Dear Friends of Fidelitas:
2020 has been unique and challenging to say the least. For nearly everyone, this year has been the first time we have faced an event that has altered how we do business so significantly. With that being said, I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for stepping up and making the effort to support us during these very challenging times. We have had to be flexible in the past year and appreciate everyone who has adapted with us…and enjoyed some good wine along the way.
The 2020 vintage is the 21st vintage for Fidelitas and my 23rd vintage as a Washington winemaker. As many of you know we started with one wine. The 2000 Meritage (Optu Red Wine) was a product that we sourced from around the Columbia Valley. As the Washington wine industry has grown up, so has Fidelitas, and we now have expanded to well over 20 different wines all from the impressive Red Mountain AVA.
In 2021, we will release our red wines from the 2018 vintage. 2018 is another in a long line of great vintages on Red Mountain. We will have a few new wines to offer to our Wine Club members. The first release of the year will feature two new wines from Heart of the Hill Vineyard: Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Heart of the Hill is owned and farmed by the Williams family who own Kiona Winery on Red Mountain. This family has been growing grapes on Red Mountain since the mid-seventies and we feel very fortunate to be able to buy grapes and make wine from these sites. Heart of the Hill is a newer planting that shows great promise, and we are excited to have everyone try these wines this winter.
Our Estate Vineyard on Red Mountain will increasingly be a focus of the wines that we will make in the future. As I have mentioned, before we have just over 12 acres planted with mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, but with Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc as well. As this Vineyard matures you will see more wines being released from the Estate as unique products. The 2018 vintage will see us release our first ever varietal Malbec and a red wine from the Estate Vineyard. The red blend is unique in that it is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon with Petit Verdot at 25%, which give it a bit more power and concentration than our other red blends. The new Estate wines will launch in the fall along with our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon to give those wines a little more bottle age before release.
We continue to do everything possible to continue to improve the wines that we are making by using techniques in the cellar to emphasize continuous improvement. Those techniques involve the size and shape of the fermenters we are using along with fine tuning our barrel aging programs. I am very happy with strides we have made to get better with each vintage, and at the same time look forward to the wines we will make in the future. The fruit we have access to on Red Mountain is not only some of the best fruit in the Pacific Northwest but is truly world class and I think our wines reflect that.
Our Fidelitas team has been so very resilient this year and I cannot thank them enough for their continued efforts every day. These people are telling the Fidelitas story to you, our customers, and their efforts are appreciated.
Again, thank you for the continued support of Fidelitas. I look forward to seeing many of you in the very near future.
Charlie Hoppes, Fidelitas Owner + Winemaker
While are starting to be able to host some visitors in Woodinville – and perhaps Red Mountain in the near future – we have found that our virtual tastings are such a fun way to connect with Fidelitas fans, near and far. None of us are going on any big trips anytime soon, so we thought it’d be fun to bring Red Mountain to you! See below for details on upcoming virtual tastings, excursions, and videos from Team Fidelitas.
July 9: Virtual Tasting Room with Bryce. We all miss tasting on Red Mountain and Bryce misses you. Let him host you for a virtual wine tasting on the Red Mountain patio, complete with a trip through the vines. On Instagram Live at 5pm.
July 16: Red Mountain vs. Napa. It's one of Charlie's favorite places to visit. We're putting Napa Cabs against Fidelitas Red Mountain Cabs to find out where they are different...and the same. To be hosted via Zoom webinar at 5pm. To register, EMAIL US.
July 24: Fireside Chat with Charlie and Will. Gather (distantly) around the Fidelitas firepit to hear Charlie chat about how Fidelitas came to be on Red Mountain and what may lie ahead in the future. On Instagram and Facebook at 5pm. Send us your questions in advance!
July 30: Red Mountain and Bordeaux-style Wine with Karen MacNeil. Auction of Washington Wines Honorary Chair and The Wine Bible Author, Karen MacNeil, is hosting a series of Virtual Tastings across the Washington Wine Industry. On July 30, join Charlie, along with Darel Allwine (Col Solare) and Chris Sparkman (Sparkman Cellars) to chat with Karen about Red Mountain and its coveted Bordeaux-style wines. Hosted at 4pm. Learn more and register on the Auction of Washington Wines site.
