LEAVENWORTH — Whether you’re hiking, snowshoeing or simply browsing with the crowds of tourists in Leavenworth this winter — soon to be spring — you deserve a stop down the stairs to Baroness Cellars.
But wait a minute. Baroness Cellars is no longer in that cold, dark cellar. The boutique wine tasting room has moved to a new, brighter, warmer, street-level location at 219 8th Street, just a block away from its previous location on Front Street. The new tasting room is now in the Red Rooster Kitchen and Home shop.
Baroness Cellars owner and winemaker Danielle Clements said the new space will offer her award-winning wines as well as the unique kitchenware Red Rooster has been known for. Clements purchased the Red Rooster inventory and is now the shop’s owner. New, will be fine antiques Clements imports from Germany and elsewhere in Europe. That’s a perfect fit for the Bavarian theme town, as is her award-winning, European-style wines.
Clements calls herself an “accidental winemaker” for the way she fell into the craft more than a decade ago. Now, she’s reinvented herself again while adding a complementary business venture. Importing European antiques is something she’s been doing with her brother for some time. Her buying trips to Europe over many years led to her love of great wine and cuisine. The new shop brings all of those passions under one roof.
There’s still a chill in the air, so you’ll want to try a mug of her steaming Engelwine, a fragrant bled of Riesling, Gewürztraminer spiced with ginger. Baroness sells the tasty wine in bottles and also a two-liter pouch, which is perfect for hiking, biking, skiing adventures, or to cozy up in a local lodge or hotel room. Also available in the pouch is her Sunshine Sangria, another Gewürztraminer-Riesling blend, but with a fruity addition of Northwest pears, peaches, citrus fruit and locally produced honey. This is the wine you’ll want for a spring hike or raft excursion.
The rest of the Baroness line of wines is made up of Old World traditional reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Bordeaux and Rhone Valley blends reminiscent of France; Sangiovese, Docetto, Nebbiolo and Chianti and Super Tuscan blends in the Italian style. Clements purchases grapes grown in some Washington’s best vineyards for all of her wines.
Clements said she never intended to be a winemaker. She studied Political Science at Northwestern Michigan College and worked for non-profit organizations in Europe and Africa. When she agreed to help a friend who had opened a wine tasting room, she found out she loved the social culture surrounding fine wine. She also learned she had more than a passing interest in making wine.
“I fell in love with the social and educational aspects. Then I learned what was going on in the cellars and fell in love with fermentation,” she said.
While visiting relatives in Leavenworth, she also fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. She found work making wine for local Bergdorf Cellars and later Bella Terrazzo wineries while getting a start on her own winery, which she opened in 2010.
Baroness Cellars — named for the noble women of Europe who inspire her sense of adventure and freedom — shared tasting room space with Bergdorf the first few years. Clement opened her own tasting room on Front Street in 2016. Baroness moved to the Red Rooster shop on 8th Street at the end of January. She makes about 1,200 cases of wine annually. Nearly all is sold through the tasting room and the Baroness Cellars Wine Club.