Our story began in 1981 with two pals who started as winemaking hobbyists. Gordy Venneri is a second-generation Walla Wallan and former insurance salesman whose roots go back to the small southern Italian village of Serra Pedace in Calabria. His inspiration was a life-changing trip to meet his Italian relatives who shared their homemade wine. Dr. Myles Anderson was a college professor and administrator who enjoyed wine and started making small amounts for fun.
Gordy and Myles found themselves in the elite company of Walla Walla’s pioneering winemakers including Gary Figgins of Leonetti and Rick Small of Woodward Canyon. Fifteen years later with much experimentation and industry collaboration instructing them, and praise for the wines growing, they founded Walla Walla Vintners in 1995 with 675 cases.
Over the years, the partners kept their focus on limited production, labor-intensive, hand-crafted, high quality and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Sangiovese. Respected wine critic and writer, Paul Gregutt, describes their wines as “seductive, soft and round in the Leonetti mold.”
The tradition of a humble approach and special commitment to Walla Walla and fellow wine makers remains. Gordy and Myles are well known for their generous, collaborative spirit, sharing their knowledge with other wineries – describing their philosophy as “competing creatively.” That belief in helping others and giving back inspired Myles to help create the Institute for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College. And it motivated them to assist other wineries as they were getting their start including K Vintners, Spring Valley Vineyards, College Cellars and àMaurice.
Before retiring in early 2017, Dr. Myles Anderson was inducted into the Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame in 2011 and awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers in 2014. He and Gordy shared the honor of being named “2016 Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year” by Wine Press Northwest.