August 6: The Canyons Vineyard Malbec. This is perhaps one of our most coveted releases each year and is limited to just 98 cases, so doesn’t last long. Hear from Charlie on why he continues to be drawn to this unique block of Malbec on Red Mountain and how it stands apart from our other Red Mountain Malbecs. Don’t forget to grab a bottle (or a case!) in advance. The 2017 Canyons Vineyard Malbec goes on sales July 29. Hosted at 5pm on Instagram Live.
We look forward to connecting with you soon!
We are able to host groups of 5 or less and will be staggering reservations to meet social distancing requirements. In our current phase, we can host a total of 10 guests indoors and 4 guests on the patio in Woodinville, and appointments are for 1 hour. Book online or call 425.558.9001
Per Washington State guidelines, guests are asked to wear a mask any time that they are not seated at their designated table. Fidelitas Team Members will be wearing masks at all times.
Tables have been laid out to ensure 6’ distancing between parties. Please limit movement throughout the building.
During the early reopening phases, we are offering a 3-wine flight that is complimentary for Club or $15 for guests, along with glass pours and bottle sales. Curbside pick-up remains available and you can book in advance HERE.
Please sanitize your hands upon entry. Fidelitas has adopted increased cleaning and sanitization practices between all visitors.
At this time, we are unable to accommodate outside food and picnicking.
14467 Woodinville Redmond Road NE | Woodinville, WA | 98072
425.558.9001 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Fidelitas is OPEN…just not as usual.
At Fidelitas, we are faithful, loyal, and true, and this means prioritizing the health and safety of our Team, our fans, and our greater communities on both sides of the state. In the era of “Stay Home, Stay Safe”, wineries have been lucky enough to be deemed an essential business, with several safety precautions taken. And while we are so fortunate as a small business to keep our doors open in a modified fashion, to keep many staff members employed, and to be able to continue sharing wine (because, we all need a glass right about now!), we are doing so with safety as a top priority.
In addition to increasing our established cleaning regimen, and limiting contact between staff and customers, we are asking that all team members self-certify their own health before coming to work. All Team Fidelitas members have confirmed that they are healthy (no fever or symptoms of any type of illness), they have not had contact with anyone who is ill, and they have not traveled to areas deemed high-risk. We are asking that all visitors do the same.
With these precautions in place, we pleased to offer contactless delivery in both locations. We may place an order ONLINE for tasting room pick up or just give us a call.
RED MOUNTAIN: 11am to 5pm, daily
WOODINVILLE: 11am to 5pm, daily
We so value your support as Fidelitas fans. As a small business who relies on visitors coming through the doors - especially during the spring and summer - we appreciate all of you who are supporting us during the months of closures.
As the spring of 2020 wears on, we seem to be getting into a bit of a routine: wake up, drink coffee, do some work, drink some wine, go to bed. The added bonus is that on Thursdays, we get to do virtual tastings, which are really just a good excuse to learn something will drinking wine.
So many kudos to Will for really spearheading these tastings. We’ve been learning and making adjustments and trying new things along the way. In all honesty, none of us know when we won’t be at home, searching for fun activities to pass the days. But what we do know is that these tastings are a great way to connect with Fidelitas fans all over the country, and we’re having a lot of fun hosting them. So, here is a summary of our next 4 Thursdays:
Thursday, April 23: a discussion of barrel selection and aging with Charlie and Mitch. This is a great opportunity to open a special wine from the cellar. Maybe go for a big Cabernet and see if you can get any of the oak treatment notes that they’ll be talking about. I think I’ll try to find a Red Mountain Cabernet from either 2009 or 2012 and pair it with pasta puttanesca, since I have all of that stuff in the cupboards, and no intention of going to the store this week. On Fidelitas Facebook and Instagram at 5pm.
Thursday, April 30: Will is chatting about unusual BBQ wine pairings, featuring the Optu White Wine, Red Mountain Merlot, and Ciel du Cheval Merlot. If you have a trip to the store planned, do it this week and see if you can grab some extra fun groceries. Call it a splurge away from rice and beans. Here is what I’m thinking of:
This event is happening on the Red Mountain AVA’s Facebook Live at 5pm.
