Creating wines is more than just a job for husband-and-wife team Joe and Rebecca Gunselman. It is their passion and a lifestyle that they love.
In 1998, Joe and Rebecca were living in Virginia when they made the decision to start the winery. And when it came to where they would establish Robert Karl Cellars, they chose a location where some of the best grapes in the world are. “We believe it is right here … specifically in Horse Heaven Hills,” says Rebecca. “We moved to Spokane in 1998; it’s where the day job is!” as Joe is a physician.
At Robert Karl Cellars, they believe the best wines require the best grapes, which is why they chose the Horse Heaven Hills AVA—where the terroir, climate and the Colombia Valley’s angled slopes come together to create the most ideal growing conditions in the world. The pair has been making wines since 1999, receiving accolades from their very first vintage.
When it comes to what they find most rewarding, Rebecca says, “Handcrafting the very best wine we can and having folks acknowledge it by ordering it in restaurants or joining the wine club.”
Rebecca attributes their success to their passion for the business and the finished wine. Out of all of the accolades Robert Karl Cellars has received over the years, the most meaningful to the couple was in 2004. “The 2001 Claret (our first effort) received the Best Red Wine and Best of Show at the Washington Wine Competition,” states Rebecca. Most recently, their 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon won a gold medal at the 2018 Cascadia International Wine Competition.
When it comes to all of the wines Robert Karl Cellars has made over the years, Rebecca says her favorite to drink is the Gunselman Bench Cabernet Sauvignon. “It’s a great expression of Cabernet Sauvignon from Horse Heaven Hills.”
Now that summer has arrived, the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is an ideal choice to enjoy while the sun is shining and the air is warm. The wine is crisp with vibrant lemon zest, gooseberry and citrus finishing with cleansing lively acidity. And the Rosé of Cabernet Franc, lightly chilled, will complement almost anything.
When people visit the winery, they will usually be greeted and lead through the tasting by Rebecca herself. She invites you to visit the tasting room Thursday and Friday 2 to 5pm and Saturday noon to 4pm.
2018 will mark Joe and Rebecca’s 20th vintage, so be sure to stay tuned for more vintages of great Washington wines from Robert Karl Cellars.
Robert Karl Cellars
115 W. Pacific Ave.