Photos by colby kuschatka
From proud Midwest farm kids to one of Wine & Spirit Magazine’s Top 100 Wineries of the Year, Dusted Valley has made a name for itself by mixing science, a fair bit of experimentation, and a blend of old-world techniques to bring spectacular Washington state wine to life.
Founded on the notion that when family pulls together, the American dream can turn into a living reality, Wisconsin natives Chad and Janet Johnson and Corey and Cindy Braunel moved to Washington in 2003 and started what would become the 52nd winery to proudly call the Walla Walla Valley home. “You’ve heard of blind enthusiasm, the tireless entrepreneurial spirit. Failure wasn’t an option for us,” says co-owner Corey Braunel. “It doesn’t mean you don’t trip along the way, but Chad and I were absolute sponges. We soaked up every detail, spent time in the vineyards, and learned how to make better wine each and every year.”
This year marks the family’s 16th harvest, and at roughly 6,000 cases, Dusted Valley focuses on their three estate vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley and varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Chardonnay, along with Bordeaux and Rhone Style blends. “Quite simply, we craft wines we like to drink. That’s why we are growing grapes and making wine in Washington,” says co-owner Chad Johnson. “We love the old-world structure, funk, and earthiness along with the new-world fruit.”
The Walla Walla Valley AVA is uniquely situated in southwest Washington, with part of the appellation stretching across state lines into Oregon. The city itself is a fascinating mix of college town, agricultural community, and world-class wine region. It also boasts a rich food and arts scene. You can visit Dusted Valley at their two tasting rooms—one at the foot of the Blue Mountains in Walla Walla and one near Seattle in the heart of Woodinville, Washington.
In addition to Dusted Valley, the family also offers a second brand called Boomtown by Dusted Valley. “We affectionately refer to Boomtown as Dusted Valley’s little brother,” says co-owner and national sales manager Janet Johnson. “Stylistically, you are going to experience a lot of similarities with our Dusted Valley wines and taste some of those classic Washington state hallmarks such as fresh fruit and minerality.” Boomtown wines are available through fine restaurants and wine retailers and allows the family the opportunity to share a fantastic Dusted Valley wine with a larger audience around the country.
Both Dusted Valley and Boomtown by Dusted Valley will be featured at Minnesota Monthly‘s Food & Wine Experience at Target Field on March 2-3. You can also sample their wines around the Twin Cities at the following restaurants and retailers: Bacio; Café Latte; Chianti Grill in Burnsville and Roseville; Jake O’Connors; Lola’s Lake House; Manny’s Steakhouse; McKinney Roe; North Loop Wine and Spirits; Pittsburg Blue Edina; Red Cow; Red Rabbit; Stinson Wine, Beer & Spirits; and Stone Arch.