Thursday, May 7: Charlie and Will chat varietal and vineyard blending with Optu Red Mountain and 4040 Red Wine. I’m not going to lie, you can definitely pick whatever vintage you have of either of these wines for the tasting. It’s all about blending, so vintage won’t matter. However, the 2017 vintage of Optu Red Mountain is close to one of the best I’ve ever had. I’m thinking that Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri is going to be awesome to enjoy with the rest of that bottle after the tasting is done. Fidelitas Instagram Live at 5pm.
Thursday, May 14: We're focusing on single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard. Again – and I might be biased – I feel like this 2017 vintage is just amazing. Talking blends is fun, but there is something so intriguing and focused about single vineyard and single varietal wines. It might be a good excuse to try Charlie’s favorite: Ribeye Steaks and Broccolini. Fidelitas Instagram Live at 5pm.
Stay safe, everyone! We cannot wait to see you at one of these tastings in the near future, and in person not long after.
In preparation for this Sunday’s Preview Tastings, Team Fidelitas sat down with Charlie to taste through the upcoming releases of 2017 red wines. As always, it was an awesome time to hear Charlie’s honest thoughts on each wine as he tasted through each one and fielded the questions from our staff.
side note: we started our tasting time with a 2006 Columbia Valley Malbec, generously shared by Therese from her cellar. All of us were floored by the fresh, bright fruit tones that appeared in the wine! I’m not going to lie: 2006 was a warm (not hot…warm) vintage. I vividly remember Charlie’s comment on that vintage when we released it: “sure…you can age them, but why? they taste great now.” This wine was amazing, fresh, and surprisingly bold upon opening but wasn’t as stunning when I tried it three hours later. It’s Malbec…not Cabernet…so don’t risk it. If you have it in your cellar still: it tastes great now.
I was in the tasting room recently, and someone asked me, “what is the plan of attack on the Preview Tastings?” and I honestly had a hard time coming up with the answer. To me, you taste the wines, you decide which you really like, and then you mark them down on your sheet and go. But what if you like them all or can’t make up your mind or are honestly overwhelmed by the whole thing?
I think that as a taster, you need to think about your drinking habits. If you know that you are going to drink your wines in the next few months, maybe you want to get one of each offering for your allocation (quick! try them and reorder any that are still available!). If you have a good storage system (cellar, garage, or cases stacked against your dining room wall) maybe grab 4-6 of those awesome, cellar worthy Cabernets and then round out your add-ons with daily drinkers. Charlie says he never buys a wine in a quantity less than 6 bottles because he wants to taste it over the years.
If you’re like me, you’re going to play the inventory game. I’m only able to grab 2-3 bottles of each wine at a time, but you know that I’m going to get the ones that will disappear the quickest. Get those first, then maybe 1 bottle of the others so I can check in on it in a month or two and order more before it runs out. Since I’m the one who gets to count Fidelitas inventory on a weekly basis, I’m going to share my thoughts on which wines to grab first. Watch for full tasting notes on each wine to come next week!
2017 Red Mountain Merlot: When we asked Charlie what he liked about this wine he grinned and nearly shouted “it’s Merlot! it’s just fun!”. My whole team could not stop making yummy noises about this wine. We’re Merlot fans, but this is one that you’re going to want as a daily drinker in your house. If you’re looking for a wine to round out your case with, this is the one. Remember: you get an extra 5% off mixed case orders.
2017 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon: We’re so excited to see this as one of our first releases of the year, versus one of the last. This means that we’ll hopefully be able to keep it in stock for a bit to enjoy over the summer. However, don’t assume it’s going to be around forever. This is such a lovely blend of Quintessence and Fidelitas Estate Vineyards that I don’t anticipate it will last too long.
