BridgePress Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $35
By Great Northwest Wine on November 23, 2015
Spokane vintners Brian and Melody Padrta recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of their collaboration with Dave Westfall and John Mueller of Grande Ronde Cellars, and the approach for both denizens of the downtown Cork District has been successful and similar — a shared focus on highly regarded vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley and no desire to rush wines out to market. This Cab from Seven Hills Vineyard stands as a testament to both, opening with aromas of dusty black currant, ripe dark plum, black olive and black pepper. The palate brings red currant and Montmorency cherry with focused tannins, juicy cranberry acidity and a drizzle of maple syrup in the finish.
Production: 100 cases
BridgePress Cellars 2012 600 Red, Columbia Valley, $20
By Great Northwest Wine on December 1, 2015
This Spokane Cork District brand commemorates its bond number as Washington state’s 600th winery with its red blend of four Bordeaux varieties grown in the Walla Walla Valley. Their choice of Merlot (40%) from Pepper Bridge, Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) and Malbec (5%) off Seven Hills includes Cabernet Franc (15%) from young XL Vineyard in the expanding SeVein project. An all-French oak barrel program creates a theme of chocolate sauce and vanilla cream with plum jam, huckleberry pie and fresh thyme. There’s a rich approach to the palate that continues to push those dark purple fruit flavors as firm tannins and a juicy acidity combine for a delicious finish.
Production: 250 cases
Artist Debbie McCulley sits in her home studio with some of her paintings, including the large frog image called “Inward Bound” and a group of coaster tiles she was making for the upcoming Art on the Green. McCulley paints mostly animals and insects with flair for color. She is holding a wine bottle with one of her paintings on the label.
Art quote of the week “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.”
Mary Lou Cook, activist and artist
For more information, visit www.debbie mcculley.com
McCulley will be participating in Art on the Green in Coeur d’Alene, Aug. 3-5, the Art and Glass Show at Arbor Crest, Aug. 18-19 and the Second Annual Art on Broadway in the Shear Illusion parking lot Sept. 15.
When you spend time with artist Debbie McCulley, it is not hard to imagine her as a younger, hipper Martha Stewart. Her work really is all about the nurturing of the creative muse and following a passion.
“I got to a point where I decided I wouldn’t say ‘someday’ anymore,” she said and “someday” became “now.”
McCulley’s artistic endeavors began with hair. Shortly after graduating from University High School in Spokane Valley, she enrolled at Glen Dow Academy because she always wanted to play with hair. In 1990, she started taking art classes at Spokane Falls Community College. “My first class was drawing with pastels,” she said. “I didn’t even know what pastels were.” Her teacher was local artist Kay O’Rourke, who has been an inspiration for McCulley since their first meeting.
For the next 10 years, McCulley took art classes and workshops from local artists including O’Rourke, who told her “once you get comfortable, do something else.” And so she did, learning half a dozen mediums and giving her creative muse free reign.
In 2000, McCulley and her husband built a house in Spokane Valley. She took some time off from creating art and worked on her home, which includes a comfortable art studio and displays of her artwork. McCulley, a stylist at Shear Illusions Salon, 807 N. Argonne Road, decided to offer doll-making workshops. At one workshop, someone told her that she should really be an artist.
“That comment really opened the flood gates,” she said, and she feverishly got to work, “I had to make up for lost time.”
Working with pastels, watercolor, oils, acrylic and mixed media, McCulley creates fanciful garden dwellers, animals found in the savannah or on a farm, frogs frolicking in martini glasses, or an updated “Mona Lisa.” Her work screams “come play with me” as she manages to put her own social and gleeful nature into each piece. Creating art has become her identity and her way of reaching out to others. She hopes people will embrace her subtle messages that include “exploring great things in life, taking chances, but keeping grounded internally by staying at peace and knowing yourself” as she writes on her website in the description of “Inward Bound,” a painting of a tree frog.
For the past couple of years, McCulley has organized art events and exhibited her work at wineries and other venues where people not only view her work but socialize, something that McCulley loves to do. She has reproduced her original paintings on posters, coasters, greeting cards and giclees. One of her paintings became a wine label for Bridge Press Cellars’ 2011 Pinot Blanc.
“Creating art is challenging and gratifying for me,” she said. “It sustains me and I love sharing it and inspiring others to be creative.
Bridge Press: Alumni of WSU. We were the featured wine for the month for May 2013. Join the Wine by Cougs Club. Wine club members received our 2009 Merlot which was the "Unanimous Gold Winner" at the Riverside International Wine Competition.
Bridgepress Cellars is a small family owned winery located in Spokane, Washington. We specialize in hand crafted small volume Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot based red wines. Bridge Press Cellars was established in 2005 as a collaborative project between Brian and Melody Padrta and Grande Ronde Cellars owners Dave Westfall and John Mueller. We became fully licensed as a winery in 2009. The goal in 2005 was, and remains today, to make highly age able red wine from Washington’s prestigious Walla Walla Valley. Sourcing fruit from top quality, well established vineyards like Seven Hills and Pepper Bridge, along with the use of 100% French oak barrels, has allowed us to pursue that dream. As the winery has grown we have incorporated fruit from other selected vineyards as far away as Oregon’s Willamette Valley to fill out our wine portfolio. Hours: Thursday 3-7pm, Friday Noon to 9pm, Saturday Noon to 6pm.