Pomeroy Cellars: Winemaker Dan Brink is big on tradition
Winery pays homage to its multi-generational roots with a chic tasting room in the style of a 1920’s hotel bar.
Article by Viki Eierdam
Photos Courtesy of Pomeroy Cellars
Along the North Clark County Scenic Drive in Southwestern Washington, visitors who choose to explore the area will encounter peek-a-boo and full views of the East Fork of the Lewis River.
During the summer, when heat harkens swimmers, the Lewis River is actually at its lowest level. But in the winter and early spring months, the river swells and its power is both majestic and mesmerizing.
Two parks, Lucia Falls and Moulton Falls, give rise to hiking paths and photo ops. Nearby Pomeroy Cellars is the logical spot to cap off a day of wandering.
Set on the grounds of a 118-year-old homestead, Pomeroy Cellars pays homage to its multi-generational roots with a chic tasting room in the style of a 1920’s hotel bar. Winemaker, Dan Brink, is the great-great-grandson of farm founder, E.C. Pomeroy, and owner of Pomeroy Cellars.
“I always tell people that come to the tasting room that every generation on the farm has made their own direction,” Dan explains. “My parents started the living history farm. My grandmother had a gift shop and tea room for years and years, which many people remember fondly. Before that, they were farmers.”
Today the bucolic 677 acres is still farmed to some degree, including Dan’s contribution of two acres planted to Pinot Noir and Siegerrebe.
Many winemakers make enology their second act and Dan is no exception. A three-sport athlete in high school, Dan ran track through college and moved to Arizona to play golf professionally before returning home to help establish Pomeroy Farm as a sought-after wedding venue.
During this time Dan also enrolled in the Washington AgForestry Leadership Program, a comprehensive 18-month course geared to equip professionals with skills to protect and improve natural resource industries.
Although a wine tasting class at Washington State University piqued his interest, it was friendships he formed in the Leadership Program that solidified his wine path. One such person was Kerry Shiels, winemaker for Côte Bonneville in the Yakima Valley.
“From the beginning, Dan impressed me with his desire to continually improve himself and his winemaking,” said Shiels. “He is very dedicated and hard-working when he sets out to accomplish a goal.”
DuBrul Vineyard, operated by Kerry’s parents, Hugh and Kathy Shiels, is one of the three sources for Pomeroy Cellars’ fruit. The other two, Inland Desert (another Leadership Program connection located in the Yakima Valley) and White Dog Farm in La Center, WA. round out the vineyards that helped garner Dan’s wins at the 2017 NorthWest Wine Summit. His 2016 Farm Hand’s White — a white blend—earned a gold and the 2014 Lucia No. 47 received a silver.
A Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Merlot blend, Lucia is a tribute to Dan’s great grandmother, Angelina, who was a school teacher in the former Lucia Falls School District 47. Wood from the decommissioned school house was used to make the blacksmith shop that stands on the Pomeroy Farm.
Guests that visit Pomeroy Cellars will notice artwork by the winemaker in the tasting room, which was designed by his wife, Destiny.
Holding a double minor in history and fine arts, Dan actually began painting at the age of six. When Pomeroy Farm still hosted an annual Herb Festival, he would set up a booth and sell his work. He found it relaxing and enjoyable.
As he’s aged and spare time is at a premium, Dan’s paint box can go untouched for long stretches. But last winter, when the area was hit hard by snow, inspiration struck and he created two landscapes of DuBrul Vineyard and one of White Dog Farms. Other work is desert-inspired from his time in Arizona.
“It’s always landscapes and where I’m at in life at that point in time,” Dan said.
Pomeroy Cellars invites visitors to bring picnics to enjoy with the tasting line up offered and, in warmer months, linger over a game of Bocce on the lawn. In addition to Moulton Falls and Lucia Falls Parks, Cougar Sno-Park and Mt. St. Helens are just a bit further up the road, making Pomeroy Cellars the perfect winery for outdoor enthusiasts year-round.
A self-professed traditionalist in certain areas of his life, Dan’s intention to concentrate on sparkling wine crafted in the traditional method from his estate Pinot Noir grapes makes sense. Dan subscribes to the same theory as some other Clark County winemakers that the area has strong similarities to the Champagne region of France and the challenge of méthode Champenoise appeals to him.
“There are a lot of producers in Washington that make really high quality wines but the list of high quality sparkling wines in the traditional method is very small, “ Dan explained. “So I think, in the long run, to be known for making really high quality sparkling wines from Washington would be very interesting.”
Pomeroy Cellars winery and tasting room is located at 20902 NE Lucia Fall Road, Yacolt, WA 98676. For more information about the winery, including directions, wine inventory, etc., call: (360) 686-3785, or visit their website at: www.pomeroycellars.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Viki Eierdam is a freelance writer who lives in Battle Ground, WA. Connect with her at: www.savorsipandsojourn.com.