2017 Optu Red Mountain: *currently sipping this wine and blogging at the same time* This is the one wine that we have produced in every single vintage since our first one, way back in 2000. About a year ago, I got the technical info from our winemaking team on this vintage of Optu, and had so many questions. It was an amazing lesson for me in looking at a wine by the BLOCK (i.e. individual rows of grapes within a vineyard) versus the name of the vineyard itself. Charlie told us that he has this wine on his mind through the growing season. He’s constantly tasting and testing each site to decide what will make it in to Optu. While this, like the Red Mountain Cabernet, is a higher volume wine for us (still less than 700 cases), I really doubt it will make it past the summer months.
On to the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard releases. If you haven’t already, read THIS BLOG POST on why we moved Ciel du Cheval wines to a spring release time slot. During the course of our tasting, Charlie said “Ciel du Cheval Vineyard has a tremendous reputation. If Washington state had Grand Cru designations for our vineyards, Ciel du Cheval would definitely be one of them.”
2017 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Cabernet Franc: Charlie says, “of all the varieties grown on Red Mountain, Cabernet Franc probably has the most finesse. We don’t go out of our way to make Cabernet Franc from other sites because they just don’t show quality like the fruit from Ciel du Cheval”. Only 142 cases produced on this guy…you’re going to want to GET IT NOW.
2017 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Merlot: Another very low production wine from Ciel, but with less volume allocated to Club selections. Basically, add-on with this wine because you can’t customize with it. While tasting, our team was nothing but joyous giggles as we envisioned drinking velvet. That is basically what it's like to drink this wine.
2017 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Wine: Do we all love Charlie’s Merlots? His Cabernets? His blends? Ciel du Cheval Vineyard? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. There is a reason that Team Fidelitas loves this wine. It is fully a blend of all things good about Fidelitas. By the time our members grab their allocations, there will be very little, if any, left of this wine.
2017 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Petit Verdot: Spoiler alert – we’re releasing our first ever Red Mountain Petit Verdot later this summer. It’s a multi-vineyard blend that is so much fun. We tried them both and I loved that each one was so different. The Ciel du Cheval, by comparison, was rich, floral, and focused. We’re finding that Charlie’s Petit Verdots are highly age-worthy, so definitely grab this if you have that storage system…whatever your style is.
2017 Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Sauvignon: I am hoping that by the time we are done with the Club allocation, we might have 30 cases available of this wine. That isn’t much. Someone in our tasting mentioned that Ciel du Cheval has been nicknamed the “Queen of Red Mountain”: a perfect balance of elegance and power. We all agreed that this could be called Queen Cabernet. So powerful, present tannins, loads of fruit, yet delightfully…feminine. Don’t tell Charlie.
We can’t wait to see so many of you this weekend! For those of you who are coming, take advantage of our Team, and ask them questions as you taste through the line up. For those who cannot attend, we look forward to helping you customize your selections when the allocation season opens next Tuesday! Finally, for those who are not yet members…you really might consider joining.
Dear Friends of Fidelitas:
2019 was another banner year for us at Fidelitas and would not have been possible without the incredible support of each and every one of you, our loyal customers. Not a day goes by where I am not completely humbled by the continued support we receive from all of you who buy and consume the wine that we make. Simply put, thank you.
This 2019 vintage we just experienced in the fall, is the twentieth vintage for Fidelitas. With humble beginnings of just one wine produced form the 2000 vintage, much has changed and evolved for us to be where we are now. In 2006 we purchased land in the Red Mountain AVA and built a tasting room that opened in 2007. In 2008 and again in 2015 we planted land to vineyard and now have twelve acres of producing vineyard. The 2019 vintage is the first vintage where the entire vineyard was in full production and entirely under our own control. Dick Boushey, a legend in the Washington wine business and his amazing team manages the property daily. The future of the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard looks bright as we incorporate the fruit into existing products as well as introducing new products to our line up starting with the 2018 vintage.
I am very excited about the release of the upcoming wines from Fidelitas from the 2017 vintage. Mother nature provided an excellent year for us and I cannot wait to share these wines with you. We will be releasing two new wines in 2020, Quintessence Vineyard Red Blend and a varietal Petit Verdot from a few different vineyards in the Red Mountain AVA. Look for those new wines along with the entire lineup of great wines during the year.
