It wasn't until April of 2009 that the
Lake Chelan wine region gained its official status as an
American Viticultural Area (AVA). Yet some of its
wineries have been attracting a lot of attention from both
wine writers and judges as well as from tourists visiting
this beautiful Washington wine region and recreational
haven nestled in a mountain valley of the North Cascades.
One of the new AVA's wineries was recently crowned 2010
Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest
Magazine. Not bad for a fledgling winery of only about
eight years. But
Vin du Lac was selected for more than its quality wines.
Also of significant note is its leadership in North
Central Washington's wine industry and its contribution to
promoting Lake Chelan as one of the Northwest's high-profile
Early in Vin du Lac's short history, winemaker/owner
Larry Lehmbecker contributed to the region's reputation by
winning numerous competitions and awards, beginning with his
very first wine from the 2002 vintage. Along with
other early fellow winemakers of the Lake Chelan Valley,
Lehmbecker also helped with the time-consuming and
concentrated efforts needed to apply for and receive Lake
Chelan's federal designation as an official AVA. Those
efforts have paid big dividends with increasing numbers of
people learning about and visiting the area.
While wineries in this new AVA have been using grapes from
several Washington wine regions to produce a variety of
wines, they are now able to use many of the grapes growing
in their own maturing vineyards as well.
Currently, Lehmbecker is focusing increasing attention on
wines made solely from grapes grown within the Lake Chelan
AVA boundaries, and is taking steps to increase Vin du Lac's
production. He is on record as stating a personal
ambition to "take Lake Chelan wines to the world."
To expand his wine grape production, he purchased 14 more
agricultural acres in 2008 to add to his original 19 acres.
In September of 2009, he also completed construction of a
9,000 square foot production facility, providing capacity to
expand production eventually to 20,000 cases.
According to the Wenatchee Business Journal's 2010 Book of
Lists, Vin du Lac is presently the largest producer of wine
in North Central Washington with its production sitting at
about 10,000 cases a year.
In addition to
establishing his own winery's reputation, Lehmbecker has
been a leader in building Lake Chelan wine country's
reputation as well. The region is coming to be known
for its rich wine-tourism experiences. Numerous Lake
Chelan wineries offer
onsite bistros, restaurants and live
music. From the tasting room's first opening in 2003, Vin
du Lac featured bistro and artisan foods along with
Lehmbecker's superb wines. Today, visitors to the winery
are treated to a Provencal-style wine tasting and dining
experience, with an al fresco wine bar, parasol shaded
tables, a view of the lake, and weekly live music.
The winery's tasting room is makes use of a quaint 1920's
farmstead situated on a bluff overlooking Lake Chelan.
Vin du Lac is located within the city limits of Chelan,
one-half mile northwest of downtown, off of Highway 150
(Chelan-Manson Highway). Take a left at Spader Bay
Drive, across from No-See-Um Road, and drive to the bright
Vin du Lac Winery
105 Highway 150
Chelan, WA 98816