Larry Lehmbecker, Winemaker (photo by Wil Byers)
At Vin du Lac, the winemaking mission is driven by our desire to establish Lake Chelan as one of the recognized center of ultra-premium wine production on the West Coast. Since our first vintage in 2002, we have steadily increased production and our use of Chelan Valley wine grapes. We have also continually upgraded our facilities and equipment to incorporate the best of modern wine-making technology that is consistent with our dedication to remaining small-scale winemakers.
For the first seven years, we made as many as 6000 cases on the Estate Property in two old orchard sheds that Larry converted to winemaking. We had tanks and barrels outside, and every task we needed to complete required us to move three things out of the way. During the winter, winemaking would grind to a halt as much of the work had to be done outside, and it’s hard to use hoses when it’s zero degrees outside! It was a challenging wine-making environment, but with meticulous attention to detail, Vin du Lac managed to make great wines that soon established its reputation as one of the top-quality wine companies in North Central Washington.
In 2009 Larry designed and built a 9000 sq. ft. state-of-the art wine production facility in Chelan Falls, just 5 miles from the Estate property. The new facility will accommodate production up to 20,000 cases annually. In 2010, we will produce 12,000 cases. Although the new facility is modern in every way, and allows us to increase production significantly, at Vin du Lac we are dedicated to classic small-scale winemaking. Larry simply believes small scale fermentation dynamics are superior, and superior wine quality is what Vin du Lac is all about!
All wine grapes at Vin du Lac are hand harvested. All wine lots are fermented in small batches (1.5 ton red fermenters are typical). All red wines are true barrel-aged wines. We do not use any oak alternatives in any of our wines. Although we have grown significantly from that first 2002 crush, we will never grow so large that we have to abandon boutique production techniques and values. That is our winemaking promise, and the essence of our commitment to quality.