SEATTLE – Four Washington State University alumni have received high reviews from wine critics for their wines.
Leala Cramer, winemaker and owner of Marcus Sophia Winery, recently scored a coveted 90 points from Robert Parker, wine writer and critic, for her 2010 Viognier.
 
Parker writes: “Marcus Sophia’s 2010 Voignier Lonesome Spring Ranch… offers up a delightful perfume of peach, apricot, mineral, and nutmeg. In the glass it opens to reveal a smooth texture, dry fruity flavors, impeccable balance, and a lengthy, seamless finish. It is an outstanding value in Viognier meant for drinking over the next 3-4 years.”
 
After 20 years as a personal chef working with ingredients produced by Pacific Northwest farmers, Cramer dreamed of becoming a winemaker and owning her own winery. Cramer earned her professional certificate in enology from WSU and took the plunge into the wine business.
On her website she said, “I deepened my knowledge of winemaking” through the certificate program. No wonder she named her winery after her son, Marcus, and the Greek goddess for wisdom, Sophia. After all, making the best use of knowledge is the definition of wisdom.
Meanwhile, bells are ringing in the wake of critic Stephen Tanzer’s 90-point review of the 2009 Red Willow Syrah from Eight Bells Winery. Eight Bells is owned and operated by three WSU viticulture and enology certificate graduates, Tim Bates, Andy Shepherd and Frank Michiels.
Bates started making wine in 1980 and got Shepherd hooked on winemaking in 1996. With their connection to the Boeing Wine Club, they started making wines with some of the best grapes grown in the Pacific Northwest. Michiels joined the pair in 2006.
The nautical theme of Eight Bells comes from the fact that Bates and Shepherd are National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research scientists. When they aren’t making wine, they are sailing the deep blue sea on a research vessel.