“The Walls” is what the locals call the Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla’s least talked about but perhaps most notorious landmark, and one that loomed just down the street from where our first wines were made. Since 1886, the “Walls” or “Concrete Mama” has surreptitiously presided over the ebb and flow of this little town, lives frozen inside while outside, growth and progress eddy past.
This contradiction is also a personal one as walls have become metaphors in all of our lives — we put up walls to protect our hearts, we toil within the walls of work constraints, we build walls to defend what’s important to us. Nevertheless, as we build walls we’re also always looking for ways we can tear them down. Wine is the river that can overflow, subvert and topple these walls. It is a powerful force in bringing people together and building true community, capturing and preserving memories of time, places and people.