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Vin du Lac Winery

       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 wine destinations.  

       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 yellow buildings.
Vin du Lac Winery
105 Highway 150
Chelan, WA 98816


Previously published feature articles:
"Wine Country Digest"
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Copyright © 2010 Susan R. O'Hara.   All rights reserved.
Last revised: July 19, 2016