20 years of
Our mission remains the same.
To produce small-lot, artisan wines that accurately display each vineyard and varietal.
Forgeron Cellars was born out of a quest to produce site-specific wines that illustrate the diversity found amongst Columbia Valley's different viticultural appellations. Our mission is to produce small-lot, artisan wines that accurately display each vineyard, varietal, and appellation. We believe that much of winemaking occurs in the vineyard and adhere to traditional techniques while utilizing the benefits of modern innovation. Forgeron Cellars is a true urban winery and is located in an old blacksmith building in Walla Walla, Washington. Long established, the winery continues to work with many of the region's top grape growers to ensure the production of some of the most appealing wines the valley has to offer.
Forgeron Cellars was founded by more than two-dozen local Walla Walla business leaders, many of whom successfully founded and sold Canoe Ridge Winery. The idea was to build a winery in downtown Walla Walla that would help anchor local business and contribute towards the reinvigoration of the downtown area. Their search for an ideal location ended when they came upon an old blacksmith building located at 33 Birch Street, and just two blocks off Main. The building provided the perfect foundation and ultimately influenced the name for the winery - Forgeron is the French word for blacksmith. After months of renovations, the old blacksmith building was transformed into a cozy tasting room and office, while a new building was constructed for barrel storage and fermentation, and a state-of-the-art crush facility built for processing grapes.
Marie Gilla was brought in as a partner and founding winemaker and led Forgeron Cellars from its first vintage in 2001 through 2017, when she was replaced by her longtime protégé, Cody Janett. Marie's expertise in old-world-style winemaking proved an excellent foundation for Forgeron's aim to produce site-specific and varietally-correct wines, and as a result, during her tenure the winery gained a loyal following of consumers and critics alike
Since taking the helm, Head Winemaker Cody Janett has built on the foundation left by Marie by increasing focus on the vineyards, believing in the old adage that 80% of winemaking happens in the vineyard. To this extent, Cody now sources from a select number of vineyards and works closely with each of them to ensure that the fruit is harvested at optimum ripeness with the aim of producing fresher, more balanced wines that are lower in alcohol. The results have been fantastic, with both consumer demand and critical acclaim notably increasing with Cody's first vintages of wines garnering more than thirty 90+ point scores from several prominent publications.
MEET OUR WINEMAKING AND MANAGEMENT TEAM
Cody grew up in Royal City, WA where he learned about farming at a young age. Farming has always been a big part of his life and when deciding what to do with his future, viticulture became the obvious choice. Cody joined Forgeron in the fall of 2011 as a harvest intern and felt blessed at the opportunity. In the spring of 2015, Cody was promoted to assistant winemaker for Forgeron Cellars and worked alongside the founding winemaker Marie Gilla to help create the wines of 2015, 2016, and 2017 vintages. He was able to learn and experience many different aspects of winemaking under Marie’s tutelage. Upon her retirement in the summer of 2018 he was promoted to Head Winemaker.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Jeremy started out as an entrepreneur in the restaurant business and then worked in wine importing and distribution. Starting in 2007, Jeremy conceived, built and managed Thomas George Estates in the Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California. As President and CEO, Jeremy sourced and oversaw the acquisition of more than 200 acres of premium vineyards and grew Thomas George from 2,000 to 25,000 cases while establishing national distribution and a loyal, cult following amongst pinot-files.
At Forgeron, Jeremy is responsible for all facets of the winery's operations and activities, while also serving on the Board of Directors. Starting in 2018, he renewed the winery's focus on producing site-driven, fresh and balanced wines along with increasing emphasis on customer service at Forgeron Cellars and brand growth. Having been long enamored with Columbia Valley wines, Jeremy is excited to be residing in Walla Walla while greatly enjoying building upon the brand's foundation of consistent and stellar vintages.
MEET OUR TASTING ROOM TEAM
Woodinville Tasting Room Manager
Having grown up in the Woodinville area, Griffin easily developed a strong sense of community within the local wine scene, working in the industry for two years before joining the Forgeron team in November 2019. As an Anvil wine club member he has worked to promote an understanding of both Forgeron and Washington wine at large, with a particular passion for unique and unusual wines, as well as pursuing a formal wine education with the goal of eventually becoming an Advanced Sommelier. As a former student of history with an appreciation for cooking and a love of travel, Griffin is always looking for new perspectives, ideas and stories to dig into.