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Dedication to craft pays off for Whidbey winemakers

Lori Katzakian, Terry Rose, Ken Bloom and Gloria Pettis sort grapes. - Photos courtesy of Virginia Bloom
Lori Katzakian, Terry Rose, Ken Bloom and Gloria Pettis sort grapes.
— image credit: Photos courtesy of Virginia Bloom

A small Whidbey winery is winning accolades.

Blooms Winery’s 2010 Syrah was rated along with other Washington Syrahs and given a 90-point rating in the current issue of Wine Spectator Magazine.

The rating scale for Wine Spectator states any wine with a 90-94 rating is “Outstanding; a wine with superior character and style.”

Ken and Virginia Bloom, owners and winemakers of Blooms Winery, are thrilled with the honors.

“We are so excited and proud, and somewhat amazed at the honors we win,” Virginia Bloom said. “A little winery like us on Whidbey can do this. Yippee! We know when we really like a wine, and to have experts agree to this extent is awesome.”

The reviewer said Blooms’ Syrah exhibits “a savory style, featuring smoky, earthy notes, with buried berry flavors bubbling up on the finish. Shows depth and finesse…”

The same Syrah won a Double Gold Medal at the Seattle Wine Awards last summer.

The grapes used in Blooms’ Syrah are sourced from a vineyard in Rattlesnake Hills of the Yakima Valley and brought back to the Freeland winery for processing.

“We have a fabulous grower in Julie Bosma, who we get our Syrah and Viognier grapes from,” Bloom said.

“It takes good fruit to make a good wine. We have contracted with her to grow several other varieties for us as well, and own new vineyard will probably have its first, albeit small, harvest this year,” she added.

Along with the help of friends, the Blooms process nearly 20 tons of grapes each year and make all the wines there. Photos courtesy of Virginia Bloom | Gloria Pettis, Ken Bloom and Marian Myzkowski bottle the Syrah.

“Ken and I are ‘it’ when it comes to the winery, so we are blessed with many good friends who enjoy coming over and helping with the various chores that require extra hands like crush, press, blending and bottling,” Bloom said. “This is what makes it special, sharing it with others.”

The most recent nod comes on the heels of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition awarding medals to all three entries by Blooms.

This competition is the largest judging of U.S. wines in the world, and attracts over 5,000 entries each year. Blooms entered a 2010 red blend called Melange, made with grapes from Yakima and Columbia Valley, which won a silver medal; the 2008 Bloom Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon from a family vineyard in Mendocino County, Calif., which also won a silver medal; and Blooms Semillon, a white varietal grown on Snipes Mountain in Yakima Valley, which brought home a bronze.

Blooms is among the local wineries that have been shaping South Whidbey in a wine destination.

“There are some fabulous wines being made on Whidbey Island these days, we should all feel very proud of that,” Bloom said. Customers are pleasantly surprised at how good the wines are, and that is a fun reaction to see when folks are visiting for the first time.

“They will say things like, ‘we go to Napa all the time and these wines are just as good and half the price’ or ‘this is a good as anything in Woodinville or Walla Walla.’ We hope they tell everyone,” she added.

Blooms Winery’s tasting room, Taste for Wine & Art, at Bayview Corner was one of the seven featured winery tasting rooms on Whidbey in the spring issue of Washington Tasting Room magazine, where a cover picture and multi-page story describes why Whidbey is a place worthy for wine lovers to visit.

The Blooms have made wine since 1998. They started by helping plant Ken’s brother’s vineyard in California in 1995. When the first harvest came along in 1998 they went to help, bringing a half ton of grapes back with them to make wine.

They continue that tradition, although bringing back more grapes these days.

In 2003, the winery was licensed and wines were available only in a couple of select wine shops on the island.

Blooms Winery’s tasting room offers wines to sample or to enjoy by the glass, food, an art gallery and a casual place to listen to live music every Sunday afternoon.

The wines are also available at grocery stores, local wine shops and restaurants on Whidbey.

For more information visit the tasting room at the historic Bayview Corner Cash Store, go to the website at www.bloomswinery.com or call 360-321-0515.

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