Gramercy Cellars was founded in 2005 by Greg Harrington, a Master Sommelier, and his wife Pam Harrington, an investment banker. Greg Harrington spent his early career running the wine programs for some of the nation’s most legendary chefs, including Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck and Stephen Hanson. In 2004 he and his wife, then residents of Brooklyn, became intrigued with Walla Walla wines. A year later they were proprietors of Gramercy Cellars, which is dedicated to making Bordeaux and Rhone-style wines. The estate makes 8,000 cases annually with grapes from the Walla Walla and Columbia Valleys. Wine writers have been impressed. Wine Advocated wrote that “Master Sommelier turned winemaker Greg Harrington is fashioning some of the top wines in Washington from his base in Walla Walla.”
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.
This grape is grown in milder climates and produces a medium-to full-bodied wine. It is also known as Shiraz, but should not be confused with Petit Sirah, which was developed by crossing Syrah with Peloursin.