The Red Mountain AVA continues to provide our winemaking team with what I think is the best fruit in the Pacific Northwest. As many of you know, we only make wine from the Red Mountain AVA and I am impressed with the improvement that we see every vintage. Some of this comes with the maturity and consistency of the vineyards, but also, the grape growers who we source fruit from on Red Mountain have really worked at improving in every vintage. This makes our job as winemaker so much easier and will continue to do so in the future.
We continue to make small changes to what we are doing in the winemaking process so that we are continually improving. Fermenting in various shapes and sizes of wood fermenters seems to be a something we not only continue to do but have increased the amount of wood we are using during fermentation. Another area of fine tuning of the process would be matching clonal Cabernet Sauvignon with what we believe to be the proper fermenter as well as the best barrels to age the wine in.
I cannot say enough good things about our entire team of people at Fidelitas. They continue to tell our story and offer relentless customer service to everyone of you. Again, thank you for your continued support.
Charlie Hoppes, Fidelitas Owner + Winemaker
(note: we realize it’s a little early to be chatting about wines coming out in April, but the nature of the wine industry is that we are always thinking years ahead! And, this way, we can be thinking about sunnier days while gazing at the holiday décor.)
One thing I’ve known about Charlie for a long time, is that he does not follow a recipe. There is no formula, no strict oak regime, no doing the same thing twice in order to achieve the same results. “Our best wines are yet to come,” he has said for years, which is amazing considering he just concluded his 33rd harvest. Charlie is always fiddling with new blocks, new blends, new clones, new barrels. A word that I would use (I don’t think he ever would, being Charlie), is that he is an innovator: someone who refuses to be complacent and wants to continue trying and learning new things in order to present the best possible outcome to our Fidelitas fans.
All of that is a preface to something that we’re changing up this year. Something that makes me, the detail-oriented (dare I say type-A), planner a little uneasy. We’re releasing Ciel du Cheval Vineyard wines in the springtime. But we don’t do that! They come out in the fall! And yet, we’ve done that not because it has anything to do with the wines themselves, but because in my little planning world, it’s easier to just follow a similar release schedule each year.
So why Ciel in the spring? It actually has nothing to do with the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard wines. Talking to Charlie about those five wines, he tells me: “we know we’re going to like the wines from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard. Being a more established site, with older vines, and a high demand, we do use the same blocks each year. We can count on the fruit being amazing. It’s a lower elevation site than a lot of the other vineyards we work with on the mountain, which I think gives it a little softer profile. I am now thinking that it is perhaps the most elegant of the vineyard designated Cabernets that we produce.”
So really, it comes down to the other wines. Those Quintessence Vineyard and Blackwood Canyon Vineyard Cabernets that we have traditionally released in the spring, but are now shifting to a fall release. Why the fall? These wines are getting more time in both the barrel and the bottle before they come to you in an allocation. In fact, the Quintessence Vineyard Cabernet was just being bottled this morning, in December, before the sun came up (most of our other wines were bottled back in August, before harvest started).
“What we’re trying to achieve with the Blackwood and two Quintessence Vineyard Cabernets – Clone 191 and the clone blend – is a bit more flavor integration on these big wines,” Charlie relayed. “They are so big that they could benefit from a little more barrel aging. We’ve previously dialed it in to 22 months in barrel, but what I’ve noticed is that they could go quite a bit longer. I think we’re going to see a better integration of the components with this extended aging. There are phenolic components that come from both the grapes themselves, as well as the barrels. In wines like these that are more concentrated to begin with, they could pick up some of the sweeter tannins and tame the tannins that may be harsh to being with. Of course, the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard wines are giving us the structure and complexity that we look for in that site, however we've always liked the 22-24 months in barrel and don't think they require these few extra months."
More to come soon on the 2017 vintage, as we get ready to release our first 2017 red the first weekend in January (hooray, Red Mountain Malbec!). “In general, we really like these 2017s, a lot. We source from all over the Red Mountain AVA, but really everything is in pretty close proximity. I think this AVA gave us great quality in the 2017 vintage that we are already seeing reflected in the wines.”
