Cayuse, in Walla Walla Valley, was founded in 1997 by Christophe Baron, a native of France. He grew up in a family of vignerons in Champagne and could have had a life making elegant Champagnes. Instead, Baron today is known as a brash trailblazer with an instinct for undiscovered terroir and a talent for producing big, delicious Syrahs. Baron studied viticulture in Burgundy and Champagne, and had ambitions to make Pinot Noir in Oregon. But on a trip to the U.S. in the late 1990s he happened to stop in Walla Walla, where south of the city he discovered property he believed would be perfect for growing grapes. The dry soil was partly composed of rocks the size of potatoes, and it reminded Baron of Châteauneuf -du-Pape. Though there had been no vineyards in the area since 1956, Baron purchased land and planted vineyards. He now owns 60 acres in what recently became Washington’s newest AVA, the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. Baron grows mostly Syrah, along with some Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Tempranillo and Viognier. Baron is an advocate of biodynamic, or chemical-free agriculture, and Cayuse is biodynamic. Cayuse’s signature wines are Syrahs, which often come with fanciful names, such as Bionic Frog Syrah, and outstanding ratings. Cayuse Syrahs are considered among the most collectible Washington wines. Baron also is involved with several other unorthodox winemaking ventures in Washington. He owns Horsepower, a Walla Walla estate where he uses Belgian draft horses instead of tractors, and he is one of the owners of No Girls Wines, which is a collaboration between Baron and some of his Cayuse employees. The name No Girls comes from a hand-painted sign found on the side of an historic building that Baron and his partners acquired in downtown Walla Walla. The building was once home to a brothel, but the sign went up to signal the end of that era.