COUGAR CREST ESTATE WINERY was established at the Walla Walla Airport in 2001 by Deborah and David Hansen. Owners of 50 acres of vineyard, all in the Walla Walla Appellation, they have sold wine grapes to other wineries for years. The move into making wine has been a natural progression for two people with strong backgrounds in science and a love of fine wine. The University of California at Davis offered many winemaking classes that both David and Deborah attended. The first vintage was 900 cases and will be sold across the Northwest. The 2002 vintage will be 4000 cases and sales will expand into other states. The 2002 vintage also brought the release of our first white wine, Viognier.he first year, the Hansens raised all the grapes from their own plants with cuttings from Windrow Vineyard (the original Seven Hills vineyard) and Cailloux Vineyard. The chosen site was Stellar Vineyard, and the plants flourished. The next year Cougar Hills Vineyard was established. Cougar Crest currently makes wine from Estate Grown Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Viognier. This year will mark the first year of production for Petit Verdot and Malbec, which will greatly expand the blending options and complexity in the Bordeaux varietals.
Deborah Hansen is the winemaker at Cougar Crest Estate Winery. Her first career began in the 1970's as a pharmacist with a degree from Washington State University. The scientific preparation for being a pharmacist just happens to be a perfect match for the preparation to be a winemaker. Back in the 1970's this connection was a long time from being discovered. True love intervened and Deborah married veterinarian David Hansen, also a graduate of Washington State University; their careers took them to the San Francisco area for almost 20 years.
While living in the Bay Area, they discovered a mutual love of wine, and agriculture and made plans to "move home" in the future. Northern California was burgeoning with wineries from Mendocino to Santa Barbara, ect. Time off was spent being a wine tourist, studying the differences that terrior and winemaking styles can have on finished wine. While working and raising children in California, the Hansen's were busy making plans in the Walla Walla Valley, buying several small farms and planting apple orchards in the hopes of moving home some day.
|Winemaker: Deborah Hansen|