Northstar, located in Walla Walla, Washington, aims to make Merlots that are considered among the world’s best, using fruit sourced from one of the world’s best regions for the varietal: Washington State. The area lies at the same latitude as the Bordeaux region in France, yet has the additional benefit of a longer growing season and cooler nighttime temperatures. These qualities help in evening the ripening of grapes and the locking in of acidity, yielding a full-bodied yet balanced Merlot. Northstar’s first vintage was in 1994 and the state-of-the-art winery was built in 2002.
Winemaker David “Merf” Merfeld blends New World fruit with an Old World winemaking style, influenced by Bordeaux’s “Right Bank,” to create his highly acclaimed wines. Northstar produces three wines: their flagship Columbia Valley Merlot; the limited production Walla Walla Merlot, which showcases local vineyards; and Stella Maris, a Columbia Valley red blend.