The atmosphere is lively when I arrive at Upper Bench Winery and Creamery. It’s 2:30 on a Friday afternoon but the patio is filled with guests enjoying oven fresh pizzas and platters featuring the creamery’s renowned hand-crafted cheeses. Everything smells delicious.
Owners Gavin and Shana Miller are the perfect pairing: the winemaker and the cheesemaker. They love what they do and it shows in their guest’s appreciative smiles. Shana is grateful to those who have encouraged them through the years. People like her old boss, who still visits regularly, their industry peers, their local customers and partners, Wayne and Margareta Nystrom, who helped make the couple’s dream of having a winery a reality.
This September, Gavin is introducing his first single vineyard wines: a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot, and a Pinot Noir. An ode to the Super Tuscans of Italy, the wines are fruit-driven and bold with the perfect balance of acidity. These limited editions are reserved for restaurants and members of their wine and cheese club so if you don’t want to miss out I recommend joining immediately. The Pinot Noir I tried was delicious. Plus, as a perk of membership, you receive six bottles of wine—two paired with three pieces of Shana’s cheese. It’s not just the reds in the limelight this season however. The 2015 Chardonnay won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Winemaking. This isn’t the only excitement this Fall—there are parties and live music planned, so stay in tune. You don’t want to miss out.