.

Thursday through Sunday the spot will open for the release of five new wines, including a fortified syrah and a 2-year-old barrel-aged Roussanne, Binko said in an announcement.

A certified sommelier, Binko graduated from the Enology & Viticulture program at Walla Walla Community College last June then launched his own winery with two new labels.

Eternal Wines focuses on single-vineyard Rhone varietals, while Drink Washington State is designed to raise awareness of Washington wines and the state’s American Viticultural Areas.

For more information visit EternalWine.com or DrinkWashington.wine or call 240-6258.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at 509-526-8321, vickihillhouse@wwub.com or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VickiHillhouse.

To see the original article click here

22 Oct

Washington wine’s next generation: Brad Binko is having fun making great wine

WHAT DO YOU DO when you’re a new winery in a region already choked with wineries?

That’s the question Brad Binko faces as the owner and winemaker for Eternal Wines in Walla Walla. This town in the state’s southeastern corner is home to more than 100 producers — some of which are among the most famous in Washington.

Binko’s way to stand out is to craft great award-winning wines, package them with eye-catching labels and be willing to take risks.

Two to try

Drink Washington State NV Sparkling riesling, Yakima Valley, $19: Bright aromas of apple, clove and cardamom give way to bright off-dry flavors of orange and lime. It’s a sweeter sparkling wine with bright acidity, perfect with spicy Asian cuisine.

Drink Washington State 2015 Northern White Blend, Columbia Valley, $19: This Roussanne-based white blend provides incredible complexity, including aromas of rich, ripe pear; apple; and butter, followed by flavors of orange zest, caramel and white pepper.

So far, everything is paying off for the native of Buffalo, N.Y. He released his first wines in June, a couple of weeks after graduating from Walla Walla Community College’s vaunted winemaking program, and his approach already is resonating with wine lovers.

Binko, 33, has two brands: Drink Washington State and Eternal Wines. The former has fun labels that shout where they’re from. His sparkling riesling declares “Welcome to the Yakima Valley” with a label that looks more like a postcard. He follows suit on his other Drink Washington State wines. This fall, he is releasing his first Welcome to Walla Walla wines.

The former sommelier came to Walla Walla because he wanted to make wine after serving it to others on the East Coast and in the South for several years. He scoured the country looking for the right place to land and ultimately chose Walla Walla because of the community college’s reputation.

In June, he graduated from the program. Two weeks later, he won three gold medals at the annual Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition, including best sparkling wine. In late summer, he moved his production from a winery at the Walla Walla Regional Airport to space he found at another winery. He’s opening a tasting room in downtown Walla Walla this fall.

So far, Binko’s wines are distributed no farther west than the Tri-Cities, but he anticipates that changing as his production rises. His first 250 cases sold out in a matter of months, and his goal is to increase production to 10,000 cases in the next few years.

One might think that with his quick success, Binko might want to move back to his home state and perhaps launch something in the stellar Finger Lakes wine region of upstate New York.

Not a chance. Binko has fallen in love with the friendliness of the Pacific Northwest and the abundance of great grapes grown here. He cannot imagine being anywhere else now.