Our Story

Located in the Walla Walla Valley, Balboa Winery crafts elegant wines which showcase a sense of time and place. Balboa was founded in 2005 with the belief that the Walla Walla Valley is capable of producing the finest wines in the world. In 2014, we bottled 4,370 cases of wine sourced from premier vineyard sites throughout the Valley. With our small production, joining our Ringside Club is the best way to ensure access to our finest wines. We encourage you to visit our tasting room, where we strive to provide an exceptional wine tasting experience for our guests.


Our Key People

Tom Glase, Founder/Winemaker

more placeholderIn 1998, Tom began his winemaking career by working harvest for Marty Clubb at L’Ecole no. 41 Winery, the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley. He spent four years honing his craft at L’Ecole and building relationships with some of the state’s greatest winemakers and grape growers. Out of that foundation came winemaking opportunities at Corliss Estate and Ash Hollow Vineyards, as well as vineyard management responsibilities for Ash Hollow. During his time managing the Ash Hollow Vineyard, he consulted with Tom Waliser regarding farming practices. In 2001, Tom became the Winemaker for esteemed grower Tom Waliser’s Beresan Winery. Balboa Winery came to life in 2005 with the release of 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2004 Sauvignon Blanc. As the founder of Balboa, Tom has dedicated himself to making wines that are true to the varietal, terroir, and vintage.

Tom Waliser, Vineyard Manager

more placeholderNamed Wine & Spirits magazine’s Washington State Viticulturist of the Year and Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers’ Grower of the Year in 2008, Tom has farming in his blood. The Waliser family has grown apples and other types of tree fruit in the Walla Walla area since the early 1930s. In 1992, he expanded his farming interests to wine grapes by farming Pepper Bridge Vineyards, followed by Seven Hills West Vineyards in 1994. Currently Tom manages 550 acres of vineyards for Premier Partners and LeFore Vineyard as well as his own vineyards – Yellow Jacket and Waliser. Tom firmly believes in sustainable viticulture, and he focuses his efforts on soil health as a means to healthier, stronger vines and higher-quality fruit. That attention to quality shows up in each and every bottle.

Amy Glase, Managing Partner

Because Amy’s background is in art and fashion, she serves as a daily inspiration at the winery. Having been involved in retail and visual arts for 25 years, she is the driving force behind the scenes with logos, wine labels, office management, and some added muscle for early morning harvest punchdowns. Amy’s focus is doing all the “other” stuff, so her husband, Tom, can focus 100% on making Balboa’s delicious vintages. Amy’s artwork can be seen hanging in the tasting room.

Tyler Grennan, Assistant Winemaker

A native of Washington State, Tyler relocated to Walla Walla after attending the University of Washington to study winemaking at the Institute of Enology and Viticulture.  While in school, Tyler worked at L’Ecole No. 41 under Marty Clubb and Mike Sharon. Upon graduating from the Institute of Enology and viticulture in 2012 Tyler started at Balboa Winery as a part time cellar rat and was promoted to Assistant Winemaker in Sept. 2012.

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Becca O’Connor, Tasting Room Manager

Becca is a transplant from New Hampshire and a Whitman College graduate. She provides wine-tasters with excellent customer service and knowledge of Balboa’s wines.  She also provides business, website and wine-club support along with marketing.  


 

 

OUR PHILOSOPHY

more placeholderWorking hand-in-hand with the grape grower, we strive to create exceptional, food-friendly wines that are true to the terrior, varietal and vintage. Wines that have a sense of time and place, and are a product of our core values. We believe that great wines are created in the vineyard where our winemaking begins. Sustainable growing practices are coupled with exacting hand labor to keep our vines in balance. Less is more summarizes our non-interventionist, minimalist wine making approach. All of our wines are fermented in small, open-top, stainless steel fermenters. Each vineyard block is fermented separately to fully capture the total sensory experience. During primary fermentation, the grapes are punched down by hand two to three times per day, depending on the varietal, to ensure that the skins maintain contact with the juice. Once the wines have gone through primary fermentation, we gently press off the juice and transfer it to French oak barrels. We carefully balance the use of new and older French oak so that the consumer can taste the varietal, terroir and vintage characteristics rather than the wood in which the wine was stored. Our wines typically mature for 16 to 22 months in barrel and are only released when ready for consumption.


OUR WINEMAKING

more placeholderAll of our grapes are hand-picked, then hand-sorted before gravity sends them through the de-stemer/crusher and into 1 ton stainless steel fermentation bins. All of the lots are kept separate and each bin is tracked throughout primary fermentation twice a day. The bins are punched down 2 to 3 times a day for optimal extraction, giving us only what the grapes have to offer and nothing more. When primary fermentation is complete, the wines get pressed. We keep the free run separate and press to 1.4 bar. The press wine then gets tasted and added back as needed for balance. Secondary fermentation takes place in barrel and when completed the wines are racked off the gross lees and returned to barrel for aging. We use 20% new oak on a select few wines for structure. The blending takes place after 12 months to ensure the accuracy of our blends, then back to barrel to marry until bottling. The wines then age in bottle for up to a year and are released only when we feel they are ready for you to enjoy.


OUR FACILITY

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From the vineyard to the bottle, our drive to create exceptional wine is never overlooked, resulting in beautiful and highly approachable wine. Our winery is located in the idyllic south end of the Walla Walla Valley, near the Oregon border. Set at the base of Pepper Bridge Vineyard, guests enjoy sweeping views of the Blue Mountains to the east. We share the property with Beresan Winery, for whom Tom Glase also makes wine. Our rustic series of barns evokes memories of a simpler era, while our original art installations inspire the mind and the palette!


OUR Tasting Room

A trip to our tasting room is a highlight of any trip to Walla Walla. Our doors are open seven days per week from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Our tasting room staff would be delighted to share our wines with you and your guests. Be sure to join our neighbors at Beresan Winery next door when you are out tasting with us. We can also assist with planning the rest of your weekend in Walla Walla!