An interview with Toby Turlay of Ducleaux Cellars.

Tryg Dukelow: How did you get into wine?

Toby Turlay: It started with enjoying drinking wine. My husband started learning how to make wine as a hobby years ago, and we started to make it in our garage. After a restructuring of the medical device sales company I was with I was laid off, and decided to enter a program. After a semester at South Seattle University, I was accepted in to the WWCC program, and the rest is history.

TD: Is there someone in the EV world that you admire, including fellow EV alums?

TT: Too many to count, for a lot of different reasons. I admire Sabrina and her vast wealth of knowledge. Fiona Mack, for taking risks with rose. Charlie Lybecker and Lacey at Cairdeas, for everything they do.

TD: What’s special to you about working in the wine industry?

TT: It is one of the few industries that combines art, and science. It’s also a very friendly industry, with lots of happy people who are always willing to share their knowledge.

TD: What is your favorite part of your job?

TT: Being able to have creative control over the direction our wines take, as well as what were going for at Ducleaux. There is also nothing better than pouring a bit of happiness for our tasters!

TD : What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in the industry?

TT: One of my challenges has been keeping a balance between all the factors of owning/running a winery. It’s difficult to make sure enough work is going into the vineyard, winery, and the business side, and that none of those are neglected.

TD: What do you think differentiates and excites you about Washington wine?

TT: Walla Walla and the Rocks AVA are both pretty young. I think the area has a lot of potential for national and global attention, and I think that what the valley is doing with Syrah and sparkling wines is very exciting for the industry.  

TD: How do you foresee climate change or social issues affecting the local industry in the next few years?

TT: I think we’re already starting to see some of effects of climate change firsthand with the recent wildfires in summer months. Smoke taint is and will continue to be a real issue for winemakers. I also could see the local varieties that are being planted changing with the rising temperatures in the region.  

TD: What are some up-and-coming trends in wine that you’re following?

TT: Sparkling wines. I’m excited to see the trend of pet-nats, and traditional method sparkling wines coming out of the region. I also think that the trend of finding greener methods of packaging wine is great. A lot of local wineries are starting to use bags or cans, and that really cuts back on excessive waste.  

TD: What advice can you share with future EV graduates?

TT: Don’t be afraid to get as much experience as you can. Travel if you can, as much as you can! Never stop searching for more knowledge, as well as sharing it where you can.

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