T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the cellar
Not a creature was stirring, not even a pup (Griffey);
The stockings were hung by the barrels with care,
In hopes that St. Fidelis would soon be there;
The cellar crew was nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of Ciel-du-Cheval wines danced in their heads.
It’s the season of giving and let’s be honest, finding the perfect gift to give can be hard! I’ve notoriously been a horrible gift-giver. Now, I’m a gifting professional. My secret? Wine.
I keep a steady supply of Fidelitas on my wine rack- and not just for me. Fidelitas is the wine I grab for those that are close to my heart or for invites to holiday parties and meals. Not only is it the perfect 'thanks for hosting' gift, it pairs beautifully with food.
It's no coincidence that a stocking is the perfect size for a bottle of wine. Just be careful not to turn that fireplace on! Wine doesn't like to be too toasty. But, if you do enjoy chestnuts roasting on an open fire, crack open that bottle while you're at it.
For those friends who live too far to cheers with, Fidelitas ships wine at a flat-rate. Spoil them with a case and shipping is free. (P.S. members get 25% off on case purchases). We even have a crew of elves that will gift wrap each bottle and leave your gift message in a hand-written card.
If you are like me, and want to give more than just a bottle of your favorite wine, give the gift of membership. A wine club membership is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. Choose between our Optu Wine Club for those that are local or the Electus Wine Club for those in far away places.
Finally, spending time with those you love is one of the best gifts of all. Our hearts grow five sizes when members introduce us to their friends. Our tasting rooms are open 11-5 pm on Red Mountain and in Woodinville until December 22nd.
It’s Thanksgiving time! Not a one of us can believe that 2019 is winding down, and that once again, we are just about to run out of wine. In the spirit of the holiday week, let’s check in with our team to find out what we are each thankful for.
I know that I have said this before, but it still holds true. I am thankful for Team Fidelitas. All the way from the production staff, which includes the cellar, lab, and winemaking team who make the wines and get it into the bottles, to the great staff people in the tasting rooms who make that final sale. Everyone has a role and they are doing a great job with it.
I am thankful for the wonderful people that I have the opportunity to work with and learn from, as well as all of the amazing club members that come in and brighten each and every day!
Where to begin!? Most importantly, I'm thankful to work with people who now double as friends. From weddings and birthdays, baby showers and trips, I have memories with Fidelitas that will last a lifetime. And to our members, I'm thankful that you have made my job so enjoyable these past 5 1/2 years! Many stories and laughs have been shared over a bottle of Fidelitas and I look forward to more of that in 2020.
I’m thankful for team Fidelitas and our Fidelitas wine club! Im alway look forward to sharing the excitement of limited release wines with our club members!! There’s no better group to geek out with.
Things I'm thankful for:
I am thankful for our hard-working winemaking team! They make our jobs easy in the tasting rooms. Every wine, every vintage is just amazing, and it is a pleasure to share their work with our guests.
I am so very thankful for all of the people I have met while working at Fidelitas. They have started out as friends and become family. I am very blessed!
Running a winery is no joke, and so it is easy for me to recognize all of the people and things I’m thankful for, knowing that there is no way I could do it alone. Thank you to...
Team Fidelitas: we have a bunch of new faces in Fidelitas leadership this year, and my newest members (Josh, Allie, and Bryce) each bring a unique quality and special talent to the team. In many ways, I feel like I’ve known them forever! Mix them with such a strong tasting room force in both locations, Stacey keeping me on track, my absolutely amazing Club team, and CHARLIE HOPPES at the helm, it’s magical.
Our Members: we started 2019 with 0 available bottles to sell and are going to be ending the year in just about the same boat. That means every wine we released this year, we sold, and almost all of that is going to our Club members. Thank you, thank you, for bringing Fidelitas into your homes and sharing it with your closest friends and families. It means to so much to us. You all are faithful, loyal, and true.
Red Mountain Wines (and the people who make them): There is no way we have such happy members or such a strong Team without absolutely incredible wines to showcase. Charlie and his winemaking team have committed to finding, sourcing, and producing the best blocks of fruit on Red Mountain, and we are all so thankful for that dedication to quality and craft.