K Vintners is located in Walla Walla, in the heart of Washington State's wine country. Though the property was homesteaded as a farm in 1853, it became a winery only in 2001 when Charles Smith purchased the property and started making wine. Smith, a California native, had previously had worked as a manager for a rock band in Copenhagen. Smith taught himself winemaking and his Syrahs have attained something of a cult status. In 2009 Food & Wine Magazine named Smith American Winemaker of the Year. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that "Charles continues to make some of Washington's finest wines....Charles knows where to find the great grapes...Almost all his wines are sourced from single vineyards." The winery also produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Viognier.
Walla Walla Valley AVA likes to call itself the Napa Valley of Washington, and given the concentration of well-reviewed wineries in the appellation, the comparison is understandable. The Walla Walla appellation is comprised of 340,000 acres, of which 1,200 acres are vineyards. Walla Walla is located in the southeastern corner of Washington and it extends slightly into northeastern Oregon. It is named after the Walla Walla River Valley, and the city of Walla Walla is the commercial center of Washington’s wine industry. The city was founded in the 1840s by the Hudson’s Bay Company as a trading post, but as early as the 1850s farmers were planting grapes for winemaking. Prohibition shuttered winemaking in the early 20th century, but a winemaking renaissance started in the 1970s when Leonetti Cellars, still one of the state’s most acclaimed wineries, started producing acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon. Walla Walla’s AVA status was awarded in 1984 and today there are more than 100 wineries. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most frequently planted grape, followed by Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese Chardonnay and Viognier.